Track and Field Continues Record-Setting Season at 44th-Annual Mt. SAC Relays
April 16, 2003
On the Track: Washington's track and field squads will leave the Northwest this weekend for the sunny climes of California and the 44th-Annual Mt. SAC Relays. Billed as the West Coast's first major track and field meet upon its debut in 1959, Mt. SAC has become one of the top annual destinations for the nation's top prep, collegiate and professional track and field athletes. This year's meet at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., will feature competition by nine Huskies, while the majority of Washington's athletes will participate in the nearby Pomona-Pitzer Invitational at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
Who Goes Where: With the Huskies splitting their action between two meets in the same area, Husky coaches will be busy trying to catch all of the action. The fun begins on Thursday, as five UW athletes - steeplers Kate Spigel and Jesse Fayant, javelin thrower Tiffany Zahn, 5,000-meter specialist Sabrina Monro and 10,000-meter ace Kate Bradshaw - compete at Mt. SAC. Friday's action will take place entirely at Pomona, with dozens of Huskies competing in the one-day meet against top collegiate foes. On Saturday, Washington will wrap up its busy weekend back at Mt. SAC, with shot putter Cherron Davis, triple jumper Brittiny Roberts, pole vaulter Brad Walker and 1,500-meter runner Courtney Inman all scheduled to compete.
Event Schedule: Following are schedules of events for both the Mt. SAC Relays and the Pomona-Pitzer Inviational. Both schedules include only those events featuring Husky athletes. All times are Pacific.Meet Results: Results and a full recap of UW competition will be posted to www.gohuskies.com immediately following the conclusion of the meet. For complete results, meet history, complete entry lists and event schedules for the Mt. SAC Relays, visit http://vm.mtsac.edu/relays, and for more information on the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, visit http://www.csupomona.edu/%7Eathletic/.
Mt. SAC Relays
Thursday, April 17
5:25 p.m. -- Steeplechase (W)
5:55 p.m. -- Steeplechase (M)
7:45 p.m. -- Javelin (W)
8:45 p.m. -- 5,000m Run (W)
9:50 p.m. -- 10,000m Run (W)
Saturday, April 19
9:50 a.m. -- Shot Put (W)
10:00 a.m. -- Triple Jump (W)
3:15 p.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
4:50 p.m -- 1,500m Run (W)
Friday, April 18
9:00 a.m. -- Hammer Throw (W)
9:15 a.m. -- Steeplechase (W)
9:30 a.m. -- High Jump (W)
10:15 a.m. -- 100m Hurdles (W)
10:30 a.m. -- Javelin (W)
10:40 a.m. -- Steeplechase (M)
11:30 a.m. -- Shot Put (W)
11:30 a.m. -- 1,500m Run (M)
12:00 p.m. -- 1,500m Run (W)
1:40 p.m. -- 400m Dash (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
2:00 p.m. -- High Jump (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Javelin (M)
2:30 p.m. -- Discus (W)
2:45 p.m. -- 800m Run (M)
3:15 p.m. -- 800m Run (W)
3:30 p.m. -- Triple Jump (W)
4:20 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles (W)
4:40 p.m. -- 200m Dash (M)
Huskies on the Airwaves: 'On Campus with the Huskies,' a half-hour program featuring Washington's Olympic sports teams, debuted last 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 Thursday at 6:30 p.m. PT.
Last Year at the Mt. SAC Relays: Washington athletes stole the show at the 2002 Mt. SAC Relays, with both pole vaulter Brad Walker and miler Courtney Inman earning impressive wins. Walker's clearance of 17 feet, 8 1/2 inches was four inches better than his nearest competitor, while Inman's time of 4 minutes, 20.58 seconds moved her up to fourth in the national rankings, and was at the time the fourth-fastest ever by a UW woman.
Rankings Report: Washington's women's and men's teams were ranked 13th and 17th, respectively, in Tuesday's U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings. The rankings, which simulate dual meet competition between the nation's elite collegiate squads, gave the Husky women a score of 305.09 points, third among all Pac-10 schools and a 35-point increase over the team's score of a week ago. UCLA took the top spot with a score of 375.2, just ahead of the 358.93 points of last week's No. 1, South Carolina. The Husky men, meanwhile, earned 296.82 points in this week's USTCA Rankings, a 28-point increase over last week's total. Tennessee took over the No. 1 spot with a score of 352.39 points, edging UCLA (347.22) and BYU (340.09). Neither UW team was ranked in Tuesday's release of the Trackwire 25, which predicts team scoring at the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
New NCAA Format: For the first time ever, the NCAA will use Regional Championship meets this season to determine qualifying for the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Stating a desire to place an emphasis on competition, rather than best marks, the NCAA Championships will draw the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relay teams from each of the four Regionals nationwide, to be contested May 30-31. Athletes will qualify for the Regional meets by meeting pre-determined NCAA standards. The NCAA will then round out the Championships field by selecting the highest-ranking individuals (approximately six per individual event and five per relay) from the national collegiate performance lists, provided those athletes competed at their respective Regional meets and were not among the finishers to earn automatic NCAA berths. The lone exception to the Regional qualifying system will be the 10,000-meter and multi-events, which will not be subject to Regional competition. Athletes will continue to qualify for the NCAA Championships in those events as they have in the past, by meeting pre-determined provisional and automatic-qualifying standards.
