Cross Country Sets Sights on Waterloo and NCAA Championships
Nov. 19, 2003
On the Course: For the first time since 1989, and just the third time in school history, Washington will send both its men's and women's squads to the NCAA Championships, hosted Nov. 24 by Northern Iowa University in Waterloo, Iowa. The Husky women, ranked 22nd nationally, are making their seventh-straight appearance at the national meet, the seventh-longest active streak of any NCAA women's team. Washington's men, meanwhile, will be making their first NCAA Championships appearance since the 1993 season, when the team ran eighth overall in Bethlehem, Pa.Both teams were announced as at-large selections to the meet after impressive runs at last weekend's NCAA West Regional. The Husky women upset 11th-ranked Arizona State for third - their best regional finish since 1999 - while the UW men knocked off 12th-ranked Oregon for fourth, their best finish since 1994.
NCAA Championships Meet Schedule (All Times Pacific)
Men's 10,000m Race: 9:00 a.m
Women's 6,000m Race: 10:15 a.m.
Expected to Run: Following is a list of those UW runners likely to make the trip to Waterloo, Iowa, for Saturday's NCAA Championships. Interestingly, of the eight UW women listed below, seven will be making their first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships, with only Egerdahl returning from last year's 31st-place squad: Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Camille Connelly, Jr., Marysville, Wash. (Marysville-Pilchuk)
Lindsey Egerdahl, Jr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn)
Marie Foushee, Fr., Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue)
Amy Lia, Fr., Bothell, Wash. (Bothell)
Ingvill Makestad, Jr., Odda, Norway (Odda Vidagaerde Skole)
Brianna McLeod, Fr., Jenks, Okla. (Jenks)
Kathryn Touran, Jr., Petoskey, Mich. (Petoskey)
Dallon Williams, Fr., Turlock, Calif. (Turlock)
Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Todd Arnold, Sr., Westport, Wash. (Ocosta)
Andy Fader, So., Everett, Wash. (Cascade)
Eric Garner, Sr., Kelso, Wash. (Kelso)
Ben Koss, Sr., Olympia, Wash. (Capitol)
Mark Mandi, So., Everett, Wash. (Mariner)
Carl Moe, Fr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn-Riverside)
John Russell, Sr., Mica, Wash. (Freeman)
Mike Sayenko, RFr., Bellevue, Wash. (Sammamish)
Meet Results: Results of the 2003 NCAA Championships will be posted at www.ncaasports.com immediately following the races. A full recap of Husky action will be posted to www.gohuskies.com no later than 2 p.m. PDT.
NCAA Championships on TV: The 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis by Fox Sports Net. In the Seattle area, Fox Sports Northwest will be replaying the championships twice, first on Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. Pacific, and again on Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. Pacific time. For listings in your area, contact Washington media relations assistant Brian Beaky at the address on the following page.
NCAA Championships Selection Process: Thirty-one teams qualified for the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships, including 18 automatic and 13 provisional qualififers. Automatic bids were awarded to the top-two finishing teams in each of the nine NCAA Regional Championships, while provisional bids, awarded Nov. 17, were based largely upon past performances at regional, conference and NCAA competitions. Additionally, 38 individuals from non-qualifying teams were invited to the NCAA meet based upon their finishes at this year's regional competitions, thus filling out the field of 255 athletes that will toe the line in Waterloo, Iowa on Nov. 24.
Rare Double: Washington's cross country teams acheived a rare feat Monday, placing both teams into the field of 31 for the NCAA Championships for just the third time in school history. The feat has not been accomplished since the 1989 NCAA Championships in Annapolis, Md., at which Al Hjort led the Husky men to a fourth-place team finish, the best ever by a UW men's or women's cross country or track and field team. The only other season in which both the UW men's and women's programs have qualified for national cross country competition was in 1977, prior to women's cross country's inclusion into the NCAA in 1981. Washington's women placed 12th that season at the AIAW National Championships, while the Husky men took 13th at the NCAA meet in Spokane, Wash.
