Cross Country Travels to Pac-10 Championships

Oct. 27, 2004

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On the Course: Postseason action begins Saturday as Washington's cross country squads head to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park for the 2004 Pac-10 Championships. Washington's women enter the meet riding a string of 15-consecutive top-five conference placings dating back to 1989, and have placed an individual runner among the top-10 every year since 1994. Those streaks will both be tested by a loaded field which includes three of the nation's top-30 teams, including a top-ranked Stanford team seeking its ninth-straight conference crown. The 34th-ranked Husky men, meanwhile, will be challenged by top-10 ranked opponents in No. 2 Stanford and No, 9 Arizona State, as well as No. 28 Oregon, as they seek a fifth-straight top-five effort. Notably, just two of the seven UW runners from last year's third-place Pac-10 squad will run on Saturday, while the women return four of their top-seven from 2003.

Pac-10 Championships Meet Schedule (All Times Pacific)
Women's 6,000m Race: 9:30 a.m.
Men's 8,000m Race: 10:30 a.m.

Expected to Run:Following is a list of those UW runners making the trip to Berkeley, Calif., for Saturday's Pac-10 Championships:

Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Camille Connelly, Sr., Marysville, Wash. (Marysville-Pilchuck)
Lindsey Egerdahl, Sr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn)
Marie Foushee, So., Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue)
Jamie Gibbs, Sr., Arvada, Colo. (Arvada West)
Kira Harrison, So., Bellingham, Wash. (Meridian)
Laura Halverson, Sr., Mica, Wash. (Freeman)
Meghan Lawrence, Sr., Bellingham, Wash. (Freeman)
Trisha Rasmussen, Fr., Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge)
Dallon Williams, So., Turlock, Calif. (Turlock)
Angela Wishaar, Sr., Shoreline, Wash. (Shorewood)

Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Travis Boyd, So., Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak)
Preston Brashers, Sr., N. Bonneville, Wash. (Kamiak)
Andy Fader, Jr., Everett, Wash. (Cascade)
Jon Hickey, So., Richland, Wash. (Hanford)
Caleb Knox, Fr., Mill Creek, Wash. (Jackson)
Brad Liber, RFr., San Diego, Calif. (University City)
Mark Mandi, Jr., Everett, Wash. (Mariner)
Jeremy Mineau, Fr., Menlo Park, Calif. (Menlo-Atherton)
Matt Owen, So., Yakima, Wash. (East Valley)
James Wilson, Fr., Yakima, Wash. (East Valley)

Last Year at Pac-10s: Washington's 27th-ranked men's team posted its highest Pac-10 finish in 10 years in Pullman, Wash., in 2003, upsetting two teams ranked among the nation's top-15 en route to a third place overall effort. Stanford captured its fourth-straight Pac-10 men's title with 23 points, while No. 18 nipped the UW by two points, 91-93, for second. Senior Eric Garner was the Huskies' top finisher in 10th, while sophomore Mark Mandi earned a 15th-place finish. Stanford also grabbed the title on the women's side, its eighth-straight, while the Husky women -- led by the ninth-place effort of sophomore Ingvill Makestad, placed fourth.

Pac-10 History: Given Washington's long history of distance-running success, it's no surprise that both UW teams boast outstanding records in Pac-10 Championships competition. The Husky women have been particularly effective in their 18 years of Conference competition, capturing one Pac-10 title and boasting a string of 15-consecutive top-five finishes. That streak, however, is somewhat misleading -- in fact, Washington has finished in the top three at the Pac-10 meet in 10 of those 15 years, and has only finished as low as fifth twice since 1988. Just as remarkable is the team's individual success at Pac-10s, where a UW woman has placed among the top-10 finishers every year since 1988. That streak includes a stretch of seven-straight years, -- dating back to 1997 -- that the Huskies have been led at the meet by a different runner, a streak which will be extended to eight on Saturday given the departure of Norweigian Ingvill Makestad, last year's Husky leader and the eighth-place Pac-10 finisher.

Rankings Report: It's deja vu for the Husky women this week, who were dropped from the FinishLynx Women's Cross Country Rankings after a 16th-place finish at the Oct. 16 Pre-National Meet. That's the exact scenario which confronted the Huskies entering the 2003 Pac-10 meet, at which a strong fourth-place effort lifted the UW back into the rankings the following week. Defending NCAA champion Stanford solidified its hold on No. 1, sweeping all 13 first-place votes in the current ranking for a perfect score of 390 points, while NCAA runner-up Providence claimed second with 376. The UW men, meanwhile, ranked as high as No. 22 earlier in the season, enter the Pac-10 meet 34th overall with 11 points, fourth-best among Pac-10 schools. Wisconsin remained No. 1 with 12 first-place votes and 418 points, ahead of Stanford (401) and Colorado (388).

Streaking The Field: When Washington's women were named to the NCAA Championships field last November, 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 seven seasons. Senior co-captain Lindsey Egerdahl, the team's leader at the NCAAs last season, has a chance to end that streak-within-a-streak in 2004, and in the process become the first Husky since Tara Carlson in 1994-95 to lead the UW at nationals in two -straight years. Following is a list of the 10 longest active streaks of NCAA Championships appearances by women's teams:

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

Rare Double: Washington's cross country teams achieved a rare feat last season, placing both teams into the field of 31 for the NCAA Championships for just the third time in UW history. The feat had not been accomplished since the 1989 NCAA Championships in Annapolis, Md., at which Al Hjort led the UW men to a fourth-place team finish, the best ever by a Husky men's or women's cross country or track and field team. The only other season in which both Washington's 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.

