NCAA Indoors, Outdoor Season Opener Highlight Busy Week in Husky Track
March 6, 2002
On the Track: A pair of Husky milers, sophomore Eric Garner and junior Courtney Inman head to Tyson Indoor Track Complex in Fayetteville, Ark., for the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships, Mar. 8-9. Inman, ranked 17th nationally in the event with a qualifying time of 4:45.40, competes first in the women's mile preliminaries at 4:15 p.m. PST on Fri., with the finals to follow Sat. at 4:05 p.m. PST. Garner, ranked third among all competitors with a top time of 3:58.93, competes in the mile preliminaries Fri. at 4:35 p.m. PST, with the finals scheduled for Sat. at 4:15 p.m. PST. All other members of Washington's track and field squads head to Tacoma, Wash. to kick off the outdoor track and field season at the annual Salzman Invitational, hosted by Pacific Lutheran University.
Washington's 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships Competitors
Sophomore, Kelso, Wash. (Kelso HS)
Boasts an automatic-qualifying mark of 3:58.93 in the mile run that currently ranks third in the nation in 2002.
Ran the mile in 3:58.93 at the UW Indoor Qualifier at Dempsey Indoor, becoming the first athlete ever to run a four-minute mile in Washington state.
Qualifying time of 3:58.93 in the mile broke a 28-year old school record of 3:59.1h set by Greg Gibson in San Diego in 1974. Gibson is the only Husky besides Garner ever to accomplish the four-minute mile.
Set a school record in the 3,000m with an 8:02.56 at the UW Invitational on Sat., Feb. 9, besting the previous record by more than four seconds.
Placed 13th in the steeplechase at the 2001 Pac-10 Championships in 9:09.39.
Junior, Abbotsford, B.C. (W.J. Mouat)
Bested the provisional-qualifying standard with a time of 4:45.40 that is 17th-best in the nation entering this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships.
Shaved five seconds off the school's indoor mile record with a time of 4:45.40 at the UW Indoor Qualifier at Dempsey Indoor, nearly 10 seconds better than her previous best.
Was a semi-finalist at the 1998 World Junior Track and Field Championships in France.
Last week: A total of 45 athletes achieved NCAA qualifying marks at the UW Indoor Qualifier at Dempsey Indoor, including eight Huskies. Tops among all competitors at the meet was sophomore miler Eric Garner, who finished the mile run in 3:58.93 to become the first athlete ever to run a four-minute mile in the state of Washington. Garner's time, a school record, was one of three records bettered at the meet. Just minutes before Garner's race, junior Courtney Inman shaved five seconds off the women's mile record, finishing in 4:45.40 to best the NCAA's provisional-qualifying standard. Junior Sabrina Monro, running her first race as a Husky, went 9:32.28 in the 3,000 meters to set Washington's third school record of the meet. In addition to the record-setting trio, Husky pole vaulters Sandy Erickson and Kate Soma, and distance runners Mike Hill (5,000m), Dustin Duke (3,000m) and Lisa Gibbs (5,000m) each set NCAA provisional-qualifying marks.
Rankings Remarks: Washington's men's team remained in the top-25 of the U.S. Track and Field Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings for the ninth-consecutive week, earning the 24th overall spot with a total of 243.81 points. The power rankings, which simulate dual meet competition between the nation's elite collegiate squads, listed defending national champion Tennessee No. 1 at 295.68, with SEC rival Alabama second at 291.01. Washington remained unranked in the Trackwire 25, which lists teams based on expected performance at the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships. The Husky women jumped three spots to 24th in this week's USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings, buoyed by the school-record performances of Courtney Inman and Sabrina Monro at last week's UW Indoor Qualifier. The Huskies' 246.7 points ranked third in the Pac-10 to Washington State (No. 6) and UCLA (No. 19). Florida held on to the top spot with 318.24 points, while Indiana jumped up to No. 2 at 294.47. The Husky women were not ranked in this week's Trackwire 25.