Streaking The Field: When Washington's women were named to the NCAA Championships field on Monday, the nation's seventh-longest streak of consecutive NCAA bids was preserved. During the streak, the UW women have earned an automatic bid just one time - in 1999 - having been named a provisional qualifier on each of the other occasions. Three times over those seven years the Huskies have finished among the top-14 teams in the country, including an all-time best ninth-place finish in 1998. Interestingly, Washington has been led at the NCAA meet by a different runner in each of the streak's six seasons, a string guaranteed to continue with the graduation of last year's leader, Courtney Inman. Following is a list of the 10 longest active streaks of NCAA Championships appearances by women's teams. Not included is Arkansas, whose 13-year streak came to an end this season when they were not extended an at-large invitation:
Team, Streak, Year Began
1. Georgetown, 16 years, 1988
2. Brigham Young, 15 years, 1989
2.Providence, 15 years, 1989
4. Colorado, 12 years, 1992
5. Stanford, 11 years, 1993
6. North Carolina State, 9 years, 1995
7. Washington, 7 years, 1997
8. North Carolina, 6 years, 1998
8. Villanova, 6 years, 1998
8. Arizona State, 6 years, 1998
Rankings Report: For the first time since October of 2001, Washington simultaneously put both its men's and women's teams into the top-25 this week, with each squad earning a No. 22 national ranking. Buoyed by a third-place finish at last weekend's NCAA West Regional Championships, Washington's women shot up 15 places in the FinishLynx Women's Cross Country Rankings, improveing to 22nd overall with 148 points - 104 more than their total in the previous ranking, released Nov. 4. Stanford surrendered the No. 1 ranking for the first time in over a month, as BYU surged past the Cardinal with 386 points and 12 first-place votes. Stanford did, however, manage to hold onto its No. 1 ranking in the MONDO Men's Cross Country Rankings, earning 15 of 16 first-place votes and 479 points to hold off Wisconsin, second with one first-place vote and 464 points. Washington's men used a strong fourth-place regional finish to earn 128 points and remain among the top-25 at No. 22, down two spots from Nov. 4.
Last Year at the NCAA Championships: A 24th-ranked UW women's team took 31st at last year's NCAA Championships, marking just the second time in Washington's 13 national championships appearances that the Huskies placed outside the top-15. Senior Courtney Inman became the sixth different runner to lead the Huskies at the NCAA meet in the last six years, clocking a time of 21:02 to place 73rd in the 6,000-meter women's race. Inman was followed by then-sophomore Lindsey Egerdahl, who took 156th in her NCAA Championships debut, and is the only Husky from last year's seven UW finishers returning to the meet this season.
Dawg Pack: For years, Washington's men's cross country team has been limited by an inability to run together at the front of the pack. If last week's NCAA West Regional Championships are an indication, however, that problem appears to be in the past. In placing fourth at the regional to earn an at-large NCAA bid, Washington's No. 1 and No. 5 finishers crossed the line just 21 seconds apart, second only to the unheard-of 15-second 1-to-5 interval recorded by regional champ Stanford. By comparison, second-place regional finisher Cal Poly logged a 54-second interval, while third-place Arizona's stood at 1:25. As an aside, Washington posted a 36-second interval earlier this season at the Pre-National Meet, on the same Irv Warren Golf Course as Monday's NCAA Championships.
