Record-Setting Vaulters Lead UW Quartet to NCAA Track and Field Championships
May 27, 2002
On the Track: Four Husky athletes will don the purple and gold for a final time this season as they represent Washington at the 2002 Division I NCAA Track and Field Championships at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Pole vaulters Brad Walker and Kate Soma both qualified on the strength of school-record vaults this season. Senior steeplechaser Mike Hill hopes to use his 2002 Pac-10 title as a springboard for nationals success, while junior Courtney Inman makes her second NCAA Championships appearance this season, having placed 14th overall in the mile run at the NCAA Indoor meet in March. Soma will jump-start Husky competition at the national meet on Wednesday, and Inman will wrap up Washington's effort with the 1500-meter final on Saturday. Fans can follow along with the NCAA meet via live scoring at either ncaachampionships.com or lsusports.net. Recaps and results of Washington's competition at the meet will also be posted daily to to official site of Husky athletics, www.gohuskies.com.
NCAA Championships Event Schedule
Wednesday, May 29
4:20 p.m.* -- Pole Vault Prelim and Final (Women)
6:15 p.m. -- 3000m Steeplechase Prelim (Men)
Thursday, May 30
6:00 p.m. -- 1500m Prelim (Women)
Friday, May 31
4:30 p.m. -- Pole Vault Prelim and Final (Men)
6:45 p.m. -- 3000m Steeplechase Final (Men)
Saturday, June 1
6:10 p.m. -- 1500m Final (Women)
* -- All times Pacific.
Pac-10 Recap: Senior Mike Hill and junior Brad Walker each earned their first Pac-10 titles, pacing Washington's 23rd-ranked men's squad to eighth-place finish at the 2002 conference meet. The Huskies matched their placing of a year ago, while improving by seven points in the final standings. Stanford walked away with the conference title for the second-consecutive season, earning 151 points to better the 125 of second-place Oregon. Washington's 13th-ranked women, meanwhile, earned five top-five performances - including a lifetime best mark in the triple jump of 40-8 3/4 by sophomore Brittiny Roberts -but could manage just 36 team points in a ninth-place finish. Top-ranked UCLA took the top spot at the meet for thesixth-straight year with 160 points, barely edging USC's 157-point total. In all, 44 Husky athletes competed individually at the conference meet, combining for 31 top-10 finishes.
Husky Women Cap Season in Top 25: Washington's women's track and field squad finished the 2002 season ranked 17th with 339.1 points in the U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings, which simulate head-to-head scoring between the nation's elite collegiate teams. The Husky men fell out of the top-25 for the first time all seaon in the final poll, placing 31st at 318.2. Both squads went unranked in the Trackwire 25, which predicts scoring at the 2002 NCAA Championships.
Rating the Competition: While all four Husky athletes competing this week at the NCAA Championships seek national titles, some will have to overcome more competition than others. Junior Brad Walker is Washington's highest-ranked competitor, entering the national meet tied for third in the nation with a best mark of 18-feet, 1-inch. Walker, who has already added six inches to his career-best this season, has five inches more to go to catch Texas senior Brian Hunter, who leads all competitors with a mark of 18-6. Senior Mike Hill is the 18th-ranked qualifier in the steeplechase with a career-best mark of 8:46.92 that ranks eighth all-time in Husky history. To reach the upper echelon in the final national standings, however, Hill will have to maintain a pace equal to top-ranked qualifier Daniel Lincoln of Arkansas, whose best mark of 8:29.16 is three seconds faster than the UW school record. All-America accolades fall to the top-eight finishers plus one American for every non-native citizen among the top-eight in an event; to move into the top eight (by qualifying times), Hill needs only to shave four seconds off of his PR. Freshman school-record holder Kate Soma is tied for 16th among NCAA qualifiers. Her career-best vault of 13-1 1/2 is a full 14 inches behind the top-ranked mark of 14-3 1/4 by NCAA record holder Tracy O'Hara of UCLA, but is just four inches shy of the eighth-ranked mark of Stanford's Kathleen Donoghue, which would likely place Soma squarely in All-America territory. Junior Courtney Inman, the 18th-ranked competitor at 1500 meters, also has ground to make up if she is to better her 14th-place finish in the mile at the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships. Inman enters the national meet with a best of 4:20.58, but will likely need to go under 4:15 to catch UCLA's Lena Nilsson, who defeated Inman by four seconds at last week's conference meet.