From Big Macs to Big Time: Washington's Mark Mandi has come a long way from his days flipping burgers at McDonald's in Everett. Just three years after barely cracking the top-50 at the state cross country championships his senior year, Mandi ran 67th at the 2003 NCAA Championships, leading the Huskies to a 21st-place finish. The junior then proved it was no fluke with a win at last month's Sundodger Invitational -- his first cross country win at any level, and the first win by a Husky men's runner at the meet since 1993. Mandi did not begin running cross country until his junior year at Mariner, and admits to idolizing the prep runners who patronized the Everett McDonald's where he once worked. Mandi enrolled at Washington as a student before earning the chance to walk on to the Husky squad in the fall of 2001 and, after redshirting his first season at Washington, ran in the Huskies' top-seven in every race the following fall. He was again among the team's top-five runners at every meet in 2003, and has led the team both times he has taken to the course so far in 2004. Also a force at 10,000 meters on the track, Mandi boasts the seventh-fastest 10,000-meter PR in school history, and was the 10th-place finisher in the event at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships.

Leading From the Front: With no seniors on the UW's women's squad in 2003, head coach Greg Metcalf challenged junior Lindsey Egerdahl to be the team's leader. The Auburn, Wash., native did not back down, leading UW to 19th at the NCAA meet while finishing tops on the squad, in 85th place. Metcalf has placed the reins in Egerdahl's hands again in 2004, and for good reason. Since arriving at UW in 2001, the Auburn High School alum has soared up the all-time rankings, with a best mark of 4:22.38 for 1,500m that is the UW's seventh-fastest all-time. After being left out of all varsity races in 2001, Egerdahl ran third at the 2002 Sundodger Invite and never looked back, placing 14th overall at the 2002 Pac-10 meet and 20th at the NCAA Regional, before taking second on the squad at the NCAAs. Last year, Egerdahl went to the front when it counted, leading all UW finishers at the Notre Dame, Pre-National and NCAA meets. When she returns to the track in the spring, Egerdahl will be seeking to break into the upper echelon of the region's 1,500-meter competitors, after consecutive seventh-place Pac-10, and sixth-place Regional finishes in each of the past two seasons.

Who's That Girl?: That was the question on the lips of many Husky fans when senior Meghan Lawrence, previously unlisted on any UW roster, ran No. 1 for Washington at the season-opening Emerald City Invitational. A fifth-year senior at UW, Lawrence -- who had never before competed in cross country -- walked on to the squad just a week prior to the Emerald City meet, and earned official NCAA clearance mere hours before the race. Lawrence's team-best seventh-place finish at Emerald City and impressive work in training earned the Bellingham, Wash., native a seat on the plane to Pre-Nationals, where she ran 22:29 in the open race, faster than all but four of the Husky seven who earned a spot in the invitational competition. As a prep, Lawrence competed four years for Meridian High School's track and cross country teams, where she was a teammate of current Husky Kira Harrison. Lawrence continued running as a hobby after high school, participating in the Skagit Flats Marathon and the Seattle Marathon, before making the decision this summer to try collegiate cross country.

Role Reversal: The faces of Washington's 2003 and 2004 women's squad may not have changed significantly, but the roles certainly have. Last year's team boasted five freshmen and nary a single senior, with juniors Lindsey Egerdahl and Kathryn Touran the only members of the team's NCAA contingent with at least one full year of experience. For the men, the story could hardly have been more opposite. Four seniors formed the core of a men's squad that reached its first NCAA Championships since 1993, while only one freshman, Auburn's Carl Moe, broke into the team's top seven. A year later, and it's the men who fins themselves without a senior in the top-seven, and with four freshmen on the travel squad for the Pac-10 meet, while the women boast an abundance of senior leaders. Six women's seniors will be among the 10 travelling this weekend to the Pac-10 Championships, while just one, Phoenix native Trisha Rasmussen, has made the travel squad this season. The two teams can only hope the 2003/2004 similarities continue through the NCAA Championships -- both squads earned top-25 finishes at the 2003 NCAA meet, with the senior-laden men's squad placing 21st and the seniorless women earning 19th overall.

Injury Impact: If the Huskies are to take both teams back to the NCAA meet in 2004, it's going to be without some runners expected to fill key roles. Most significant for the men are injuries to sophomores Carl Moe and Mike Sayenko, both key contributors to the team's 21st-place NCAA finish in 2003. Sayenko, who was struck by a car in July, could return for next month's NCAA West Regional, while Moe's return from a spring leg injury remains undetermined. Two expected to fill their roles, freshman prep All-American Tom Wyatt and redshirt freshman Adam Shimer, have also been sidelined, with neither expected to compete in 2004. The women, who were to return six of their top seven from the 19th-place NCAA squad, have been equally affected by injuries, most notably those to sophomore Amy Lia, the team's No. 3 runner in 2003, and sophomore Alison Tubbs, who is out indefinitely for the second time in three years.

Captains: Senior Lindsey Egerdahl, who led the Huskies to 19th at the NCAA meet last season, returns as co-captain in 2004, joined by first-time captain and fellow senior Laura Halverson. For the men, juniors Mark Mandi and Andy Fader -- the most veteran returnees from the team's 21st-place NCAA Championships squad of a year ago -- will attempt to build upon their NCAA experiences to lead a young Husky squad. Both juniors will be serving their first-career terms as captains in 2004.

Meet the Coaches: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his third year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his eighth year overall at the University. In seven seasons at Washington, Metcalf has guided the women's cross-country team to seven-straight NCAA appearances, and led the UW men to their first NCAA appearance since 1993. Metcalf has coached nine All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 65 NCAA qualifiers and 13 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, the UW's school-record holder at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters, and Kelly (MacDonald) Strong, a five-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 Champion at Arizona State.

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