Indoor Season Recap: The 2002 indoor track season has been a roller-coaster ride for Washington's coaches, athletes and fans. The Huskies christened their new indoor track and field home, Dempsey Indoor, with six collegiate meets, including a series of thrilling duals between the women's squads of Washington and the University of Oregon. The new track surface at Dempsey Indoor proved to be one of the nation's fastest, with a total of six indoor school records established on the home track, including an exciting 3:58.93 mile time by sophomore Eric Garner at the Indoor Qualifier, one of four four-minute miles run at the meet. Senior LeTesha Moore set a school record in the 60m dash at Dempsey Indoor's debut in January, and was soon joined atop the record list by senior Kelsey Sheppard, who set the 60m hurdles mark with an 8.73-second mark. Freshman pole vaulter Kate Soma broke the school's indoor record in just her second collegiate meet, and then extended that mark by nearly six inches more later in the season. Perhaps the facility's best treats were saved for last, with no fewer than 45 athletes establishing NCAA qualifying marks at the UW Indoor Qualifier in March, including indoor school records by Garner (mile), Courtney Inman (mile) and Sabrina Monro (3,000m).
Garner-ing Acclaim: Over the past few weeks, sophomore Eric Garner has established himself as not only the Huskies' man to beat in 2002, but one of the school's top distance competitors of all-time. A 2000 graduate of Kelso High School, Garner battled injuries through his first year and a half at Washington, running competitively for the first time in February of 2001. Since then, Garner has steadily improved, capping his two years of effort with a stunning 3:58.93 mile win at the UW Indoor Qualifier on Mar. 2, the first-ever four-minute mile in Washington state and the third-fastest in the nation this year. Garner became just the second Husky to cover a mile in under four minutes, joining Greg Gibson, who ran 3:59.1h in 1974. Garner also holds the school's all-time top mark at 3,000m, with an 8:02.56 mark from the Feb. 9 UW Invitational at Dempsey Indoor, a full four seconds ahead of David Bazzi's mark of 8:06.57 in 2001.
Courtney, Queen of the Mile: British Columbia native Courtney Inman last week became the first Husky woman ever to run a mile in under 4:50 when she bested the NCAA's provisional-qualifying mark with a thrilling 4:45.40 at the UW Indoor Qualifier at Dempsey Indoor. Inman shaved more than five seconds off the previous indoor school record of 4:50.65 set by Margaret Butler in 2000. The junior foreshadowed her record-setting mile with a time of 2:11.90 in the 800m at the Feb. 2 UW Quad Classic, the third-fastest time ever indoors at UW. As a prep at W.J. Mouat in Abbotsford, B.C., Inman competed on the Canadian Junior Pan Am and Junior World teams. In 1998, she capped her prep career with a run to the semi-finals of the World Junior Track and Field Championships in France, and helped the Huskies' cross-country squad to a best-ever ninth-place NCAA finish. A stress fracture, howvever, cut short her 1999-2000 season, and kept her out of action until midway through the 2001 season, when she posted a Pac-10 qualifying mark at 800m. Limited by the injury again during the 2001 cross-country season, Inman returned for the postseason, running fifth on the squad in a 14th-place team finish at the NCAA Championships.
Leading the Pac: Already this season, eleven Huskies have earned berths at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships. Four Husky distance runners bettered the Pac-10 standard for 5,000 meters at last week's UW Indoor Qualifier, including senior Mike Hill, junior Kate Bradshaw, and freshmen Jamie and Lisa Gibbs. School-record holders Eric Garner and Courtney Inman have each run mile times that convert to qualifying marks at 1500m outdoors while senior sprinter Kelsey Sheppard will return to the Pac-10 meet with a qualifying time in the 400m dash. Freshman pole vaulter Kate Soma bested the Pac-10 standard by nearly than two feet with a school-record vault of 12-11 1/2 a the UW Invitational, while fellow vaulters Sandy Erickson (12-9 1/2), Alexis Jaime (11-6 1/4) and Tayler Wilkins (10-11 3/4) have all eclipsed the conference qualifying mark as well. Joining the terrific vault quartet in the field events will be triple jumpers Brittiny Roberts and Marcus Kelly, both top-10 Pac-10 finishers in the event in 2001, high jumper Frank Remund, the ninth-place conference finisher in 2001, and shot-putter Kameko Gay, who threw the hammer at the 2001 conference meet.
