Husky Women on Familiar Ground at NCAA Championships

Nov. 18, 2004

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On the Course: Washington's 30th-ranked women's cross country team will make its eighth-consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Monday, the nation's sixth-longest streak of its kind. Washington will be making its 15th NCAA appearance all-time, with a best team finish of ninth in 1998. While only three runners return from the seven which carried Washington to 19th place at the 2003 NCAA meet, all eight boast experience on the LaVerne Gibson Course, having each been among the 10 UW runners at October's Pre-National Meet in Terre Haute. In addition, senior co-captains Lindsey Egerdahl and Laura Halverson were both sophomores on a 2002 UW squad which placed 31st on this course at the 2002 NCAA Championships. Racing on Monday begins with the women's 6,000-meter Championship at 11 a.m. Eastern time, with the men's 10K to follow.

NCAA Championships Meet Schedule (All Times Pacific)
Women's 6,000m Race: 8:00 a.m.
Men's 10,000m Race: 9:15 a.m.

Expected to Run: Following is a list of those UW runners making the trip to Terre Haute, Ind., for Monday's NCAA Championships. The list includes eight runners, of which seven will compete, with one to serve as an alternate:

Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Lindsey Egerdahl, Sr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn)
Marie Foushee, So., Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue)
Laura Halverson, Sr., Mica, Wash. (Freeman)
Kira Harrison, So., Bellingham Wash. (Meridian)
Meghan Lawrence, Sr., Bellingham, Wash. (Freeman)
Trish Rasmussen, Fr., Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge)
Dallon Williams, So., Turlock, Calif. (Turlock)
Angela Wishaar, Sr., Shoreline, Wash. (Shorewood)

2004 NCAA Preview: Familiar faces will abound on the course Monday for Washington, which was one of six teams to qualify for the NCAA meet from a loaded West region that included top-ranked Stanford, and five of the nation's top-30 teams. The Pac-10 and West Regional champion Cardinal seek a second-straight NCAA women's crown, with the most likely upset bid to come from Northeast Regional champion Providence, the third-place NCAA squad a year ago. On the men's side, the defending champion Cardinal are looking up in the rankings at No. 1 Wisconsin, who have dominated in 2004 after a runner-up finish last season. Stanford, however, has history on its side, having posted victories in each of its last two visits to Terre Haute, including the 2002 NCAA Championships, and the 2004 Pre-National Meet.

How They Got Here: Eighteen of the 31 teams in each the men's and women's fields earned automatic berths to the 2004 NCAA Championships by placing among the top-two teams at one of nine regional championships nationwide on Nov. 13. The remaining 13 teams in each field, including the Washington women, were selected at-large on Nov. 14, based upon performances at the regional and other major meets throughout the season. In addition, the top-four finishing individuals at each regional from non-qualifying teams were addedto the meet at-large, thus completing the NCAA Championships field of 255 athletes.

NCAA Championships on TV: The 2004 NCAA Cross Country Championships will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis by Fox Sports Net. For viewers in the Pacific Northwest, the one-hour broadcast will air on Fox Sports Northwest at 3 p.m. Pacific time on Mon., Jan. 10. For a list of nationwide broadcast times for all NCAA Championship events, visit www.ncaasports.com/broadcast/tv.

Meet Results: Complete results will be posted immediately following the race to www.ncaasports.com, with a full recap of UW action, including results and quotes, to follow shortly thereafter at GoHuskies.com.

Rankings Report: Despite clinching their eighth-straight NCAA Championships berth on Sunday after a fifth-place West Regional finish, Washington's women dropped five spots to No. 30 in Tuesday's FinishLynx Women's Cross Country Rankings, the final rankings to be released in the 2004 season. The Huskies entered last week's NCAA West Regional with a No. 25 national ranking, fourth-best in the region, but were upset by unranked Idaho, who claimed the Huskies' spot at No. 25 this week. Defending NCAA champion Stanford completed its wire-to-wire run at No. 1 in 2004, sweeping all 13 first-place votes for a 390-point total, well ahead of No. 2 Providence (371), and No. 3 Colorado (364). On the men's side, it was Wisconsin remaining at No. 1 all season in the MONDO Men's Cross Country Rankings, despite surrendering two of the 14 total first-place votes to runner-up Arkansas. Defending NCAA champs Stanford were third.

Streaking The Field: Washington may have dropped in the national rankings this week, but it moved up on the list of longest active NCAA streaks. While the Huskies received their eighth-consecutive NCAA bid in 2004, Georgetown's national-best streak of 16 straight NCAA appearances was snapped when the Hoyas were not invited to compete in Terre Haute. During the Huskies' streak, now the sixth-longest of its kind in the nation, 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 the previous 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 longest active streaks of NCAA Championships appearances by women's teams:

Team, Streak, Year Began
1. Brigham Young, 16 years, 1989
1. Providence, 16 years, 1989
3. Colorado, 13 years, 1992
4. Stanford, 12 years, 1993
5. North Carolina State, 10 years, 1995
6. Washington, 8 years, 1997
7. North Carolina, 7 years, 1998
7. Villanova, 7 years, 1998
7. Arizona State, 7 years, 1998

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. Flash forward to 2004, where four seniors -- Egerdahl, Laura Halverson, Angela Wishaar and Meghan Lawrence -- have formed the nucleus of a Husky squad that has only suited up one freshman all year. A reliance on veteran leadership means the Huskies travel to this week's NCAA meet with plenty of big-meet experience. Four Huskies will run Monday in at least their second NCAA Championships, a significant turnaround from a 2003 season in which six of Washington's seven runners at NCAAs were making their national-meet debuts.

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. Lawrence moved up to No. 5 on the squad at the Pac-10 Championships, and ran fourth for UW at last weekend's NCAA West Regional. Lawrence competed in track and field at Bellingham's Meridian High School, but ran only as a hobby during her first four years at Washington. Only after a particularly fast run on a treadmill this summer did Lawrence consider joining the UW squad, with a strong performance at the team's fall time trial earning the fifth-year senior a roster spot. A prep teammate of sophomore Kira Harrison, Lawrence does boast experience in long-distance racing, having completed both the Skagit Flats Marathon and the Seattle Marathon.

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 Huskies' all-time rankings, with a best mark of 4:22.38 for 1,500 meters 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.

Last Year at the NCAA Championships: A season that began with striking contrasts between UW's senior-less women's squad and senior-laden men's squad ended in harmony in 2003, with both teams earning top-21 finishes at the NCAA Championships in Waterloo, Iowa. The double marked the third time Washington qualified both of its squads for NCAA competition in the same season, and the first time since 1989. The Husky women rode four freshmen to their seventh-straight NCAA Championships, with junior captain Lindsey Egerdahl and sophomore Ingvill Makestad leading a 19th-place team effort. For the men, the 21st-place run at nationals, led by sophomore Mark Mandi's 67th-place individual effort, was the payoff for a decade of frustration, during which the Huskies failed to qualify for NCAA competition from 1993-2003. Stanford swept team titles, while North Carolina's Shalane Flanagan and Colorado's Dathan Ritzenhein earned the individual crowns.

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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