Where No Husky Has Gone Before: At the season-opening Ken Shannon Invitational, five Husky throwers became the first UW athletes ever to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships, which will be contested for the first time May 30-31. The list included four spear specialists, headlined by three-time top-10 Pac-10 finisher Heather Reichmann. Joining Reichmann as Washington's first-ever NCAA Regional qualifiers were freshman Tiffany Zahn, a prep All-American in the javelin, sophomore javelin throwers Rigel Wise and Juan Romero, and senior discus competitior Mat Schwinn. The following week, however, the five learned they'd have some company at the Regional meet, as no fewer than 21 Huskies achieved NCAA qualifying marks, including marks in the 10,000 meters by Sabrina Monro and Kate Bradshaw which qualified them directly for the NCAA Championship meet in June. Four Husky men, led by national leader Jeremy Park, qualified in the 5,000 meters, spearheading the most prolific NCAA-qualifying day in Washington history. In all, 29 Husky athletes have qualified for NCAA competition, including 27 Regional qualifiers and two NCAA Championships qualifiers.
Washington's 2003 NCAA Championships Qualifiers
Name, Event, Mark, Regional Ranking, National Ranking
Jeremy Park, 5,000m, 13:54.07, 1st, 1st
Brad Walker, Pole Vault, 18-6 1/2, 1st, 1st
Eric Garner, 5,000m, 14:13.26, 4th, 7th
Jesse Fayant, 5,000m, 14:19.02, 7th, 13th
Eric Garner, 1,500m, 3:45.71, 7th, 21st
John Russell, 1,500m, 3:46.57, 8th, 26th
Andy Fader, 5,000m, 14:23.88, 9th, 28th
Jeremy Park, 1,500m, 3:46.58, 9th, 27th
Rigel Wise, Javelin, 204-4, 10th (tie), 61st(tie)
Juan Romero, Javelin, 201-1, 12th, 68th
Jon Hickey, 1,500m, 3:49.18, 14th, 47th
Mat Schwinn, Discus, 172-0, 14th, 56th
Fumi Nagahisa, Pole Vault, 16-0 3/4, 19th (tie), 57th (tie)
Sam Roberts, Pole Vault, 16-0 3/4, 19th (tie), 57th (tie)
Name, Event, Mark, Regional Ranking, National Ranking
Courtney Inman, 1,500m, 4:19.39, 2nd, 5th
Brittiny Roberts, Triple Jump, 41-4 1/2, 2nd, 23rd
Sabrina Monro*, 10,000m, 33:32.28, , 9th
Kate Bradshaw*, 10,000m, 34:43.47, , 15th
Heather Reichmann, Javelin, 156-3, 5th, 20th
Tiffany Zahn, Javelin, 155-2, 6th, 23rd
Kate Spigel, Steeplechase, 10:45.76, 7th, 11th
Sidney Brown, High Jump, 5-7, 10th (tie), 46th (tie)
Brittiny Roberts, High Jump, 5-7, 10th (tie), 46th (tie)
Cambrielle Jensen, 400m Hurdles, 1:01.02, 14th, 57th
Kameko Gay, Hammer, 171-0, 15th, 50th
Kate Soma, Pole Vault, 12-6, 17th, 38th (tie)
Cherron Davis, Shot Put, 46-2 3/4, 21st, 81st
* - The 10,000m and multi-events will not be contested at the NCAA Regional Meet; athletes in those events qualify directly for the NCAA Championships.