A Look Back at the 2001 NCAA Meet: Seven Washington athletes competed at last season's NCAA Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Senior David Bazzi paced all Huskies with a pair of All-American performances, placing eighth in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs. Also capping his Husky career with All-American accolades was sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, whose mark of 20.83 seconds in the 200 meters was good for fifth overall. Pole vaulter Brad Walker, then a sophomore, overcame a stress fracture in his foot to place 12th in the event in his NCAA Championships debut, while Kate Bradshaw (17th, 10,000m), Anna Aoki (18th, 5,000m) and Megan Spriestersbach (18th, javelin) each earned top-20 placings. Additionally, distance runner Gillian Palmer placed 22nd overall at 5,000 meters. Washington's men's squad tied for 33rd overall, while the Husky women did not score.
Pac-10 Champions: Wins by senior Mike Hill and junior Brad Walker at last week's Pac-10 championship meet give Washington nine conference champions in the past five seasons. Of those nine, just two accomplished the feat more than once, with sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker earning four individual crowns and a relay title from 1998-2000, and U.S. Olympian Aretha Hill notching discus titles in 1996 and 1998. Hill's victory was the first by a Husky steeplechaser at the Pac-10 meet since school-record holder Dan Bell earned the title in 1987. Hill and Bell are two of five Husky men's runners to earn conference titles in the steeplechase, which has seen more Husky conference champions than any other track event. The last Husky men's individual to earn a national title in a distance event was miler Rufus Kiser in 1928. Walker's pole vault crown was the first by a Husky in that event since Kirk Bryde earned the Pac-8 crown in 1972. The early 1960s marked the hey-day of Husky pole-vaulting, with Don Failla and Bill Coats sharing the Pac-8 crown in 1960, John Cramer earning consecutive titles in 1961-62, and Brian Sternberg establishing a new world record en route to the Pac-8 and NCAA titles in 1963. In all, Washington has boasted multiple conference champions on the men's side in three of the past five seasons, after having done so just three times total from 1979-1997.
Prime-Time Performers:Aside from the obvious stellar performances by Pac-10 champions Mike Hill and Brad Walker, several Husky athletes went beyond their previous physical limits on the Pac-10's brightest stage. Perhaps no Husky athletes posted marks more impressive than jumpers Brittiny Roberts and Zee Ogarro. Roberts, who prior to the conference meet had bettered 39 feet in the triple jump just twice in her career, added a stunning 8 3/4 inches to her career-best with a leap of 40-8 3/4, the third-longest in school history. Roberts' jump earned the sophomore a fourth-place finish in the event, and marked an improvement of nearly four feet from her 10th-place Pac-10 mark of 36-11 3/4 a year ago. Perhaps Roberts was inspired by Ogarro, who on the conference meet's first day added seven inches to her season-best with a leap of 19-7 1/2, good for sixth overall. A senior, Ogarro entered the conference meet ranked 12th in her event, marking the single-best improvement over a pre-meet ranking by any Husky women's athlete. Also at his best on the conference stage was sophomore sprinter Cristian Adams. Adams qualified ninth in the 400 meters for the Pac-10 meet with a time of 47.38 seconds, but sliced half a second off of that mark to finish fifth in the final in 46.95 seconds, just one hundredth of a second outside of Washington's all-time top-10 in the event. Sophomore Jesse Giordano improved his regular-season conference ranking in the 400-meter hurdles by seven spots, placing seventh overall in t 53.74 seconds. Second-year high jumper Erik Lanigan was the Huskies' most-improved men's athlete at the meet, adding two inches to his previous best to leap over 11 higher-ranked competitors and place fifth at 6-10 3/4. His jump was matched by senior Frank Remund, who finished eighth with a career-best in his final collegiate event.
