Cross-Country Prepared to Dig Deep at NCAA West Regionals
Nov. 15, 2002
Next Up: Washington's cross-country teams this week head to the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif., for the 2002 NCAA Western Regional Championships, Nov. 16. The Husky women are currently ranked third among all Western Regional squads in the FinishLynx Women's Cross-Country Rankings, while Washington's men are fourth in the region in this week's MONDO Men's Cross-Country Poll. The top two men's and women's teams at each of the nine NCAA Regional competitons will receive automatic berths to the 2002 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Thirteen remaining teams will be selected for at-large inclusion to the NCAA meet, based in part on Regional finish, wins against teams already in the NCAA field, and individual performances. Additionally, NCAA Championships berths will be given to the top four finishing individuals from non-qualifying teams in the Regional meets, as well as two individuals selected at-large based on Regional performance.
NCAA West Regional Championships Schedule
Women's Race (6,000m): 10 a.m. PT
Men's Race (10,000m): 11 a.m. PT
Huskies' Regional History: Head coach Greg Metcalf hopes this weekend will mark a turning point for his Husky men's team, which has finished fifth or lower at the Regional meet every year since 1995, a major factor in the team's nine-year absence from the NCAA Championships field. While Washington has struggled as a team at the Regional meet, Husky individuals have done well, notching three top-10 finishes in the last seven years, inlcuding Jason Fayant's sixth-place finish last season. No Husky men's runner has ever won the Regional, with a second-place finish by Simon Baines in 1993 setting the UW standard. Baines also led Washington to a second-place team finish that season, equaling the Huskies' best-ever. Washington's women, meanwhile, have not placed below fifth at the Regional meet since 1988, and are looking to extend a string of five-consecutive trips to the NCAA Championships. The Huskies have boasted a top-15 individual women's runner every year since 1989, including a fifth-place finish by Kate Bradshaw two seasons ago. Interestingly, the Huskies' success cannot be contributed to consistency, as the team been led by a different runner at each of the past five Regional races, a trend that will continue unless Bradshaw finishes at the front of the UW pack on Saturday.
Women Continue to Climb: Sparked by a third-place finish at last week's Pac-10 championships, the UW's women's cross-country squad climbed four spots to 21st in the FinishLynx Women's Cross-Country Rankings, released Nov. 4. The Huskies earned 127 points in the poll, third-highest among all Western Region teams. Brigham Young retained the top spot with 389 points, earning 12 of 13 first-place votes. Pac-10 champion Stanford was second, with 378 points and one first-place nod. The Huskies' No. 21 national ranking is its highest of the 2002 regular season. Washington was ranked 19th in the preseason poll, but fell to 36th after one week of competition.
Husky Men Receive Votes: Washington's men's squad, meanwhile, received four votes in the MONDO Men's Cross-Country Rankings to rank 40th overall, and fourth among West Regional squads. Stanford was No. 1 with 449 points and 14 of 15 first-place votes, while Arkansas ranked second with 428 points and one first-place vote. The Husky men achieved a 2002 high ranking of 27th in the Sept. 17 poll.
Huskies on the Airwaves: 'On Campus with the Huskies,' a half-hour program featuring Washintgon's Olympic sports teams, debuted this fall on Fox Sports Northwest. The weekly program, hosted by former Husky athlete Elise Woodward, features event highlights and profiles of Husky athletes and coaches. 'On Campus' airs each Thursdayat 6:30 p.m. PT.
Men on the Move: Washington's men, faced with a nine-year NCAA drought, may look back on Nov. 2, 2002 as a turning point in the program's fortunes. On that day, the Huskies packed four runners into the top-30 at the Pac-10 Championships in Los Angeles, sparking the team to a fourth-place team finish that was its best since 1995. While the Huskies have had success in spurts over the past few seasons, the Pac-10 meet was a harbinger of things to come not for the team's finish, but for the ages of the runners leading the way for Washington. None of the team's top-nine runners at the conference meet are seniors, with junior Eric Garner leading three other juniors, two sophomores and two redshirt freshmen. The Huskies boast just one senior in the roster in 2002 in Jeremy Park, the team's 10th-place finisher at the conference meet.
Fab Frosh: Just a freshman, Spokane native Laura Hodgson made a name for herself at the Sept. 7 Emerald City Invitational by becoming the first Husky runner in history to earn a victory in their collegiate debut. Hodgson's win was the first of any kind by a Husky true freshman since Regina Joyce captured the 1980 NCWSA/Region IX Championships in Missoula, Mont. Joyce, of course, went on to earn three All-American honors in cross-country, and competed for her native Ireland in the marathon at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Calif. Hodgson, who placed third overall at the 2001 Washington state 4A cross-country championships in a then-personal best 18 minutes, 32 seconds, shattered that mark at the Emerald City meet, completing the 5,000-meter course in 17:41 to best runner-up Jamie Gibbs by 18 seconds.
Meet the Coaches: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf enters his first year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his sixth year overall at the University. In five seasons as a UW assistant, Metcalf guided the women's cross-country team to five-straight NCAA appearances, including a UW-best ninth-place finish in 1998. Metcalf has coached eight All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 57 NCAA qualifiers and 10 school-record setters. A 1993 graduate of Washington, Metcalf was a two-time All-American for the Huskies in the steeplechase. Metcalf is joined by volunteer assistant David Bazzi, who earned All-America honors at Washington in 2001, and is the school-record holder at 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
Media Guide Corrections: The following corrections have been noted to Washington's 2002 cross-country media guide. On the inside front cover, Jeremy Park should be listed as a senior, while John Russell should be listed as a junior. On page three, Washington's men's captains should be listed as Todd Arnold, Dustin Duke and John Russell. On page five, a photo of former Husky Lisa Gibbs is erroneously identified as sophomore Jamie Gibbs. On page nine, a photo of junior Ben Koss is erroneously identified as Michael Kiter. On page 14, the PRs listed below Mike Sayenko's bio are in fact those of fellow freshman John Hickey. Also, the correct spelling of Laura Halverson's name is 'Halverson,' not 'Halvorsen' as listed throughout. Any other corrections to the media guide or other UW cross-country publications should be directed to SID Brian Beaky at firstname.lastname@example.org.