Just Dandy, Thank You: Much of the reason behind Washington's lofty rankings is the success of an outstanding trio of individuals. Seniors Brad Walker, Courtney Inman and Sabrina Monro each earned top-10 individual rankings in this week's Trackwire Dandy Dozen, which predicts individual order of finish at the NCAA Championships. Additionally, javelin thrower Tiffany Zahn merited mention as Trackwire's 12th-ranked competitor in that event. Factoring in seed marks, injury history, and past performance in major competitions, Trackwire ranks Walker No. 1 overall in the pole vault, Inman seventh in the 1,500 meters and Monro ninth in the 10,000 meters . Trackwire is wise to bank on Walker again - the service ranked him No. 1 throughout the 2003 indoor season and he didn't let them down, winning the NCAA indoor title with a mark of 19-0 1/4 that was nine inches beyond his nearest competitor.
Los Angeles, Here We Come: Thus far in 2003, 34 Husky athletes have combined for 40 Pac-10 qualifying marks. Last year, Washington boasted 40 Pac-10 qualifiers, two of whom - pole vaulter Brad Walker and steepler Mike Hill - left Pullman, Wash., with conference titles. Senior Courtney Inman has already notched qualifying marks in two events, as have senior Kameko Gay, sophomore Sidney Brown, junior Brittiny Roberts, junior Eric Garner and senior Jeremy Park. Following is a list of all UW athletes currently qualified for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, along with their current conference ranking.. Pac-10 teams can bring a maximum of 24 athletes to the meet, and in addition may place one athlete in each event for which the school has no qualifier. Thus, some athletes to post qualifying marks may not compete, and others not qualified may be entered in some events.
Name, Event, Mark, Pac-10 Rank
Todd Arnold, Mile, 4:06.65, 7th
Ryan Brown, 800m, 1:50.97, 8th
Warren Eickhoff, High Jump, 6-9 1/2, 8th
Andy Fader, 5,000m, 14:23.88, 15th
Jesse Fayant, 5,000m, 14:19.02, 12th
Eric Garner, 1,500m, 3:45.71, 4th
Eric Garner, 5,000m, 14:13.26, 10th
Brad Goodrich, 400m Hurdles, 53.50, 15th
Jon Hickey, 1,500m, 3:49.18, 10th
Jeremy Park, 1,500m, 3:46.58, 6th
Jeremy Park, 5,000m, 13:54.07, 3rd
Juan Romero, Javelin, 201-1, 8th
John Russell, 1,500m, 3:46.57, 5th
Shelton Sampson, 200m, 21.18, 3rd
Mat Schwinn, Discus, 172-0, 8th
James Sims, Triple Jump, 49-3 3/4, 7th
Brad Walker, Pole Vault, 19-0 1/4, 1st
Sean Williams, 400m Dash, 47.52, 9th
Rigel Wise, Javelin, 204-4, 6th
Name, Event, Mark, Pac-10 Rank
Mary Beeman, Shot Put, 44-9 1/2, 17th
Kate Bradshaw, 5,000m, 17:09.06, 12th
Sidney Brown, Triple Jump, 39-4 1/2, 6th
Sidney Brown, High Jump, 5-7, 8th
Camille Connelly, 1,500m, 4:35.09, 15th
Cherron Davis, Shot Put, 46-2 3/4, 13th
Lindsey Egerdahl, 1,500m, 4:30.00, 8th
Kameko Gay, Shot Put, 44-11 3/4, 16th
Kameko Gay, Hammer Throw, 174-4, 13th
Jamie Gibbs, 5,000m, 17:21.06, 13th
Courtney Inman, 800m, 2:07.70, 4th
Courtney Inman, 1,500m, 4:19.39, 2nd
Cambrielle Jensen, 400m Hurdles, 1:01.02, 7th
Sabrina Monro, 5,000m, 16:22.13, 5th
Heather Reichmann, Javelin, 142-10, 4th
Brittiny Roberts, Triple Jump, 41-4 1/2, 2nd
Brittiny Roberts, High Jump, 5-7, 10th
Kate Soma, Pole Vault, 13-3 3/4, 2nd
Kate Spigel, Steeplechase, 10:45.76, 4th
Kathryn Touran, 1,500m, 4:36.04, 17th
Tiffany Zahn, Javelin, 155-2, 5th
World-Class Walker: When Husky senior Brad Walker cleared 18 feet, 6 inches in a sixth-place finish at the USA Senior National Championships last June, he sent a message that he was primed for a big collegiate season in 2003. After his performance at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, however, one has to go beyond the collegiate ranks to find anyone who can compete with the Spokane, Wash., native. Walker's clearance of 19-0 1/4 at the NCAAs was better than all but two indoor marks in the world in 2003, and equaled the winning mark at the 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Walker, who won the NCAA title by nearly nine inches, finished the indoor season tied for third in the world with American Derek Miles and Romain Mesnil of France, and tied Miles for the U.S. best. Walker crushed his own UW record by more than six inches, and became the first Pac-10 vaulter ever to clear the 19-foot mark, shattering by three inches the Pac-10 record of 18-9 1/4 set by Stanford's Toby Stevenson. Following are the 2003 IAAF World Rankings and the all-time collegiate men's pole vault rankings:
2003 IAAF World Rankings
Name, Country, Mark
1. Tim Lobinger, Germany, 19-1
2. Adam Ptacek, Czech Republic, 19-0 3/4
3. Brad Walker, United States, 19-0 1/4
3. Derek Miles, United States, 19-0 1/4
3. Romain Mesnil, France, 19-0 1/4
6. Oleksandr Korchmid, Ukraine, 18-10 1/4
6. Michael Stolle, Germany, 18-10 1/4
8. Jeff Hartwig, United States, 18-9 1/2
8. Lars Borgeling, Germany, 18-9 1/2
8. Rens Blom, Netherlands, 18-9 1/2
8. Vasily Gorshkov, Russia, 18-9 1/2
8. Richard Spiegelburg, Germany, 18-9 1/2
All-Time Collegiate Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Lawrence Johnson, Tennessee, 1996, 19-7 1/2
2. Istvan Bagyula, George Mason, 1991, 19-5
3. Jacob Davis, Texas, 1998, 19-4 1/4
4. Bill Payne, Baylor, 1991, 19-2 3/4
5. Joe Dial, Oklahoma State, 1985, 19-2 1/4
6. Brad Walker, Washington, 2003, 19-0 1/4
6. Russ Buller, Louisiana State, 1999, 19-0 1/4
6. Jim Davis, Fresno State, 2000, 19-0 1/4
9. Doug Fraley, Fresno State, 1986, 18-11
10. Jeff Buckingham, Kansas, 1983, 18-10 1/2
Walker's Steady Climb: Currently the nation's leader outdoors with a school-record best of 18-6 1/2, Brad Walker initially enrolled at UW as a non-scholarship athlete who never cleared 17 feet at University High School in Spokane. Walker blossomed during his sophomore season, improving by more than a foot en route to an All-American indoor campaign. An undiagnosed foot injury hampered Walker outdoors, but he still finished 12th at the NCAA meet before undergoing surgery. After redshirting the 2002 indoor season, Walker posted one of the top seasons in UW history, shattering the school's outdoor vault record and earning the UW's first Pac-10 pole vault title in 30 years. A second-place finish at the NCAA Championships and the sixth-place finish at the USA meet followed. This season, Walker upped the school record again, to 19-0 1/4 with his performance at the NCAA Indoor meet, and broke his own outdoor record in his first competition. While 2003 will be Walker's final year outdoors, he has one year of eligibility remaining indoors.
Mile Mayhem: Washington's 1,500-meter runners have littered the national collegiate rankings for years, but last week's performance at the Pepsi Team Invitational may rank as one of the most impressive. Huskies Eric Garner, John Russell and Jeremy Park swept the top three spots in the men's event, while Jon Hickey placed seventh, all bettering the NCAA qualifying standard. The purple theme continued in the women's 1,500m, with Lindsey Egerdahl earning an NCAA qualifying mark and Camille Connelly and Kathryn Touran each posting Pac-10 qualifying times. That's seven postseason qualifiers in one event (men's and women's) at the same meet. Those seven join NCAA qualifier Courtney Inman and Pac-10 qualifier Todd Arnold to form a team of nine UW 1,500m runners who should be a force to reckon with in the postseason. Of the nine, seven boast prior postseason experience, including past NCAA competitors Garner, Inman and Park, the latter of two of whom own indoor school records in the mile (Inman) and 3,000 meters (Park).
20 Years of Spear Success: From Fred Luke and Duncan Atwood, to Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo, Washington has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the javelin. This year's crop is no exception, with four Huskies qualifying for the NCAA Regional Championships at the first meet of the 2003 season. Senior Heather Reichmann is a three-time top-10 finisher at the Pac-10 Championships, and owns the school record with the new javelin implement. Redshirting senior Megan Spriestersbach boasts NCAA experience, and freshman Tiffany Zahn, already an NCAA qualifier this season, earned prep All-American honors from Track and Field News in 2002. Junior Seth Jens was the seventh-place finisher at the 2002 Pac-10 meet, and sophomores Rigel Wise and Juan Romero are NCAA qualifiers in 2003. 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 three NCAA Championships, a span of 21 years. The list includes four Pac-10 Champions (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 UW history, no event has featured more individual NCAA champions than javelin's three, with only Scott Neilson's four hammer titles eclipsing the UW's success in the spear.