Captains Fantastic: Eight Husky athletes, including two underclassmen, were selected team captains for 2002 by a vote of their teammates. On the men's side, seniors Mike Hill, Marcus Kelly, Frank Remund and Josh Robinson were bestowed the honor, each of the first time. Hill, a four-year letterwinner in cross-country and track, exemplified the qualities of leadership by winning a conference title in the steeplechase, while Kelly placed notched his second-consecutive top-10 Pac-10 finish in the triple jump. Remund equaled a career-best in the high jump at the Pac-10 meet, while Robinson was a conference qualifier in the javelin. On the women's team, seniors Zee Ogarro and Searan Salibian were chosen as captains, along with juniors Kate Bradshaw and LeTesha Moore. Ogarro has accomplished the rare feat of leading the UW in the long jump both indoors and out for four consecutive years, and was the Pac-10's sixth-best finisher in the long jump this season. Salibian has been one of Washington's most consistent performers, competing in the shot put at the Pac-10 championships in each of the last three seasons. Bradshaw won the 10,000 meters at the conference meet in 2000, while Moore holds Washington indoor school record in the 60-meter dash, and has led Washington's relay squads to top-five Pac-10 finishes in two of her four years at UW.
One More Hill to Climb: Bellevue's Mike Hill is making quite a splash - literally - in his senior season. The Huskies' star steeplechaser managed to avoid the perils of the pond at last week's Pac-10 championship meet, running away with the conference title in 8:54.19, nearly five seconds better than second-place finisher Jeremy Rasmussen of Arizona State. While impressive, Hill's mark was eight seconds slower than his career-best time of 8:46.92 which ranks 18th in the nation entering this week's NCAA Championships. The mark was the eighth-fastest all-time at Washington, and qualified Hill for his first-ever appearance at nationals. Hill's win at the Pac-10 meet marked his third significant victory of the season. At April's Drake Relays, Hill overcame difficult weather and a talented field to win the steeple, the most impressive win of his career prior to his Pac-10 championship race. For his efforts at Drake, Hill was named the Pac-10 Conference's Track Athlete of the Week, one of three Huskies to earn the weekly honor this season. Hill set his provisional mark at the prestigious Stanford Invitational in March, where he shaved 15 seconds off of his PR. A distance specialist, Hill was one of Washington's most consistent athletes during the 2001 cross-country season, and has managed to avoid serious injury throughout his Husky career, priming the senior for what has been his most impressive season to date. In addition to the steeplechase, Hill boasted a Pac-10 qualifying mark at 5000 meters, having notched a time of 14:13.89 at the UW Indoor Qualifier that ranks as the second-fastest indoor 5000-meter mark in school history.
Flying High: Junior Brad Walker has been breathing rare air this season. The Spokane, Wash., native seems unfazed by offseason surgery on his foot which limited his offseason training regimen and forced him to sit out much of the indoor season. All Walker has done since his return on Mar. 23 is establish the school's all-time record in the event at 18-feet, 1-inch, and earn Washington's first Pac-10 pole vault title in 30 years. An indoor All-American in 2001, Walker ignored the pain in his foot to place 12th at last year's NCAA Championship meet in Eugene. After surgery over the summer, Walker saw limited action indoors before making his debut on Mar. 23 at the California Invitational. The junior improved his marks at every meet thereafter, finally breaking Garth Willard's 10-year old school record of 18-0 1/2 with a career-best vault of 18-1 at the WSU Dual in Pullman, Wash., a feat recognized by the conference office with its Pac-10 Men's Field Athlete of the Week honor. Two weeks later, Walker returned to Pullman and routed the competition with a vault of 18-0 1/2 that was five inches beyond his nearest competitor, establishing the junior as a force to be reckoned with at this week's national championship meet. A 1999 graduate of Spokane's University High School, Walker earned regional and district titles in 1999 before placing second at the state championships.
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight ...: Freshman Kate Soma, ranked 18th nationally in the pole vault entering this week's NCAA Championships, is quickly debunking the notion that size means everything in the pole vault. Listed as 5'-1' tall, Soma has loomed large for the Huskies this season, shattering the school's outdoor and indoor school records. The Portland, Ore., native delighted a large contingent of family and friends at Eugene's Washington-Oregon Dual by becoming the first Husky ever to clear 13 feet in the pole vault. Soma's vault of 13-1 1/2 was two inches beyond the previous school record of 12-11 1/2 set by junior Sandy Erickson in 2000. Such early success by a true freshman is usually cause for surprise, but Soma had already run the expectations of Husky fans through the Dempsey Indoor roof, having bettered Washington's all-time indoor pole vault record by nearly a foot with a vault of 12-11 1/2 at the UW Invitational in February. Soma shattered the previous record of 12-0 3/4 set by MerryJane Bendico in 2001, and established herself as the competitive leader of a stellar group of vaulters, including 2002 NCAA provisional qualifier Erickson. A 2001 graduate of Portland's Grant High School, Soma was the Oregon State and Junior Olympics Champion in the pole vault in 2001, and was an All-American cheerleader in 2000.
