Huskies Send 12 to NCAA Indoor Track Meet
March 9, 2005
On the Track: One of the most prolific seasons in Washington indoor track and field history comes to a conclusion this week at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Arkansas' Randall Tyson Center in Fayetteville. A record twelve Huskies will be competing at this weekend's indoor championships, including three freshmen and four women's pole vaulters, believed to be a record for any collegiate team in the event. For career highlights for all of UW's 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships competitors, see the PDF version of this release.
Washington's 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships Competitors
Name, Year, Event, Hometown (High School)
Austin Abbott, Fr., DMR, Chehalis, Wash. (W.F. West)
Ryan Brown, So., DMR, Renton, Wash. (Renton)
Carly Dockendorf, Jr., Pole Vault, Port Moody, B.C. (Best Secondary)
Lindsey Egerdahl, Sr., Mile, Auburn, Wash. (Auburn)
Andy Fader, Sr., DMR, Everett, Wash. (Cascade)
Norris Frederick, Fr., Long Jump, Seattle, Wash. (Roosevelt)
Ashley Lodree, So., 60m Hurdles, Richmond, Calif. (El Cerrito)
Stevie Marshalek, So., Pole Vault, Kent, Wash. (Kentlake)
Amanda Miller, Fr., 800m, Wenatchee, Wash. (Eastmont)
Kate Soma, Sr., Pole Vault, Portland, Ore. (Grant)
Ashley Wildhaber, Jr., Pole Vault, Chehalis, Wash. (W.F. West/UNC Wilmington)
Sean Williams, Sr., DMR, Kirkland, Wash. (Lake Washington)
Event Schedule: Following is a schedule of events featuring UW athletes at this weekend's NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. All times are Pacific. For a complete event schedule, visit www.ncaasports.com.
Friday, March 11
2:30 p.m. --Women's 800-Meter Run (P)
3:05 p.m. -- Women's 60-Meter Hurdles (P)
4:00 p.m. -- Men's Long Jump (P/F)
4:45 p.m. -- Women's Mile Run (P)
6:10 p.m. -- Women's 60-Meter Hurdles (F)
7:30 p.m. -- Men's Dist. Medley Relay (F)
, Saturday, March 12
3:30 p.m. -- Women's Pole Vault (F)
4:15 p.m. -- Women's Mile Run (F)
4:35 p.m. -- Women's 800-Meter Run (F)
NCAA Championships on TV: The 2005 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis by ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports. The broadcast will air on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. PT on Wed., March 16.
How They Got Here: Two Huskies, pole vaulter Kate Soma and hurdler Ashley Lodree qualified for this week's NCAA Indoor Championships by meeting pre-determined automatic qualifying standards in their events. The remaining 10 UW competitors were among the provisional qualifiers added to the NCAA field Monday, in order to provide full fields for this weekend's competition. Provisional qualifiers are added in order from the NCAA's descending order list, in an attempt to provide fields of roughly 16-17 athletes per individual event, and 10-12 teams per relay. For a complete list of NCAA qualifiers, visit www.trackshark.com.
Meet Results: Results will be posted live throughout the competition to both www.ncaasports.com and www.hogwired.com, the official site of the host University of Arkansas. A full recap of UW action at the meet, including quotes from competitors and UW results, will be posted to www.GoHuskies.com roughly one hour following the conclusion of each day's competition.
2004 NCAA Indoor Championships Recap: The five Huskies who traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., last year represented not only the team's largest indoor championships contingent since 1998 -- until this year's record crop of 12 -- but also one of its most talented. Three of the five earned All-America honors - the most individual UW All-Americans indoors since 1988 - while the Husky men earned their fifth top-25 finish in the last five years. Senior Brad Walker, in his final collegiate performance, earned his second-straight NCAA indoor pole vault title, and junior Kate Soma became the first UW women's indoor All-American since 1994 with a tie for fifth in the pole vault. Senior Eric Garner earned his second-career All-America honor with an eighth-place finish in the mile, freshman hurdler Ashley Lodree placed 14th in the 60-meter hurdles, and sophomore Ingvill Makestad took 15th in the mile.
NCAA Championships By the Numbers: When Brad Walker won his second-straight NCAA pole vault title last season, the senior became just the fourth Husky ever to win more than one NCAA title, including just two - Walker and seven-time champion Scott Neilson - since 1930. Neilson, one of only four athletes in NCAA history to win four-straight NCAA titles in the same event, was certainly UW's most prolific titlist, with three indoor weight crowns, and four-straight NCAA hammer titles from 1976-79. The other Huskies to earn multiple NCAA titles did so in the NCAA's infancy, including hurdler Steve Anderson, in 1929 and 1930, and Gus Pope, the shot and discus champ in 1921. Twenty-two Huskies have combined for 28 NCAA titles overall, a total which ranks 22nd among NCAA institutions all-time. Should any of the 12 Huskies traveling to this week's meet win a national title, it would mark the first time since Neilson's string of crowns in the 1970s that Washington athletes brought home NCAA titles in at least three consecutive seasons.