Peaking in the Postseason: Washington's cross country teams have been at their best so far in the 2003 postseason, with each team's top performances of the year coming at the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships. The Husky men sent notice that they would be a team to reckon with in the postseason with a third-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships in Pullman, Wash., the team's top conference finish since 1994. The Huskies upset top-15 teams Arizona and Arizona State, and came just two points shy of upsetting Oregon for second. At the regional the following week, Washington ran fourth overall - ahead of 12th-ranked Oregon - an outstanding team performance led by senior Eric Garner, who earned All-Region honors with a 21st-place finish.. The Husky women, meanwhile, have been equally impressive in the cold November weather. At the Pac-10 meet, the team put it all together for the first time all season to earn fourth, before exploding into third at the regional, ahead of No. 11 Arizona State and No. 23 UCSB. Junior transfer Ingvill Makestad, who placed fifth, was one of four UW women to earn All-Region honors, including 13th-place finisher Lindsey Egerdahl, 20th-place finisher Amy Lia and 26th-place runner Dallon Williams. The team's top-seven at the regional featured three freshmen and Makestad, who was running in just her third-career cross country competition.
Garnering Acclaim: When hunting for breaking news, it can be easy to overlook those for whom success is routine. Eric Garner has been so succesful over the past two seasons - having led Washington's men at all but one cross country competition since the start of the 2002 season - that his impressive results are too often taken for granted. All the senior has done over the past two years is to ensure that his name will come up in any future discussion of Washington's legendary distance-running tradition. A graduate of Kelso (Wash.) High School, Garner burst onto the scene in 2002 with a school-record 3:58.93 mile at Dempsey Indoor, the first four-minute ever by a Husky on Washington soil. Garner took 13th in the mile that season at the NCAA Indoor meet, and returned in 2003 to become the UW's most prolific postseason qualifier, boasting NCAA Regional marks at 800-, 1,500-, and 5,000 meters. Garner placed third in the 1,500 meters at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, and earned an NCAA berth with a fourth-place finish in the event at the Regional. With one full track season remaining, Garner already owns all-time UW indoor marks in the mile and distance medley relay, ranks second in the indoor 3,000 meters, and is sixth all-time at 1,500 meters..
Leading From the Front: With no seniors on Washington's women's cross country squad in 2002, head coach Greg Metcalf challenged junior Lindsey Egerdahl to be the team's competitive leader. The Auburn, Wash., native has not backed down, leading all UW finishers at the prestigious Notre Dame Invitational and the Pre-National Meet. Metcalf had good reason to suspect that Egerdahl was the right choice. Since arriving at Washington in 2001, Egerdahl has soared up the UW rankings, with a best mark of 4:23.87 for 1,500 meters that is the ninth-fastest ever by a Husky woman. After being left out of all varsity races in 2001 and running sixth on the squad at the 2002 season-opening Emerald City Invitational, Egerdahl ran third at the 2002 Sundodger Invitational and never looked back, placing among the top-three UW finishers at every remaining varsity competition. The sophomore was key to the team's run to a sixth-straight NCAA Championships appearance, placing 14th overall at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships and 20th at the NCAA West Regional, before taking second on the squad at the NCAA meet. When she returns to the track in the spring, Egerdahl will be seeking to improve upon a seventh-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the Pac-10 Championships, and sixth-place finish in the event at the NCAA Regional.
Scandinavian Invasion: If you happened to be at the Norweigian Track and Field Championships this summer, you may recognize some of the new faces on the Husky roster this season. Washington boasts the odd coincidence of having both of Norway's reigning 800-meter champions competing in purple and gold this fall, including women's champ Ingvill Makestad and men's champ Stig Ellingson. Makestad, a junior, followed up her 800-meter national title this summer with a fourth-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the Under-23 European Championships in Poland, clocking a career-best time of 4:13.58. That time, if duplicated, would be the third-best in UW history, behind only Courtney Inman and Regina Joyce. Both Makestad and Ellingson, a native of Oslo, have competed for several years on the European amateur circuit, and will have two years of collegiate eligibility remaining. Makestad has been outsanding so far in competition for Washington, taking ninth at the Pac-10 Championships and fifth at the NCAA West Regional, tops among UW runners at both events. Ironically, at the West Regional in Portland, Makestad placed just a split-second ahead of USC's Iryna Vaschuk, the same athlete who finished behind Makestad in this year's Norweigian 1,500-meter final.