An Honor Overdue: In compiling Washington's all-time indoor top-10 marks this season, it appears that a school record set in the season-opening UW Open Indoor Track and Field meet was overlooked. Washington senior LeTesha Moore blazed to victory in the 60-meter dash in 7.60 seconds, faster than any female Husky runner to come before. The mark is just one of five indoor top-10 times run by the Everett, Wash., native this season, who ranks ninth all-time in the 200m at 25.32, and sixth at 400m with a personal-best 56.13-second mark. A five-time top-10 finisher at the Washington state high school meet while prepping at Cascade High School, Moore redshirted her freshman season before leading the school's 4x400m and 4x100m relay squads to top-five placings at the 2000 Pac-10 Championships.
Shepparding Records Her Way: Senior Kelsey Sheppard, a graduate of Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, has kept Husky track researchers busy this season. Sheppard added the indoor 400m and 60m hurdles marks to her growing records basket, which includes top-10 marks in the 100m- and 400m-hurdles, the 400m dash, and both the indoor and outdoor 4x400m relays.
Pole Results: No unit in the Husky arsenal has been more effective in 2002 than the women's pole vaulters. Four women's vaulters have met or exceeeded the Pac-10 qualifying standard, while junior Sandy Erickson, sophomore Alexis Jaime and freshman Kate Soma have already combined to post three of Washington's top-four all-time indoor marks. Soma's NCAA provisional and school-record mark of 12-11 1/2 at the UW Invitational eclipsed her own school record of 12-5 1/2 set just two weeks prior at the Husker Invite. In just five weeks of competition, the Portland, Ore., native raised the school's indoor pole vault record by nearly a foot, from the previous record of 12-0 3/4 set by MerryJane Bendico in 2001. Erickson, UW's outdoor record holder in the event at 12-11 1/2, placed fourth at the Pac-10s in 2000, while Jaime was 17th in the conference in 2001.
A Dazzling Debut: Junior transfer Sabrina Monro set the national track and field community abuzz with her stellar 2001 cross country season, but the terrific results from her Husky track debut last weekend still came as a surprise to some, considering the foot injury that has kept her off the track since November. Running for the first time in a Washington uniform, Monro cruised to an indoor school record of 9:32.28 in the 3,000 meters at the UW Indoor Qualifier, besting the NCAA provisional qualifying standard in the process. Perhaps most encouraging for Husky fans is that the school-record mark is 18 seconds slower than Monro's personal best, set while competing for the University of Montana in 2000. The runner-up at the 2000 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Monro transferred to UW this past summer, and established herself as a national title contender with four consecutive wins, including course records at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle and the pretigious Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis. Running at the front of the pack at the Pac-10 Championships in Tempe, Ariz., Monro suffered a foot injury that forced her to drop out of the race. A hurting Monro returned three weeks later to help Washington to a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
USA's Top Dawg: As a reflection of the high esteem in which he is held by track and field coaches and administrators around the country, Husky head coach Orin Richburg was elected to head the U.S. National Team at the 2001 World Track and Field Championships, the most prestigious honor for a track-and-field coach in a non-Olympic year. Richburg capitalized on the opportunity, directing the U.S. to a meet-high 19 medals, including nine golds. In his 17th year at UW, Richburg is responsible for molding the Husky track squad into one of the nation's elite dual-meet teams, as evidenced by both teams' top-10 finishes in the 2001 U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings. Richburg was an All-American sprinter at Kent State, and has mentored four Olympic athletes in his 17-year tenure at Washington.