Rankings Report: Washington's women will send seven competitors to the NCAA Championships this week, so it was no surprise to see the Huskies shoot to ninth in the USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings, and to No. 17 in the Trackwire poll. Trackwire awarded 13 points to the Huskies in its poll, which predicts order of finish at the NCAA Championships, matching UW's to its highest Trackwire total this year and the second-highest among any Pac-10 teams. The USTCA, meanwhile, awarded 313.29 points to the Husky women in its ranking, which simulates head-to-head competition between the nation's elite college teams, a total good for ninth in the nation. Tennessee eclipsed Stanford by one point atop the Trackwire rankings, holding a 45-44 edge, while Nebraska held steady at No. 1 in the USTCA poll with a 349.51-point total. The Husky men, meanwhile, fell four spots to No. 22 in the USTCA rankings, and were unranked by Trackwire. UW scored a season-high 295.34 points in the USTCA ranking, which put Indiana at 340.41, but merited just two points from Trackwire, which made Arkansas its NCAA favorite with 55 points.
Just Dandy, Thank You: In addition to its lofty ranking of UW's women's team, Trackwire also saw fit to include several Huskies in its weekly Dandy Dozen, which predicts the order of finish in each event at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Senior vaulter Kate Soma, the NCAA runner-up in 2004 and current NCAA leader, is picked by Trackwire to win her first national title, while fellow vaulter Stevie Marshalek is listed 12th. Freshman sensation Norris Frederick, who currently boasts the fifth-best long jump by a collegian in 2005, is predicted to finish seventh by Trackwire, while the magazine expects Husky sophomore Ashley Lodree and the Huskies' men's distance medley relay to match their respective national rankings of sixth, and ninth.
Monster PR of the Week: In a week where three Husky freshmen will be making their NCAA Championships debuts, it's fitting that a fourth should be honored with the Monster PR of the Week. Bothell, Wash., native Jordan Boase has done his best to draw attention away from the Huskies' NCAA-bound freshman trio, posting times among the UW's all-time top-10 indoors in the 200 meters and 400 meters, including a quarter-mile best of 47.76 at last week's UW Last Chance Qualifier in Seattle that ranks sixth in Husky history, and was just a half-second shy of the NCAA's provisional qualifying standard.
History in the Making?: Washington's athletes enter this week's NCAA Championships with several historical milestones on the line. The nation's top-ranked pole vault competitor, senior Kate Soma has the chance to become just the third NCAA champion in UW women's history, and the first since Jennifer Ponath in 1988. Soma could also become just the third UW woman to earn four-career All-America honors, equaling Aretha Hill and Meg Jones for all-time UW honors. Also, with four competitors in the women's pole vault, the Huskies have the chance to post two All-Americans in the same event for the first time since 1994, when Laura Kruse and Monika Parker did so in the javelin. Only twice in UW history have two women earned All-America honors at the same NCAA indoor meet, doing so in 1985 and 1988. The Huskies' overall record for NCAA indoor All-Americans is seven -- all male -- in 1998.
Vault Supremacy: There is little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting. Four UW women qualified for this week's NCAA Indoor Championships, after three did so at last year's outdoor championships. The Huskies' four qualifiers equal the most for any team in any one event this season, and are believed to be a record for any collegiate team in the women's vault. All four are over 13 feet in 2005, with each ranking among the nation's top-16 competitors overall. Three of the four earned top-14 finishes at last year's NCAA outdoor meet, with Kate Soma placing second, Carly Dockendorf 11th, and Stevie Marshalek 14th. That experienced trio is joined in Fayetteville this week by junior Ashley Wildhaber, the seventh-place finisher at the 2004 NCAA West Regional. Outdoors, the results could be even better -- the accomplished quartet welcomes freshman Kelley DiVesta of Colorado, whose prep best of 12-6 1/2 is higher than the prep bests of all but one of the UW's returnees.