Husky Greats Give Back: Looking for an explanation for the Huskies' immediate success in the javelin this season? Look no further than 1984 U.S. Olympian Duncan Atwood, who has volunteered his time to his alma mater this season, working with first-year assistant coach Bud Rasmussen. Atwood, however, is just one of the former Husky greats lending their expertise to an eager group of UW collegians. Four-time Pac-10 sprints champion Ja'Warren Hooker has been taking time off from the professional track circuit to mentor Washington's up-and-coming sprinters, volunteering his assistance to first-year assistant coach Dion Miller. The results speak for themselves: so far in 2003, four UW javelin throwers have qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships, while the Husky sprinters have seen improvement across the board. Atwood and Hooker join first-year head coach Greg Metcalf, a two-time steeplechase All-American at UW and a participant at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials, as well as two-time Husky All-American David Bazzi, now a full-time assistant coach.
Resourceful Recruiting: Washington's coaches in 2003 have found a creative way to add numerous elite athletes to the squad without having to give up any scholarships - cull the most talented athletes from the UW's other sports. This season's Husky roster, therefore, features nine players from the Husky football team, one UW gymnast, and one better known for her exploits on the basketball court. Those to make the biggest impact so far in 2003 are the football players, two of whom led the team in their events indoors and one - freshman tailback Shelton Sampson - who was an NCAA indoor qualifier, in the 200 meters. Former Husky basketball player Heather Reichmann is an NCAA Regional qualifier in the javelin, and sophomore safety James Sims, a Pac-10 competitor last season, is a Pac-10 qualifier again in the triple jump. Those three are joined on the UW roster by wide receivers Reggie Williams and Matt Williams, cornerbacks Roc Alexander and Derrick Johnson, tailback Chris Singleton and former UW linebacker Will Conwell. Also this spring, redshirt freshman gymnast Carly Dockendorf - who as an unattached athlete cleared a height of 12-5 in the pole vault that would rank among the UW's top-five all-time - will join the track team on a full-time basis.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: Freshman football/basketball star Nate Robinson may be Washington's most celebrated two-sport athlete in 2003, but even he isn't trying to compete in two sports at once. That's what's being accomplished by Port Moody, B.C., native Carly Dockendorf, a star for the Husky gymnastics team who has competed unattached at several of the Huskies' indoor track and field meets. The weekend of Mar. 1 marked the most impressive display of Dockendorf's athletic ability. On Friday, Feb. 28, with the gymnasts needing a big performance from Dockendorf to extend an undefeated home season, the redshirt freshman scored a perfect 10 on the floor exercise, just the sixth perfect 10 in UW history. Barely 12 hours later, Dockendorf pulled on her track spikes and soared 12-feet, zero inches in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Indoor Track Invitational, a mark which would have ranked fifth all-time in UW history. A provincial pole vault champion as a prep, Dockendorf was named Rookie of the Year by the Husky gymnastics team in 2002. Dockendorf has been one of UW's most outstanding gymnastis in 2003, tallying three perfect 10s on the floor, including at the Pac-10 Championships, where she shared the conference crown in the event.
You Might Recall: While the 11 athletes on the roster from sports other than track or cross-country are more than Washington has had in recent years, the practice of mining athletic talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for the Husky track and field squad in the past. In fact, a glance at Washington's career top-10 charts reveals numerous outstanding two-sport performers, including 110m hurdles record-holder Spider Gaines, a tailback for the UW football team in the 1970s, and sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, the UW record-holder at 100m, 200m, and 400m and a Husky wide receiver from 1997-98. Other names which highlight the list include football players Ernie Conwell (No. 5, shot put), Dana Hall (No. 3, 110m HH), Sterling Hinds (No. 3, 100m/200m), Pete Kaligis (No. 6, shot put), Orlando McKay (No.2, 400m), Brent Merritt (No. 5, 400m) and Tony Parrish (No. 5, triple jump). That's not to say that multi-sport success is limited just to the football team. Former UW All-American volleyball star Makare Desilets boasts the school's fifth-best high jump mark, while basketball standout Tara Davis is the school-record holder in the triple jump, and ranks second all-time in the long jump. And, of course, current Husky and former hoopster Heather Reichmann is the school's all-time record-holder in the javelin (new implement). This list doesn't even include Huskies Herman Brix and Paul Jessup, who starred for Washington's football teams in the 1920s before establishing world records in the shot put and discus, respectively.
