First-Ever NCAA West Regional Championships Next Up for Top-25 UW Squads
May 22, 2003
On the Track: The Huskies' 14th-ranked women's squad and 24th-ranked men's team will take a break from competition this weekend to train for the first-ever NCAA West Regional Championships, May 30-31 at Stanford. The meet, for which 30 Huskies have qualified this season, will determine the fields for the 2003 NCAA Championships, June 11-14 in Sacramento, Calif. The top five individual finishers in each event, and top three teams in relays will be awarded automatic berths to June's national meet. Those athletes not to qualify at the Regional meet still have a chance to make the NCAA meet, as roughly six individuals and five relays per event will be added from the national qualifying lists to fill the championship field.
L.A. Story: Washington's women tried to steal the show at last weekend's Pac-10 Championships, nearly doubling their point total from the 2002 conference meet while finishing sixth overall, a three-spot improvement from a year before. The Huskies' 64 points were the most by a UW women's team since 1998, and were just five points fewer than the team's total from 2001 and 2002, combined. No Husky influenced the scoring more than senior Courtney Inman, who placed third in both the 800- and 1,500-meter runs. Inman's time of 4:15.14 in the 1,500 meters was more than two seconds below the Pac-10 meet record, was the seventh-fastest in Pac-10 history, is the fastest time by a Canadian woman this year, and would have won every previous Pac-10 1,500-meter final. Her time of 2:05.97 in the 800 meters, meanwhile, was the second-fastest in UW history, and ranks third on the 2003 Canadian performance list. Also scoring in multiple events for the UW women were seniors Kate Bradshaw and Sabrina Monro, while steepler Kate Spigel lowered the school record in a fourth-place finish. Top-ranked UCLA ran away with its seventh-consecutive women's title, scoring 155 points. Stanford was second, followed by ASU, USC, Washington State, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Cal. On the men's side, senior Brad Walker brought home his second-consecutive Pac-10 title in the pole vault, but the Husky men managed just 37 points in a ninth-place finish. Performances of note included a massive personal-best in the discus for senior Mat Schwinn, who placed third, a fourth-place finish in the steeplechase by freshman Jesse Fayant, and a trio of scorers in the 1,500 meters, including Eric Garner, John Russell and Andy Fader. Host USC edged three teams for the title, scoring 139 points to hold off Stanford, Oregon and USC, each of whom finished within 16 points of the Trojans.
Pac-10 on TV: The 2003 Pac-10 Track and Field Championships will be broadcast on tape delay on Fox Sports Northwest three times over the next two weeks. The two-hour broadcast is scheduled for May 24 at 2 p.m., May 25 at 4 p.m., and May 27 at 12 p.m. Barry Tompkins will call the action, with Dwight Stones and Tom Feuer providing color commentary.
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.
Two-Time Champs: When Brad Walker cleared 18 feet, 2 1/2 inches Saturday to clinch his second-consecutive Pac-10 title, the senior from Spokane, Wash., joined javelin thrower Darryl Roberson (1988-89) and decathlete Mike Ramos (1983-84) as the only UW athletes to win consecutive conference crowns since the Pac-8 expanded to 10 teams in 1979. Prior to 1979, six Husky athletes earned consecutive conference titles, including hammer thrower Scott Neilson (1976-78), javelin throwers Duncan Atwood (1977-78), Rod Ewaliko (1975-76) and Cary Feldman (1970-71), and vaulters Kirk Bryde (1971-72) and John Cramer (1961-62). With Walker in his final year of outdoor eligibility, Neilson is guaranteed to remain for at least another three years the only Husky ever to win three-consecutive conference titles.
Pac-10 Prowess: While Washington's teams have never claimed a Pac-10 title outright, the Huskies last week extended a string of four-consecutive seasons with at least one individual titlist. Brad Walker earned the 2003 title in the pole vault, matching his finish from 2002, when both Walker and steepler Mike Hill left the conference meet with championship trophies, the third time in the last six years that the UW had at least two conference champions. The Huskies' longest-ever streak of individual champions was a seven-year run from 1974-1980, highlighted by Scott Neilson's four titles in the hammer.