Courtney, Queen of the Mile: British Columbia native Courtney Inman seems determined each week to top her performance at the previous meet. At last week's conference championships, Inman posted a career-best third-place finish in the 1500 meters, priming the junior for this week's NCAA Championships. Inman has set a pattern of success all season long. On May 4, she won the 800-meter and 1500-meter races in dual-meet competition against Washington State. The week prior, she ran the anchor legs of Washington's distance medley and sprint medley squads at the Drake Relays,which placed first and second, respectively, the latter losing by just .02 of a second. In April, she climbed to fourth on Washington's 1500m record list with a career-best mark of 4:20.58 to earn an impressive victory at the elite Mt. SAC Relays. The junior also boasts an 800m best of 2:06.46 from the Oregon Dual that is within seven tenths of a second of the school record. The mark is second all-time at UW, and among the top-20 in the nation this year. Inman has made the unexpected the norm in 2002. The junior set the tone for her 2002 season on Mar. 2 at the UW Indoor Qualifier in Dempsey Indoor when she ran 4:45.40 in the mile to become the first Husky woman ever to run a mile in under 4:50. Inman shaved more than five seconds off the previous indoor school record of 4:50.65 set by Margaret Butler in 2000. She also boasted a top 800-meter time indoors, with a mark of 2:11.90 at the Feb. 2 UW Quad Classic that ranks third all-time 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 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 during the 2001 cross-country season, Inman returned for the postseason, running fifth on the squad in a 14th-place team finish at the NCAAs.
Shepparding Records Her Way: Senior Kelsey Sheppard, a graduate of Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, kept Husky track researchers busy this season. Sheppard added the indoor 400m run and 60m hurdles marks to her list of accomplishments, which includes top-10 marks in the 100m- and 400m-hurdles, the 400m dash, and both the indoor and outdoor 4x400m relays. At last week's Pac-10 championship meet, Sheppard placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles, marking the senior's second-career top-five conference finish. At the May 4 dual meet with Washington State, Sheppard was nipped at the line in the 400m hurdles by WSU's Randi Smith, but posted a mark of 58.59 seconds that is the sixth-fastest in school history, and among the nation's top 25 in 2002. Sheppard is one of just five women in Husky track history to complete the 400m hurdles in under 59 seconds, boasting a career-best of 58.29 that ranks fourth all-time at UW. In addition to her success in the low hurdles, Sheppard also posted a Pac-10 qualifiying mark of 13.9 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles that moved her up to fifth all-time at Washington. Sheppard's success was not limited to the outdoor oval, either, having shattered the school's indoor 400-meter record with a mark of 55.11 seconds in Idaho on Feb. 16. Sheppard experienced nearly every level of success in her four years at Washington. She placed 20th in the intermediate hurdles at the NCAAs in her only national appearance, following a terrific 2000 season in which she placed in the top-15 at the Pac-10 Championships in both hurdles events, including a fourth-place mark in the 400m IH. A seven-time Pac-10 qualifier, Sheppard posted at least one conference mark in each year of her Husky career.
Garner-ing Acclaim: In 2002, sophomore Eric Garner established himself as one of the school's top distance competitors of all-time. At April's Oregon Dual, Garner posted Washington's sixth-fastest 1500m mark with a time of 3:43.40, earning Pac-10 Men's Track Athlete of the Week honors in the process. Just for good measure, Garner also boasted Pac-10 qualifying marks in the 800m and 5000m events. The Kelso, Wash., native was making waves this season even before his All-American performance in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where he placed13th overall. Garner battled injuries throughout his first year and a half at Washington, running competitively for the first time in February of 2001. After finishing third on the squad at 1500 meters last season, Garner has steadily improved, culminating with a stunning 3:58.93 mile win at the UW Indoor Qualifier on Mar. 2, the first-ever indoor four-minute mile in Washington state and the third-fastest in the nation in 2002. 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 3000m, with an 8:02.56 mark that is a full four seconds ahead of David Bazzi's mark of 8:06.57 in 2001.