Ridiculous Records: Washington's track and field athletes in 2003 rendered the indoor school records section of the Huskies' Track and Field Media Guide completely obsolete, posting no fewer than 38 marks among the top-10 in school history. Included among the top-10 marks were a whopping eight school records, or one more than Husky athletes set in 2001 and 2002, combined. Senior Jeremy Park had a hand in two such records, as did senior Courtney Inman. Inman was one of twelve Huskies to post top-10 marks in multiple events, with sophomore Sean Williams notching five top-10 marks, including relays. See the box above (available only in PDF version of release) for a full list of the athletes who have cracked the UW's all-time top-10 indoor rankings in 2003, as well as a list of Washington's indoor school records.
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight...: ... it's the size of the fight in the dog. Sophomore pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0', but the Portland, Ore., native towers over all UW female vaulters, past and present. Soma is the only Husky woman ever to clear 13 feet in the pole vault, having done so both indoors and outdoors. In fact, only five UW women have ever cleared 12 feet in the event, a feat Soma has accomplished in 20 of her 24-career pole vault finishes, including the 2003 NCAA Indoor meet, where she placed 12th. The meet marked the second NCAA appearance for Soma, who was the 16th-place finisher at the 2002 NCAA outdoor meet.At the Mar. 1 Pac-10 Invitational, Soma broke her own indoor school record with a clearance of 13-3 3/4 that is nearly a foot beyond the UW's all-time second-best mark. As a freshman, Soma notched a school-record clearance of 13-1 1/2 outdoors, and added 11 inches to the UW's indoor best with a mark of 12-11 1/2. Currently, Soma is qualified for the NCAA Regional meet with a 2003 outdoor best of 12-6.
Triple Threat: Junior triple jumper Brittiny Roberts entered rare air on Feb. 15 when she leapt 41-4 1/4 at the UW Invitational, nearly 10 inches farther than the Huskies' previous indoor best. She did herself one better, though, at March's Stanford Invitational , clearing 41-4 1/2 to leapfrog Michele Davis into second on the UW's all-time outdoor list. Roberts' success should come as no surprise, given that her cousin, U.S. track legend Ralph Boston, won the gold medal in the long jump at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Maybe Roberts learned a thing or two from Boston - in addition to the triple jump, she led all Huskies indoors in the high jump, and ranked third on the team in the long jump. A graduate of Bullard High School in Fresno, Calif., Roberts is making an assault on the school outdoor record of 41-7 3/4 set by Tara Davis in 1995. Prior to 2003, Roberts had already joined an elite class of triple jumpers, clearing 40-8 3/4 in a fourth-place finish at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships to rank third all-time at UW. Roberts is one of just five Huskies ever to cover 40 feet in the triple jump outdoors, and one of just three to accomplish the feat indoors. Roberts was outstanding as a prep, competing in the California state championship meet for four consecutive seasons, with four top-10 finishes, including two each in the high and triple jumps. As a UW freshman, Roberts placed 10th in the triple jump at the Pac-10 meet.
Park Central to UW Success: Perhaps no Husky has risen as quickly this season as senior distance runner Jeremy Park, who earned All-American honors indoors with a 13th-place finish in the 3,000 meters at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships. Park has carried over his indoor success to the outdoor season as well, taking the national lead at 5,000 meters with a time of 13:54.02 at March's Stanford Invitational that ranks third in UW history. Additionally, Park is an NCAA qualifier at 1,500 meters. A graduate of Klamath Falls (Ore.) High School, Park attended Portland State University for two seasons before transferring to UW in the fall of 2001. Last season, Park earned an eighth-place finish in the 1,500m at the Pac-10 Championships, and entered 2003 among Washington's top-three competitors at 1,500m and 5,000m. It was in the 3,000m where Park made his splash indoors, shaving 16 seconds off of his personal best with an NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 7:54.13 on Feb. 15 that ranked fifth in the nation in 2003. In the process, Park became the first UW runner ever to clear eight minutes indoors in the 3,000m, shattering the school record by more than eight seconds. Remarkably, it was the second school record in as many meets for Park, who ran the first leg of the UW's record-setting distance medley relay squad at the Husky Invitational on Feb. 1. The team's time of 9:40.82 was 12 seconds beyond the previous best, and bettered the NCAA provisional standard.