Surprise Scorers: Not all of Washington's points at the Pac-10 Championships came from the Huskies' highest-ranked competitors. In fact, 15 of the 37 points scored by Husky men at the meet came from athletes ranked outside the top-10 in their respective events. Such clutch scorers included junior Todd Arnold, who went from 16th to seventh at 800 meters; sophomore Andy Fader, 15th to seventh at 1,500 meters; and senior Mat Schwinn, who entered the meet ranked 11th in the discus but achieved a massive season-best mark to finish third. Three Husky women improved their standing by nine places at the Pac-10 meet, including sophomore Lindsey Egerdahl, who went from 16th to seventh in the 1,500 meters; senior Kate Bradshaw, who placed eighth in the 5,000 meters after entering the meet ranked 17th; and redshirt freshman Carly Dockendorf, who improved from 17th to 8th in the pole vault. Other Husky scorers to overcome double-digit rankings included Cherron Davis in the shot put (from 12th to eighth) and freshman Jesse Fayant in the steeple (10th to fourth).
Senioritis: While the Huskies' surprise scorers made an impact in the final league standings, it was the team's seniors that led Washington's womens' squad to its best Pac-10 finish in five years. Forty-two of Washington's 64 points at the meet were scored by women who will not be competing in 2004, a departing corps that includes five school-record holders and one Pac-10 champion. Chief among the losses will be senior Courtney Inman, who holds Washington indoor records in the mile and 800-meter runs, and last week ran times of 2:05.97 and 4:15.14 in the 800- and 1,500 meters, respectively, at the Pac-10 Championships that are the second-fastest times in UW history. Sabrina Monro, the UW record-holder indoors in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters, will also be missed, having notched top-four finishes in both the 5K and 10K events at last week's conference meet. Steeplechase record holder Kate Spigel will forgo her fifth year of eligibility, joining 2000 Pac-10 10,000-meter champ Kate Bradshaw on the graduation podium in June. Also departing will be hammer thrower Kameko Gay and javelin star Heather Reichmann, each of whom boast school records in their events and were among the top-six finishers at the 2003 Pac-10 meet. 'Those women will be hard to replace,' says head coach Greg Metcalf, 'but they've laid the foundation upon which this program will rebuild.'
Rankings Report: Both Husky teams remained among the top-25 teams in this week's U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings, which simulate head-to-head competition between the nation's elite collegiate squads. The Husky women earned a school-record 340.09 points to climb one spot to 14th, just 54 points behind top-ranked and newly-crowned Pac-10 champion UCLA. The Bruins could only manage the No. 2 ranking on the men's side, however, as Tennessee reclaimed the lead with 374.66 points. Washington's men held strong in 24th, with a score of 328.06. Neither UW team was ranked in Tuesday's release of the Trackwire 25, which predicts team scoring at the NCAA Championships.
Monster PR of the Week: Several UW athletes took their performances to a new level at last weekend's Pac-10 Championships, including six who bettered their conference rankings by at least eight places. No Husky, however, saw his season-best improve as dramatically as senior Mat Schwinn, whose heave of 187 feet, three inches was a remarkable 15 feet beyond his season-best of 172-0, accomplished in March's season-opener. Schwinn placed third overall, scoring six points for the UW men.
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, or by winning their conference championship. 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 exceptions 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 at Stanford. The list included four spear specialists, headlined by four-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 qualified in the 5,000 meters, spearheading the most prolific NCAA-qualifying day in UW history. In all, 31 Huskies have qualified for NCAA competition, including 30 NCAA Regional and two NCAA Championships qualifiers.