Spree Breaks Free: Sometimes all it takes is one throw. For junior Megan Spriestersbach, the 18th-place finisher in the javelin at last year's NCAA Championships, that throw came at May's Ken Foreman Invitational. Spriestersbach had struggled to find her rhythm in 2002, with only one victory and a season-best mark of 147-0 that was more than nine feet behind her career-best of 156-4 set en route to a second-consecutive top-five conference finish in 2001. Then, on her final throw of the 2002 regular season, Spriestersbach snapped out of her funk in a big way with a throw of 158-2, passing dozens of nationally-ranked competitors to place herself among the top-25 in the nation in 2002. A 1999 graduate of Tacoma's Bellarmine Prep, Spriestersbach earned her third-consecutive top-10 finish at the Pac-10 meet with a heave of 154-10.
Reichmann for Three!: Whether streaking for a layin in the paint, or gliding down the javelin runway, junior Heather Reichmann didn't have much time to rest this season as she bid for her third-career top-10 conference finish. A standout track and basketball star at Seattle's King's High School, Reichmann came to Washington in 1998 on a basketball scholarship, but with a desire to continue to excel at both of her favorite sports. In the four years since, the business major has done just that, having helped Washington's basketball squad to a Pac-10 title and NCAA Elite Eight berth in 2001, and placed among the top-seven javelin finishers in the Pac-10 Championships in each of her three seasons of track and field. The 2002 season was perhaps Reichmann's most succesful. Unable to join the track squad until Apr. 27 due to basketball commitments, Reichmann debuted with a career-best and Pac-10 qualifying mark at the Oregon Dual. She then followed up her impressive performance with career-bests at four of the next five meets, including a career-best mark of 158-3 in a seventh-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships. Reichmann, who has completed her basketball eligibility, redshirted the 2000 track and field season with a shoulder injury, and plans to return for her senior season next spring, when she will bid for a remarkable fourth-straight top-seven finish.
20 Years of Spear Success: From Fred Luke, to Duncan Atwood, to Darryl Roberson, Washington has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the javelin. This year's crop was no exception, with no fewer than four Husky spear specialists exceeding the Pac-10 standard. Juniors Heather Reichmann and Megan Spriestersbach both placed among the conference's top-10 in the event with NCAA provisional-qualifying throws better than 157 feet. Meanwhile, sophomore Seth Jens was the seventh-place finisher at the Pac-10 meet, and was joined in Pullman by senior Josh Robinson, who placed 11th overall. Last year, Spriestersbach teamed with Reichmann to give the Huskies a terrific 1-2 punch at the Pac-10 Championships, with Spriestersbach placing third and Reichmann seventh. Spriestersbach went on to finish 18th at the NCAA Championships, re-establishing the Huskies' long-standing javelin tradition. Since 1982, when women's track and field joined the NCAA, the Huskies have sent at least one competitor in the javelin to all but two NCAA Championships, a span of 20 years. The list includes four Pac-10 Champions (Helen Uusitalo -- 1987, Roberson -- 1988-89, Troy Burkholder -- 1996), one NCAA champion (Uusitalo -- 1986) and a U.S. Olympian (Atwood -- 1984). In all, three different Huskies have thrown the javelin for the U.S. at the Olympic Games and three more have earned NCAA titles. In Husky history, no event has had more separate NCAA champions than javelin's three, with only Scott Neilson's four hammer titles eclipsing the Huskies' success in the spear.
Just Win, Baby: Junior LeTesha Moore and seniors Shavon Hawkins and Zee Ogarro may not be making the trip to Baton Rouge for the 2002 NCAA Championships, but an argument could be made that perhaps no three athletes have been more important to the success of Washington's track and field squad this season. Hawkins, a 1998 graduate of Jefferson High School in Aurora, Colo., competed in six different events outdoors for Washington, winning a stunning 13 event titles. She was been at her best in the season's last month, with four victories at May's Ken Foreman Invitational and nine in her last 11 regular-season competitions, including the sprint medley relay title from the prestigious Drake Relays. Moore, likewise, posted a total of 11 outdoor wins, in five different events. A Pac-10 competitor in each of her first three seasons, Moore established Washington's all-time indoor school record in the 60-meter dash with a mark of 7.60 seconds at January's season-opening UW Preview Meet. Ogarro, meanwhile, adds field success to her track prowess. The Inglewood, Calif., native added seven inches to her season-best in a sixth-place long jump finish at the Pac-10 Championships, marking her fourth-consecutive appearance at the conference meet. Ogarro earned seven victories during the 2002 outdoor season, and finished her career ranked among Washington's top competitors in five different events, including two relays and two sprints.
