Huskies Open 2004 With Title Sweep at Emerald City Invitational

Sept. 11, 2004

SEATTLE - Led by a fifth-year senior who walked on just seven days ago and was cleared to compete mere hours before the race, Washington's women's cross country team captured its second-consecutive Emerald City Invitational title Saturday, edging Division-I challenger Eastern Washington in the season-opener for both teams at North Seattle's Woodland Park. The Washington women scored 22 points to best the Eagles' 35, while the UW men made it a Husky sweep with a 17-point total, well below Eastern's 48.

The team-title sweep was the second in a row for Washington, which won team and individual titles in both races at last year's Emerald City Invite, hosted annually by Seattle University,

For the second -consecutive season at the Emerald City meet, Division-I and Division-II teams were run together, but scored separately. Seattle Pacific's Karen Dickerson crossed the line first in the women's 5,000-meter race, finishing 16 seconds ahead of the field in 18 minutes, 17 seconds. The story of the day, however, belonged to fifth-year UW senior Meghan Lawrence, who made her collegiate debut with a seventh-place finish, leading all Husky finishers in 18:51.

A graduate of Bellingham's Meridian High School, Lawrence approached UW coaches just a week ago to request a chance to walk on, and was offered a spot on the team after a successful time trial. It was not until Friday night, however, that all the necessary paperwork was completed, and official clearance was given by the University for Lawrence to compete.

'How about that?' said third-year head coach Greg Metcalf. 'We didn't know anything about her a week ago, and here she is leading our team. She's been training like mad on her own these last few years, and it shows. That was fun to watch today.'

Lawrence was one of just eight Huskies on the course Saturday, a contingent that included none of the six returning Huskies from the team that took 19th place at last year's NCAA Championships. Just behind Lawrence, in ninth overall (third in the Division-I scoring), was senior Jamie Gibbs, while junior Laura Hodgson took 12th (fourth in Division-I). Redshirt freshman Kelsey McCallum and junior Karen Schwager rounded out the scoring places for the Huskies, taking 18th (6th) and 19th (7th) overall.

Lawrence's wasn't the only new face to lead Washington on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Adam Shimer came just 14 seconds shy of becoming the second-straight UW frosh to capture the Emerald City crown, placing second to unattached competitor Angelo Baca, who won in 26:27. Shimer -- the 18th-place finisher at last year's U.S. Junior Cross Country Nationals -- covered the 6,000-meter course in 26:41 to lead a pack of five Huskies among the first eight finishers.

Like the women, Washington's men's lineup was without any of its returning runners from its 21st-place NCAA Championships squad of a year ago. In their absence, senior Preston Brashers stepped up to place third, in 26:50, while sophomore Kevin Peters was fourth in 26:55. Also scoring for the Huskies were junior Chris Fayant, ninth in 27:16, and senior Matt Franck, 14th in 27:44.

'Adam Shimer has really put in a great year of training,' Metcalf said. 'I was excited to see how that would translate come race day, and I certainly wasn't disappointed today. There are spots in our top-seven up for grabs right now; all of these guys are showing that they're hungry to go out and earn one.'

Typically a coming-out party for Washington's freshman class, only four UW frosh competed Saturday, and all ran unattached. That didn't slow Mill Creek's Caleb Knox at all, however -- the freshman from Jackson High School defeated all but three of his UW teammates Saturday, placing fifth overall in 26:59. Knox ran neck-and-neck with fellow UW frosh James Wilson of East Valley High School in Yakima; Wilson's seventh-place finish, in 27:03, would have placed him fifth among UW runners on the day, had he and Knox been competing in Husky uniforms.

Both Husky women's freshmen competed unattached as well, with Phoenix, Ariz., native Trisha Rasmussen finishing just four seconds behind UW leader Lawrence in eighth, in 18:55. Nathan Hale alum Olivia Garrow captured the 13th overall spot in 19:52, faster than all but three of her UW teammates.

Washington will return to course Saturday for the 13th-annual Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park in West Seattle, where both squads will attempt to defend their team titles against Washington State, Idaho and other top collegiate squads.

For complete results of the 2004 Emerald City Invitational, visit athletics.seattleu.edu.

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