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight: Three-time All-American pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0', but the Husky senior, who enters this week's NCAA Indoor Championships with a collegiate-leading mark of 14 feet, 3 1/2 inches, cuts a towering figure in collegiate pole vaulting history. At the Feb. 12 Husky Classic, Soma broke her own UW indoor record with a clearance of 14-3 1/2, equaling the seventh-best by a collegiate vaulter all-time. The Portland, Ore., native currently ranks second among American women in the 2005 IAAF World Rankings only to U.S.-record holder Stacy Dragila, and is the 20th-ranked woman in the world. Soma has been just as prolific throughout her UW career, breaking UW's pole vault record in each of her seven collegiate 'seasons,' including four indoors and three outdoors. In clearing 14-3 1/2, Soma backed up her UW outdoor record clearance of 14-2 at last year's Pac-10 Championships, a vault which won Soma her first Pac-10 title and qualified her for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Soma followed up her conference crown with a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships to earn her third-consecutive All-America award. Only five other women in UW history have earned as many All-America honors as Soma's three, while just four others have captured at least two in the same season, something Soma did in 2004 with a second-place NCAA finish outdoors, and a tie for fifth indoors. Perhaps it's her support system - Soma's mother, Donna, boasts an U.S. vault age-group record, while Soma's high school coach designs shoes worn by elite vaulters Dragila and Dmitri Markov.
All-Time NCAA Division-I Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Thorey Elisdottir, Georgia, 2001, 14-9 1/2i
4. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
5. Lacy Janson, Florida State, 2003, 14-7 1/4i
5. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
, 7. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
7. Melissa Price, Fresno State, 1998, 14-3 1/2
9. April Steiner, Arkansas, 2003, 14-3 1/4i
9. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
Moving On Up: Currently the NCAA's pole vault leader in 2005, senior Kate Soma has the chance to continue an impressive streak. The three-time All-American has improved her NCAA standing in each of her five-career appearances at the meet, having placed 16th outdoors in 2002, 12th indoors in 2003, seventh outdoors in 2003, fifth (tied) indoors in 2004 and second outdoors in 2004. Should that trend continue, Soma would become just the third NCAA champion in UW women's history, and the first since 1988.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: There is no doubt that Husky pole vaulter/gymnast Carly Dockendorf is one of the finest two-sport athletes in UW history. Already one of the top vaulters in Canadian history, the Port Moody, B.C., native will add to her legend this week by competing Friday night in Salt Lake City for the UW gymnastics team against top-ranked Utah, before catching a Saturday morning flight to Tulsa, Okla., then driving two hours to Fayetteville for Saturday evening's NCAA pole vault competition. Balancing two sports is nothing new to Dockendorf -- the junior earned a second-straight NCAA gymnastics berth last April, before embarking on a terrific 2004 track season including a sixth-place finish at the Pac-10 meet in May, a third-place finish at the NCAA Regional, and an 11th-place effort at June's NCAA Championships. After missing the first two months of the 2005 indoor track season with an injury, the junior made her season debut at last weekend's UW Last Chance Qualifier, clearing a career-best 13-5 1/4 to cinch an NCAA berth, and move into sole possession of eighth-place in Canadian women's history. Amazingly, Dockendorf has been pole vaulting for less than three years, having begun the sport only after seeing Husky vaulters working out at Dempsey Indoor during her freshman gymnastics season in 2002. Dockendorf began her two-sport double on a full-time basis in 2003, winning All-America honors on the gymnastics floor while placing eighth in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Championships. Dockendorf's seven perfect 10's are the most by any gymnast in UW history, while her six-career vaults over 13 feet rank second among UW women all-time.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Dana Ellis, 2004, 14-8
2. Stephanie McCann, 2004, 14-5 1/4
3. Kelsie Hendry, 2005, 14-4 1/2i
4. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 ¾
5. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
6. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
7. Adrienne Vangool, 2004, 13-5 3/4
8. Carly Dockendorf, 2005, 13-5 1/4i
9. Sue Kupper, 2005, 13-3 1/2i
10. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
Rare Double: From the first time she entered a pole vault competition - going 12-1 1/2 at Husky Stadium in 2002 - it was obvious that junior Carly Dockendorf, already a decorated UW gymnast, was in an elite class of athletes. Just two years later, Dockendorf moved into a class all her own, adding an NCAA Track Championships berth to the NCAA Gymnastics invite she earned last April. While it is not uncommon for a college athlete to compete in multiple NCAA Championships in one year - track/cross country and volleyball/basketball doubles being among the most common - to do so in two unrelated sports in which qualification is based on individual, not team, performance is extremely rare. Dockendorf finished 11th in her NCAA pole vault debut, after placing 24th on the floor exercise at April's NCAA gymnastics meet. The junior is already halfway to repeating the feat this season, as the 16th seed in the pole vault at this week's NCAA Indoor Championships.