Hammer Time: At the May 4 dual meet with Washington State, junior Kameko Gay proved that 'u can't touch' this Husky athlete when it comes to the hammer throw. Gay's mark of 170-10 was nearly two feet beyond the school record of 169-1 established by Rebecca Morrison during the 1998 season. With the record-setting heave, Gay also bettered her own career-best mark by nearly four feet, a terrific accomplishment for a thrower who has shown steady improvement throughout her Husky career. A graduate of St. Mary's Academy in Portland, Ore., Gay was twice a top-10 state discus competitor, and competed in the shot put and discus at the 1998 Junior Olympics. Gay signed with Arizona during her senior season, and spent two up-and-down years heaving the hammer for the Wildcats. After missing all of her freshman season due to illness, Gay finally made her collegiate debut in 2000 and earned a Pac-10 qualifying mark with a career-best throw of 163-2, sixth-best in Arizona history. Feeling the need for change, however, Gay opted to transfer to Washington, where she again earned Pac-10 qualifying marks, both in the shot put and hammer throw, in 2001. This season, Gay upped her career bests with conference qualifiers in both events, and finished 11th in the hammer at the Pac-10 championships.
As Easy As One, Two, Three: Not many women in Washington track history can boast the same accomplishment as that achieved by sophomore Brittiny Roberts. Roberts, a graduate of Bullard High School in Fresno, Calif, joined an exclusive club with a leap of 40 feet, zero inches in the triple jump at March's Salzman Invitational, then shattered that mark with a leap of 40-8 3/4 in a fifth-place finish at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships. Only four other Husky women - Tara Davis (1995), Michelle Reid (1997), Angie Tasker (1989) and Suzanne Silvis (1994) - have ever cleared 40 feet in the triple jump, with Davis' leap of 41-7 3/4 setting the standard. More remarkable is that prior to 2002, Roberts had never leapt longer than 38-7, or two feet shorter than her mark at the Pac-10s, which ranks the sophomore third all-time at Washington.
What Goes Up ...: Junior Mat Schwinn knows the laws of gravity - he just tries to forestall the inevitable for as long as possible. At the May 4 dual meet with Washington State, Schwinn befuddled Sir Isaac Newton with a heave of 181-8 in the discus, placing the Castle Rock (Wash.) High School graduate on the list of non-invited provisional qualifiers for the 2002 NCAA Championships in Baton Rouge, La. Schwinn's throw is all the more impressive considering that the junior and two-time conference qualifier had never before thrown longer than 167-8, and did not even boast a Pac-10 qualifying mark in the event before the meet. Schwinn backed up his career-best heave with a mark of 175-9 in an eighth-place finish at the Pac-10 meet a week later, his top-career conference finish. Schwinn placed 12th in the discus at the Pac-10 championships in 2001, after missing the 2000 season due to injury. He earned back-to-back state discus titles in 1997 and 1998, and was the sixth-place finisher in the event at the 1994 Junior Olympics. As a freshman at Washington in 1999, Schwinn ranked second only to All-American Ben Lindsey in all three standing throws. With the 2002 season behind him, Schwinn will enter 2003 just five inches shy of Washington's all-time top-10 in the discus.
10,000 Meter Tandems: Junior Kate Bradshaw and true freshman Lisa Gibbs this year continued a Washington tradition that dates back to the 1996-97 season. Both ran NCAA provisional qualifying marks in the 10,000-meter run at March's Stanford Invitational, marking the sixth-consecutive year that the Huskies have qualified two women's runners at 10,000 meters. The tradition began when then-sophomore Deeja Youngquist was joined by a true freshman, Anna Aoki, at the 1997 championship meet. The two teamed at the NCAAs for the next three seasons, with Aoki earning All-American honors with a ninth-place finish in 1998. Youngquist's departure following the 1999 season could have signaled the end of the streak, but then-freshman Bradshaw defeated an experienced field at the Pac-10 meet to better the NCAA's 10,000-meter qualifying mark and keep the streak alive. Last year, Bradshaw and Aoki performed the double again, and in 2002, Bradshaw was joined by true freshman Gibbs.
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.
Have A Question?: Have a question about something in this release, or a general question about Husky track and field? Contact SID Brian Beaky at firstname.lastname@example.org.