Championship Season Awaits Stanford Women
March 5, 2005
2005 Stanford Women's Track & Field Outlook
Since the arrival of Head Women's Coach, Edrick Floreal in 1999, Stanford University has risen steadily into one of the premier women's track and field teams in the United States. For the past six years, the Cardinal women have consistently finished among the top teams at the Pac-10 Conference and NCAA Championship meets. In 2004, Stanford scored a school record number of points at the Pac-10 Championships to finish runner-up for the second consecutive year. Stanford finished sixth at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the highest finish for the Cardinal since 1992 when it placed fourth.
During the 2004 Cross Country season, the Cardinal women won their ninth consecutive Pac-10 Championship crown, and sixth straight NCAA West Regional Championship.
In 2005, the Stanford women will look to continue its progression into a Pac-10 Championship and national title winning team with one of the most well balanced squads in school history. Still considered a haven for the top young middle distance and distance runners in the United States, the women's track and field team at Stanford University has expanded to include the nation's best sprinters, jumpers and throwers as well. The Cardinal women will have an athlete that is able to score points at the Pac-10 Championships and capable of qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in nearly every track and field event. Strengthened by 13 returning All-Americans, Stanford will be well equipped for many outstanding accomplishments during the 2005 track and field season.
Over the past few years, Stanford has developed many of the finest women sprinters and hurdlers in the United States. The 2004 season perhaps best exemplified Stanford's national caliber status in the sprints as several school records were set and the Cardinal was among the nation's leaders in the sprint relays. In 2005, every member of the deep and talented Stanford sprint squad returns for another promising season.
The depth and versatility of the Stanford sprinters will continue to be evident in 2005 as every member of last season's school record breaking 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 meter relay teams return. In 2004, the Stanford quartet of Janice Davis, Nashonme Johnson, Christine Moschella and Ashley Purnell finished eighth in the 4 x 100 meter relay at the NCAA Championships to earn All-America honors for the first time in school history. The Cardinal women had the 11th fastest time in the nation at 44.18. The 4 x 400 meter relay team of Chinny Offor, Janice Davis, Christine Moschella and Nashonme Johnson competed at the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year and set a school record with a time of 3:33.09, the 13th best time in the nation in 2004. Expect both relays to be among the best in the nation in 2005.
Sophomores Janice Davis, Ashley Purnell and Jakki Bailey will lead the Cardinal in the 100 meters in 2005. Davis returns after a stellar freshman campaign in which she ran a career best time of 11.54, the second fastest time in school history. Davis placed fourth in the 100 meters at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships and competed at the NCAA Championships where she ran a wind-aided time of 11.39. Ashley Purnell ran a season best of 11.92 in the 100 meters at the Pac-10 Championships and played a vital role for the Cardinal as the anchor of the 4 x 100 meter relay. In good health once again, Jakki Bailey will be one of the premier sprinters in the nation. As a freshman in 2003, Bailey set the indoor school record in the 60 meters and was one of two freshman to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60 meters. Junior Nashonme Johnson owns a career best of 11.64 and was a Pac-10 finalist in the 100 meters as a freshman.
Many experts will argue that as the sprints get longer, the Cardinal women get better. During the 2005 season, Stanford will have the luxury of choosing from an immense pool of talent when entering athletes in the 200 and 400 meters. Three 200 meter and three 400 meter Pac-10 finalists return for Stanford including Janice Davis, Christine Moschella, Nashonme Johnson and Keisha Gaines. Davis was fifth in the 200 meters at the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships and has a career best of 23.64. With a personal best of 23.77, Moschella finished sixth at the Pac-10 Championships and competed in the 200 meters at the NCAA Championships. Johnson owns the second fastest time in school history in the 200 meters at 23.61, while Ashley Purnell is the indoor school record holder in the 200 meters with a time of 23.88.
Nashonme Johnson will lead the charge for the Cardinal in the 400 meters in 2005. As a sophomore in 2004, Johnson obliterated the school record in the 400 meters with a time of 52.40 to finish fourth at the Pac-10 Championships. Expect Johnson to be one of the top quarter-milers in the nation in 2005 as she aims for her second consecutive appearance in the 400 meters at the NCAA Championships. Sophomore Keisha Gaines ran the fastest 400 meter freshman time in Stanford history in 2004 with a time of 53.83 and finished seventh at the Pac-10 Championships. Christine Moschella owns the third fastest time in Stanford history in the 400 meters at 53.75. Sophomores Ashley Freeman and Janice Davis and junior Chinny Offor own career bests in the 400 meters that place them amongst the best in the Pac-10 Conference.