Name, Event, Mark, Regional Ranking, National Ranking
Brad Walker, Pole Vault, 18-6 1/2, 1st, 1st
Mat Schwinn, Discus, 187-3, 6th, 23rd
Eric Garner, 1,500m, 3:44.37, 7th, 30th
Jeremy Park, 5,000m, 13:54.07, 7th, 17th
John Russell, 1,500m, 3:44.65, 8th, 33rd
Todd Arnold, 800m, 1:50.00, 10th (tie), 67th (tie)
Jesse Fayant, Steeplechase, 8:58.81, 12th, 51st
Jeremy Park, 1,500m, 3:46.58, 15th, 57th
Rigel Wise, Javelin, 205-9, 15th, 82nd
Eric Garner, 800m, 1:50.74, 18th, 109th
Seth Jens, Javelin, 201-6, 18th (tie), 101st (tie)
Eric Garner, 5,000m, 14:13.26, 20th, 65th
Sean Williams, 400m Dash, 47.19, 21st (tie), 95th (tie)
Juan Romero, Javelin, 201-1, 22nd, 105th
Andy Fader, 1,500m, 3:48.64, 25th, 109th
Fumi Nagahisa, Pole Vault, 16-0 3/4, 29th (tie), 102nd (tie)
Sam Roberts, Pole Vault, 16-0 3/4, 29th (tie), 102nd (tie)
Jon Hickey, 1,500m, 3:49.18, 29th, 135th
Jesse Fayant, 5,000m, 14:19.02, 30th, 101st
Andy Fader, 5,000m, 14:23.88, 36th, 143rd
Name, Event, Mark, Regional Ranking, National Ranking
Sabrina Monro*, 10,000m, 33:32.28, N/A, 9th
Courtney Inman, 1,500m, 4:15.14, 4th, 8th
Sabrina Monro, 5,000m, 15:56.90, 4th, 11th
Courtney Inman, 800m, 2:05.97, 5th, 17th
Brittiny Roberts, Triple Jump, 41-4 1/2, 5th (tie), 58th (tie)
Heather Reichmann, Javelin, 159-2, 6th, 16th
Kate Soma, Pole Vault, 13-1 1/2, 7th, 16th (tie)
Kate Bradshaw*, 10,000m, 34:43.47, N/A, 28th
Tiffany Zahn, Javelin, 155-2, 9th, 26th
Kameko Gay, Hammer, 189-9, 10th (tie), 32nd (tie)
Lindsey Egerdahl, 1,500m, 4:23.87, 13th, 43rd
Sidney Brown, Triple Jump, 40-1 1/4, 14th, 109th (tie)
Kate Spigel, Steeplechase, 10:35.31, 15th, 31st (tie)
Carly Dockendorf, Pole Vault, 12-11 1/2, 15th (tie), 31st (tie)
Sidney Brown, High Jump, 5-7, 17th (tie), 86th (tie)
Brittiny Roberts, High Jump, 5-7, 17th (tie), 86th (tie)
Cherron Davis, Shot Put, 47-9 3/4, 20th, 80th (tie)
Cambrielle Jensen, 400m Hurdles, 1:00.51, 22nd, 87th (tie)
Camille Connelly, Steeplechase, 10:52.47, 26th, 82nd
Brynne Steward, 100m Hurdles, 14.05, 27th (tie), 125th (tie)
Just Dandy, Thank You: Much of the reason for Washington's lofty rankings is the success of an outstanding quartet of individuals. Seniors Brad Walker, Courtney Inman, Sabrina Monro and Jeremy Park each earned top-12 individual rankings in this week's Trackwire Dandy Dozen, which predicts individual order of finish at the NCAA Championships. Factoring in seed marks, injury history, and past performance in major competitions, Trackwire ranks Walker No. 1 overall in the pole vault, Inman 10th in the 1,500 meters, Monro sixth in the 5,000 and third at 10,000 meters, and Park 12th in the 5K. Trackwire is wise to bank on Walker - the service ranked him No. 1 throughout the 2003 indoor season and he didn't let them down, winning the NCAA indoor title by nine inches while achieving the third-best indoor mark in the world in 2003.