Queen of the Mile: It seems impossible, but for the past two seasons, senior Courtney Inman has been setting school records nearly every time she steps on the track. Currently, Inman is the Huskies' top competitor in both the 800- and 1,500-meter runs, with times that would rank among the school's top-five in both - if not for the fact that she already has the UW's second-best marks in each event. This season, Inman calmly shaved five seconds off her own school record in the mile, lowering to 4:40.24 a record which stood as high as 4:48.36 barely 12 months ago. After having lowered the mile record on three separate occasions in 2003, the British Columbia native set her sights on Sarah Bolender's 800-meter record of 2:11.06. On her first try, Inman lowered that mark to 2:10.56, before taking off another two seconds with a time of 2:08.39 at the Mar. 8 Last Chance Qualifier. Inman earned her third-straight trip to the NCAA Championships, placing ninth in the mile. She was the 14th-place finisher in the event at last year's NCAA Indoor Championships, and took 10th in the 1,500 meters at the 2002 NCAA outdoor meet, where she is again an NCAA qualifier in 2003. Inman also excels at longer distances, having earned All-Pac-10 cross-country honors in 2002, and led all Husky finishers at the 2002 NCAA cross-country meet.
Work of Art: Senior Kameko Gay is certainly adept at using her hands - and we're not talking about her dazzling abilities in the hammer throw. The Portland, Ore., native is an accomplished sculptor in the University's art department. When not molding works of art with her hands, Gay can usually be found breaking a record, as she has done three times at Washington since transferring from Arizona before the 2001 season. An NCAA qualifier in the hammer throw, Gay most recently broke the school record in the hammer throw at April's Pepsi Team Invitational, heaving the implement 174 feet, 4 inches. Interestingly, Gay also trained as a figure skater as a child before turning exclusively to track and field.
Top Dawgs: Three seniors and one junior, distance runner Todd Arnold, were selected captains this season by a vote of their teammates. Arnold, a Pac-10 qualifier at 1,500 meters in 2002, is joined by senior All-American Brad Walker, the 2002 NCAA runner-up in the pole vault, as captains on the men's side, while a pair of school-record holders - Kameko Gay in the hammer and Courtney Inman in the mile - lead the women.
International Blend: The UW's 2003 roster features several individuals from outside the U.S., including top-10 NCAA 1,500-meter finisher Courtney Inman. Not surprisingly, Canada is the foreign nation with the most athletes on the UW roster, including Inman, freshman Gaelle Banini (Richmond, B.C.), redshirt freshman Carly Dockendorf (Port Moody, B.C.) and sophomore Jeff Wallis (Duncan, B.C.). For Banini, however, Canada is just the most recent nation of residence. Born in Cameroon, Africa, Banini moved to France in 1987, and finally settled in Canada in 1994. Joining the Canadian quartet are freshman Vinh Chung, who will rack up plenty of frequent flyer miles while traveling from Seattle to his hometown of Hamilton, New Zealand; freshman Mike Sayenko, born in the Ukraine; and senior Elena Popovskaya, a native of Russia.
'Note' Worthy: Junior Brendan Tuohy is doing his best to debunk the stereotype of the oafish thrower. The Tacoma, Wash., native, whose led all Husky competitors indoors in 2003 in the shot put and weight throws, is majoring in music at the UW and boasts a fine tenor voice. When not throwing, Tuohy can be heard performing such works as Bach's Oratorio for the UW School of Music, and in concerts with the Tacoma Opera and the UW Chambersingers. Tuohy will continue his musical education upon earning his degree.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his first year as the UW's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his sixth year overall at Washington. In five seasons as a UW assistant, Metcalf led 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, 13 school-record setters and 62 NCAA qualifiers. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeplechase, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic trials.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's coaching staff in 2003 is in no way short on accolades. Seventh-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed three All-Americans, including NCAA champion Brad Walker. First-year throws coach Bud Rasmussen founded the prestigious Iron Wood Thrower Development Camp, and in seven years at North Idaho College, mentored 82 NJCAA All-Americans, 18 national champions and five NJCAA record holders. First-year sprints/relays coach Dion Miller last year led Texas Tech sprinters to 13 All-America accolades, and a Big 12 title in the 4x100-meter relay. Second-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Husky alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is first-year distance coach Kelly MacDonald, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles.
Historic Husky Stadium: On the shores of Lake Washington and with vistas of Mount Rainier, Husky Stadium's current capacity of 72,500 seats makes it the largest stadium in the Pacific Northwest and the nation's 15th-largest on-campus facility. Built in 1920 at a cost of $600,000, the facility has hosted some of the world's most prestigious meets, including the 1990 Goodwill Games at which 33 Husky Stadium records were set. The stadium has also served as host of the 1971 NCAA Championships, the 1972 AAU Championships and the 1990 and 1997 Pacific-10 Conference Championships.