With the graduation of school record holder Lindsey Johnson, multi-talented senior Undine Becker may once again see action in the hurdle events after establishing herself as one of the best long and triple jumpers in the Pac-10 Conference in 2004. As a sophomore, Becker qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 400 meter hurdles and was a NCAA West Regional participant in the 100 meters hurdles. Becker ranks among the top six in school history in both hurdle events. Freshman Deborah Akinniyi will make an instant contribution in the 100 meter hurdles after being one of the top prep hurdlers in the state of Texas.
A minimum of six All-Americans, led by sophomore Arianna Lambie, will help maintain Stanford's strength in the middle distance events in 2005. Lambie, a 2003 cross country All-American, is the top returning underclassman in the nation in the 1500 meters. Lambie will look to improve upon her career best time of 4:13.14 that in 2004 made her the Stanford freshman school record holder, the fourth fastest performer in school history, and the seventh fastest all-time in Pac-10 history. After finishing runner-up in the 1500 meters at the 2004 Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships, Lambie will contend for top honors at every major collegiate championship meet in 2005. Four time All-American Sara Bei is one of the premier 1500 meter runners in the nation when she drops down from her favored distance of 5000 meters. Bei finished fourth in the 1500 meters at the Pac-10 Championships in 2004 and returns with a career best of 4:19.49 set last season. Junior Jeane Goff and sophomores Katy Trotter and Julie Allen have outstanding credentials in the 1500 meters. All three student-athletes own career bests that make them contenders for the finals in the 1500 meters at the Pac-10 Championships. Freshmen Lauren Centrowitz and Katie Harrington will also contribute during their first year on The Farm.
Stanford will rely on the All-America tandem of junior Chinny Offor and sophomore Ashley Freeman to continue the momentum in the 800 meters after resurgence in the event for the Cardinal last season. Freeman and Offor finished second and third in the 800 meters at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships, respectively. Both Offor and Freeman competed in the 800 meters at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships. After only one year of competing in the 800 meters in a Stanford uniform, look for Offor and Freeman to improve considerably upon their best times of 2:06.17 and 2:06.20 in 2005. Arianna Lambie and freshmen Claire Cormier and Lauren Centrowitz will provide depth for the Cardinal in the half-mile.
Thanks largely to the members of the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championship title winning team from Stanford, the Cardinal have been the most dominant distance runners in the nation for the past several years. With All-Americans Alicia Craig and Sara Bei leading the way for the Cardinal, look for the trend to continue in 2005.
Alicia Craig enters her junior year as one of the most successful distance runners in NCAA history. Craig solidified her status as one of the best collegiate runners ever during a stellar sophomore season in 2004 in which she set the all-time NCAA record, Pac-10 record and Stanford record in the 10,000 meters with a time of 32:19.97. Craig also won the NCAA and Pac-10 Championship titles in the 10,000 meters for the second consecutive year and finished fifth at the U.S. Olympic Trials, the highest place among all collegiate runners. Craig finished the 2004 season ranked seventh in the 10,000 meters in the United States, the highest ranking among all collegiate runners. As the fastest collegiate runner ever in the 10,000 meters, Craig will be a major contender for her third consecutive NCAA Championship title. In her first and only 10,000 meter race at Stanford, Sara Bei finished runner-up at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships in a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 33:58.06, the fifth fastest time in Stanford history. Junior Anita Siraki and sophomore Celia Smalls return after placing third and eighth at the 2004 Pac-10 Championship, respectively.
In the 5000 meters, the depth for Stanford is even more amazing as Sara Bei and Alicia Craig return for the Cardinal as the top two 5000 meter runners in the NCAA. Furthermore, every team member that contributed to Stanford's 1-2-3-5 finish in the 5000 meters at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships returns in 2005. Bei, the runner-up in the 5000 and 3000 meters at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor and Indoor Championships respectively, swept the 5000 meter titles at the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships. Her best of 15:36.21 is the fourth best time in Stanford and Pac-10 history and was the fifth fastest collegiate time in the nation in 2004. Craig had the second fastest collegiate time in the nation in the 5000 meters in 2004 and her career best of 15:25.75 is the fifth best in NCAA history and the second best ever at Stanford. Craig, the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championship runner-up in the 5000 meters, was the only collegiate runner to be ranked in the top-12 in the United States in the 5000 and 10,000 meters in 2004. Seven additional Stanford athletes that qualified for the Pac-10 Championships in the 5000 meters last season return for the Cardinal in 2005, including sophomores Arianna Lambie and Katy Trotter, who finished third and fifth at the Conference championship meet. Redshirt freshman Teresa McWalters and true freshmen Shannon Bergstedt and Lindsay Flacks will contribute immediately in their first year competing for Stanford. McWalters was a NCAA Indoor Championship provisional qualifier in the 3000 and 5000 meters.