World-Class Walker: When Husky senior and two-time Pac-10 champion Brad Walker cleared 18-6 in a sixth-place finish at the USA Senior Nationals 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 (Through 5/3)
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. Okert Brits, South Africa, 19-0 1/4
3. Derek Miles, United States, 19-0 1/4
3. Romain Mesnil, France, 19-0 1/4
7. Timothy Mack, United States, 18-10 1/2
8. Rens Blom, Netherlands, 18-10 1/4
8. Russ Buller, United States, 18-10 1/4
8. Aleksandr Korchmyd, Ukraine, 18-10 1/4
8. Toby Stevenson, United States, 18-10 1/4
8. Michael Stolle, Germany, 18-10 1/4
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 Washington 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 Championship meet before undergoing surgery. After redshirting the 2002 indoor season, Walker posted one of the top outdoor seasons in UW history, shattering the school's pole vault record and earning Washington'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 Senior Nationals followed. This season, Walker upped the school record again, to 19-0 1/4 with his performance at the NCAA Indoor meet, broke his own outdoor record in his first competition, and won his second-straight Pac-10 title.
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 leads all Candaian women in 2003 in the 1,500 meters, and is ranked third nationally at 800 meters, with NCAA Regional Championships qualifiying marks in both events. At last week's Pac-10 Championships, Inman took the Canadian national lead in 2003 with a time of 4:15.14 that was two seconds below her personal best, and was the seventh-fastest time in Pac-10 history. Unfortunately for Inman, the race also featured two other record-setting times, all three below the Pac-10 meet record, leaving the Husky senior third. Just two hours later, Inman rocketed up to third in the 2003 Athletics Canada Rankings in the 800 meters with a third-place time of 2:05.97, becoming in the process just the second UW woman to run the 800m in under 2:06. The Abbotsford, B.C., native was just as dominant indoors, calmly shaving five seconds off her own school record in the mile while lowering to 4:40.24 a record which stood as high as 4:48.36 barely a year ago. Inman then focused on Sarah Bolender's indoor 800-meter record of 2:11.06 and, on her first try, 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. Following are Athletics Canada's 2003 rankings for both the 800- and 1,500-meter runs:
2003 Athletics Canada 1,500-meter Rankings (through May 18)
Name, Location, Mark
1. Courtney Inman, Los Angeles, 4:15.14
2. Lauren King, Walnut, Calif., 4:16.43
3. Malindi Elmore, Palo Alto, Calif., 4:17.15
4. Carol Henry, Harrisonburg, Va., 4:19.32
5. Megan Metcalfe, Harrisonburg, Va., 4:21.37
6. Hillary Edmondson, Walnut, Calif., 4:21.92
7. Rebecca Stallwood, Harrisonburg, Va., 4:22.46
8. Tracy Robertson-Frack, Azusa, Calif., 4:26.40
9. Heather Lee, Durham, N.C., 4:28.13
10. Aimee Teteris, Houston, Tex., 4:28.88
2003 Athletics Canada 800-meter Rankings (through May 18)
Name, Location, Mark
1. Diane Cummins, Karlsruhe, Ger., 2:00.66
2. Heather Hennigar, Seattle, Wash., 2:02.91
3. Courtney Inman, Los Angeles, 2:05.97
4. Jennifer Kemp, Harrisonburg, Va., 2:06.75
5. Hilary Edmondson, Madison, Wisc., 2:06.88
6. Malindi Elmore, Los Angeles, 2:07.00
7. Aimee Teteris, El Paso, Tex., 2:07.28
8. Vicky Lynch-Pounds, Palo Alto, Calif., 2:07.49
9. Julia Howard, Walnut, Calif., 2:08.72
10. Tanya Wright, Houston, Tex., 2:09.54
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, four of whom lead the team in their events and three - freshman tailback Shelton Sampson, sophomore cornerback Roc Alexander and safety James Sims- who are Pac-10 qualifiers, in the sprints and jumps, with Sampson a double-qualifier. Former Husky basketball player and school-record javelin thrower Heather Reichmann is an NCAA Regional qualifier, as is redshirt freshman gymnast Carly Dockendorf, who moved into third in school history in the pole vault last week with a mark of 12-5 1/2 in her first-ever Washington competition. Those three are joined on the UW roster by wide receivers Reggie Williams and Matt Williams, cornerbacks Matt Fountaine and Derrick Johnson, tailback Chris Singleton and former UW linebacker Will Conwell, the latter of whom is redshirting the 2003 season.
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-t