2003 NCAA Indoor Championships Recap: Without a doubt, the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships were nearly a perfect finish to an outstanding indoor season for the University of Washington track and field teams. Senior Brad Walker backed up his No. 1 ranking in the pole vault, earning Washington's 25th-ever NCAA individual title with a vault of 19-feet, 0 1/4 inches that is the best-ever by a Pac-10 vaulter, third-best in the world in 2003, and tied for sixth-best in NCAA history. Senior Jeremy Park earned All-American honors with a 13th-place finish in the 3,000 meters, helping lead the Husky men to a tie for 20th overall at the meet. Senior Courtney Inman placed ninth overall in the mile, and sophomore Kate Soma was the 12th finisher in the pole vault, each improving their finishes from the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Top-ranked Arkansas ran away with the men's title, while LSU defended its indoor crown on the women's side.
NCAA Championships By the Numbers: Including Brad Walker's record-breaking win at this year's NCAA Indoor Championships, Husky athletes have earned 25 NCAA individual crowns all-time. Poignantly, the 2003 season marks the 40th anniversary of the Huskies' only other NCAA pole vault championship, won by Brian Sternberg in Modesto, Calif., in 1963. The 2003 season also marked the fifth anniversary of Ja'Warren Hooker's 1998 55-meter title, and the 25th anniversary of the second of three-consecutive indoor weight throw titles earned by legendary Husky Scott Nielson. Nielson was certainly the most prolific titlist in school history, graduating with seven NCAA championships, including the three indoor weight throw crowns, and four-straight NCAA hammer titles from 1976-79. Besides Nielson, two other Huskies earned multiple NCAA titles, including hurdler Steve Anderson, in 1929 and 1930, and Gus Pope, who captured both the discus and shot titles 1921. Interestingly, of the 21 Husky athletes to win titles prior to Walker (list includes the three multiple-time champions and one relay), eight went on to compete in the Olympic Games, including three Olympic medalists.
2003 Indoor Season Recap: The 2003 indoor season will long be remembered as one of the most exciting in UW history, with school records, American records, and top-10 world marks falling left and right. In all, eight school records were set during the team's five weeks of competition at Dempsey Indoor, including a pair of records by Courtney Inman in the 800m and mile runs. At the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, Inman was a top-10 finisher in the mile, Jeremy Park earned All-American honors at 3,000 meters, and pole vaulter Brad Walker won his first NCAA title, crushing the competition by nine inches. Walker's mark of 19 feet, 0 1/4 inch was three inches beyond the Pac-10 record, and tied for third in the world during the 2003 indoor season. In fact, a glance at the 2003 IAAF World Rankings reveals dozens of marks set on the Dempsey Indoor track. As many as 2,500 spectators packed the facility each week, creating a highly-charged atmosphere that attracted such luminaries as two-time Olympic medalist John Godina, and fellow Olympians Seilala Sua, Bolota Asmeron, Michael Stember and Ja'Warren Hooker. The Huskies also didn't discriminate by age, as a pair of Masters' Division athletes, Tony Young and Harold Morioka, combined for three all-time U.S.-best marks, and the Northwest's top preps filled the facility on three weekends.
Dempsey Indoor: The 80,000-square foot home of Husky indoor track opened in September of 2001 to rave reviews. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. Already in 2003, Dempsey Indoor has played host to five former Olympians and witnessed five top-10 world marks, three top all-time U.S. marks (though not officially records), eight UW indoor school records and dozens of NCAA-qualifying marks. In addition to its competitive use, the building is utilized as an indoor practice facility for Washington's football, softball, baseball and men's and women's soccer teams, and is considered one of the premier indoor facilities on the West Coast. The facility is named for California businessman Neal Dempsey, a 1964 Washington graduate. Dempsey and his wife, Janet, made the largest individual contribution ever to the University in January of 2001. The Dempseys announced a gift of $10 million to be split between the School of Business' 'Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation' and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Dempsey Indoor Draws World's Best: If Washington's home indoor meets this season seemed to shimmer in gold, it was likely due to the numerous current and former Olympians who highlighted the fields at Dempsey Indoor. The Feb. 1 Husky Invitational featured four Olympic athletes, including former Husky and 2000 U.S. Olympian Ja'Warren Hooker, who set a facility record in the 60m dash with a time of 6.63 seconds. Hooker was joined by fellow U.S. Olympians John Godina and Seilala Sua, and distance runner Bolota Asmeron, who competed in 2000 for his native Eritrea. Godina, a two-time Olympic medalist, heaved the shot 65-6 3/4 in a winning effort, while Sua took the women's shot with a throw of 56-8, besting her own facility record. Asmeron, however, highlighted the competition, clocking the world's sixth-fastest indoor 3,000-meter time of the 2003 season with a mark of 7:49.68 which, at the time it was run, was the world's best this season. Also, 2000 Olympian Michael Stember set a facility record in the mile at the UW Invitational.