Led by sophomore twins Katy and Amanda Trotter, and the return of All-American Jeane Goff, the 3000 meter steeplechase will be a strength for the Cardinal during the next several years. Two-time All-American Katy Trotter will look to improve upon her 2004 freshman season in which she set the school record in the 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 10:07.55, the fourth fastest returning collegiate time in 2005. Trotter was the 2004 Pac-10 Championship runner-up in the 3000 meter steeplechase and competed in the event at the NCAA Championships. Her career best time is the third fastest in the history of the Pac-10 Conference. Goff returns for the 2005 season after a redshirt year in 2004. Goff was the runner-up in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the 2002 and 2003 Pac-10 Championships. Amanda Trotter is one of the top steeplechase specialist in the Pac-10 after finishing sixth in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the Conference meet in 2004. Freshman Lindsay Allen arrives on The Farm as the U.S. High School record holder in the 3000 meter steeplechase.
After focusing on the long and triple jump last season as a junior, Undine Becker established herself as one of the top horizontal jumpers in the Pac-10 Conference. Becker finished second and fourth in the long and triple jump at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships, respectively. Becker will be seeking her third consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships in 2005. Her personal bests of 20-5 (6.22m) and 41-3 1/4 (12.58m) are third and second best all-time in Stanford history. The addition of freshman Erica McLain will provide an instant boost for the Cardinal in 2005. As a prep athlete in Texas, McLain had the third furthest performance in the triple jump in U.S. High School history with a leap of 44-1 1/4 (13.44m). McLain also has a best of 20-3 1/2 (6.19m) in the long jump. Freshman Deborah Akinniyi was a Texas state high school finalist in the triple jump and will contribute immediately.
Sophomore Lindsey Gannaway is the top returning high jumper for the Cardinal in 2005. Gannaway competed in the high jump at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships and has a career best of 5-8 (1.73m). Freshman Maura Burk was a five-time New Jersey state high school champion in the high jump and brings to The Farm a prep best of 5-10 (1.78m).
Junior Samantha Shepard returns in 2005 as one of the top pole vaulters in the Pac-10 Conference. Shepard finished tenth in the pole vault at the 2004 Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships. Her personal best of 13-2 1/4 (4.02m) in the pole vault is second best all time at Stanford.
A major void will need to be filled in the throws area with the graduation of seven-time All-American and school record holder Jillian Camarena. Camarena obliterated the indoor and outdoor school records while becoming the seventh furthest shot put performer in the history of the NCAA. Stanford's strength in the throws will be shifted to the hammer throw during the 2005 season. Junior Sarah Hopping is one of the top returning hammer throwers in the Pac-10 after finishing fourth at the 2004 Conference meet. Hopping competed in the hammer throw last season at the NCAA Championships and has a career best of 195-2 (59.49m), the second best performance in Stanford history. Sophomore hammer thrower Katy Elsbury returns from a redshirt year in 2004. As a freshman in 2003, Elsbury was one of the top junior throwers in the United States.
Senior Erin Merriman will lead the Cardinal in the javelin during the 2005 season. Last season, Merriman threw a career best of 153-1 (44.66m), the second best throw all-time at Stanford.
Freshman Melissa Yunghans will carry the load for the Cardinal in the shot put. Yunghans was one of the top prep shot putters in the nation as a high school senior. Yunghans and fellow freshman Sara Jacobsen will also compete in the discus.
Senior Ahimsa Hodari returns as one of the top multi event athletes in the Pacific-10 Conference. Hodari is a two-time Pac-10 Championship meet scorer in the heptathlon and has a career-best of 5,021 points, the eighth-best performance in school history. Sophomore Sally Mills also has the ability to score points at the Pac-10 Championships. Mills was a Pac-10 qualifier in the heptathlon as a freshman in 2003 and scored points in the pentathlon to help lead Stanford to the 2004 MPSF Indoor Championship title.