Seniors (Or Lack Thereof): When talking about the keys to Washington's men's and women's cross-country seasons, it all comes down to seniors. The Husky men, seeking their first NCAA bid since 1994, boast four seniors among their top seven, while the UW women, riding a streak of six-straight NCAA Championships appearances, have nary a senior on their 2003 roster. The group of returning seniors for the UW men is impressive: Eric Garner led all UW finishers at four of five meets last season, while Ben Koss was the leader at the team's lone 10K competition. John Russell won the Emerald City Invitational in 2000, while Russell and Todd Arnold are each coming off of NCAA appearances on the track. On the women's team, departing seniors Kate Bradshaw, Courtney Inman and Kate Spigel leave behind a void of leadership that juniors Chessa Adsit-Morris, Camille Connelly, Lindsey Egerdahl, Jamie Gibbs, Laura Halverson, and Kathryn Touran have been asked to fill.
Freshmen Gems: Perhaps it's fitting that Washington debuted its freshman class at the Sept. 6 Emerald City Invitational, because the newcomers certainly proved themselves jewels. With a victory in her UW debut, Brianna McLeod became just the third true freshman ever to win a race at Washington, while redshirt freshman Travis Boyd ran away with the men's event. Prior to McLeod, the only Huskies ever to win a race in their first season at Washington were 2002 Emerald City champ Laura Hodgson and 1981 NCAA Champion Regina Joyce, who won the 1980 NCWSA Region IX Championship. A native of Jenks, Okla., McLeod earned prep All-America honors as a senior in both track and cross country, ranking as high as sixth in the nation at 3200m. Boyd, a Mukilteo (Wash.) High School grad, redshirted the 2002 cross country season at UW but was terrific on the track, clocking the 10th-fastest indoor 5000m time in UW history. The two were joined in the top-10 at the Emerald City by true freshmen Kira Harrison (8th) and Brad Liber (5th), and redshirt freshman Matt Franck (10th). Just three weeks later, freshman Amy Lia led all UW finishers with a seventh-place performance at the Sundodger Invitational, while first-year runner Carl Moe ran seventh on the men's squad. Six freshmen will be making the trip to Waterloo for the NCAA meet, including McLeod, Lia, Marie Foushee and Dallon Williams on the women's side, and Moe and redshirt freshman Mike Sayenko for the men.
Swiss Miss: While most Huskies wrapped up their cross country seasons last fall, sophomore Laura Hodgson carried hers over into the spring, first at the U.S. Junior National Championships in February, and later at the World Junior Championships in March. Joined by then-frosh Travis Boyd, Jon Hickey and Mike Sayenko at the U.S. meet in Houston, Texas, Hodgson covered the muddy 6,000-meter course in 24:10, second only to Duke's Clara Horowitz. The top-six finish earned Hodgson a trip to Lausanne, Switzerland, in March, where she led the U.S. team to a fourth-place finish at the World Junior Championships. Hodgson's 58th-place individual finish was the highest by a Husky at the junior worlds since Neil Panchen placed 26th for Great Britain in 1988, and is UW's second-best overall. A native of Spokane, Hodgson last season became the first UW freshman ever to win her debut race at Washington with a victory in the Emerald City Invitational, and excelled on the track with a top-10 all-time UW indoor mark at 5000m, and a 15th-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the Pac-10 Championships.
Captains: Seniors Todd Arnold and Ben Koss, and juniors Camille Connelly and Lindsey Egerdahl are serving as captains in 2003. The honor is the second in a row for Arnold, and the first for Koss, Connelly and Egerdahl.
Meet the Coaches: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his second year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his seventh year overall at the University. In six seasons at Washington, Metcalf has guided the women's cross-country team to six-straight NCAA appearances, including a UW-best ninth-place finish in 1998. Metcalf has coached eight All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 63 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 on the coaching staff by former All-Americans David Bazzi, Washington's school-record holder at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters, and Kelly MacDonald, a five-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 Champion at Arizona State University.