Dazzling Debut: All eyes were on freshman Norris Frederick at January's UW Indoor Preview, and the Seattle native did not disappoint. Frederick swept high- and long-jump titles at the meet, his winning mark of 25-4 1/2 in the latter a six-inch personal best. Two weeks later, Frederick launched four more jumps over 25 feet at the UW Invitational, the last a 25-foot, 6 1/4-inch monster that ranks fifth in the nation entering this week's NCAA Championships, and is the fourth-best mark in the world this year by a jumper under the age of 20. Success for Frederick is certainly to be expected - he ranked second among U.S. prep high jumpers in 2004 with a best of 7-1, and was the United States' fourth-ranked prep long jumper at 24-10 1/2. The Roosevelt High School graduate literally jumped out of his shoes at July's IAAF World Junior Championships in Italy, tearing apart the footwear which had guided him to five state titles during his four-year prep career. With borrowed shoes, Frederick managed to place 19th in both events at the world meet, and closed the 2004 season ranked among the top-35 under-20 athletes in the world. Frederick's 2005 long jump best, just 1/4-inch shy of the UW record held by former world-record holder Phil Shinnick, is tied for 13th among U.S men in the IAAF World Rankings, and is tops among U.S. juniors.
2005 IAAF World Junior (Under-20) Long Jump Rankings
Name, Country, Mark
1. Viktor Kuznyetsov, Ukraine, 26-11 3/4
2. Godfrey Khotso Mokoena, Russia, 26-0 3/4
3. Marcin Starzak, Poland, 25-8 1/4
4. Norris Frederick, United States, 25-6 ¼
5. Adrian Vasile, Romania, 25-4 3/4
6. Sebastian Bayer, Germany, 25-3 1/2
7. Dmytro Bilotserkiv'kyy, Ukraine, 25-3 1/4
The `Lo' Down: She's only five meets into her 2005 collegiate season, but already sophomore Ashley Lodree boasts three times among the top-10 in UW history, and a No. 6 national ranking in the 60-meter hurdles entering this week's NCAA Indoor Championships. But then, everything the 19-year-old does is fast. Lodree was a one-woman whirlwind in 2004, placing 14th in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2004 NCAA indoor meet before bettering UW's 100-meter hurdles record in her first collegiate final just two weeks later. Lodree's wind-aided 13.43-second mark was well below the UW benchmark of 13.55 set by All-American Claudine Robinson in 1994, and was the first of seven record-breaking runs for the UW freshman, who closed her rookie season with a wind-aided best of 13.39 at the Texas Relays, and a legal record of 13.41 seconds at the Drake Relays. Despite just missing an NCAA outdoor berth with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, Lodree's efforts ranked the freshman No. 7 in the world among junior-age runners in the 2004 IAAF World Rankings, and No. 2 among U.S. juniors. More than just a hurdler, however, Lodree scored in four events at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships, and boasts marks among UW's all-time top-10 in six different events. At February's MPSF Championships, Lodree lowered her own school 60-meter hurdles record to 8.15 seconds, equaling the NCAA automatic-qualifying standard in the event to clinch her second-straight NCAA indoor berth. Lodree placed 14th in the hurdles at the NCAA indoor meet in 2004, and was the nation's top-ranked collegiate freshman with a then-UW record best of 8.19 seconds.
2004 IAAF Junior Women's 100-Meter Hurdles Rankings
Name Country Mark
1. Ronetta Alexander United States 13.22
2. Sally McLellan Australia 13.30
3. Stephanie Lichtl Germany 13.36
4. MaKeatha Cooper United States 13.37
5. Sabrina Altermatt Switzerland 13.39
5. Shantia Moss United States 13.39
7. Ashley Lodree United States 13.41
8. Amy Menlove United States 13.45
Leading From the Front: After consecutive sixth-place finishes in the 1,500-meter final at the NCAA West Regional in each of the last two seasons -- one spot shy of an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships -- senior Lindsey Egerdahl wasn't about to let another opportunity slip past. The Auburn, Wash., native made the most of her final opportunity to qualify for this week's NCAA Indoor Championships, slashing her mile PR by four seconds with a time of 4:42.27 at last week's UW Last Chance Qualifier. Egerdahl has made a habit of succeeding under pressure -- with no seniors on Washington's women's cross country squad in 2003, head coach Greg Metcalf challenged the then-junior to be the team's competitive leader. Egerdahl responded by leading a UW women's team that included four freshmen to its seventh-straight NCAA Championships, then repeating the feat as a senior in 2004. Since arriving at Washington in 2001, Egerdahl has soared up the UW rankings. Her mile best ranks third in UW history, while her 1,500-meter best of 4:22.38 is UW's seventh-fastest ever. The senior also boasts a mark of 9:35.08 for 3,000 meters that ranks fourth indoors at UW, and has run legs of four of UW's 10-fastest distance medley relays, including the school-record of 11:23.12 set in 2004.
Record Rookies: The weekend of Feb. 12-13, 2005, may well go down as the date UW's class of 2008 made its presence officially known. While freshman Jeremy Mineau was busy qualifying for the World Cross Country Championships, classmates Austin Abbott and Amanda Miller thrilled the Dempsey Indoor crowd with school- and UW-freshman records. Chehalis native Abbott kicked off the record day with a blistering run in the men's mile, his time of 4:02.25 third-fastest ever at UW, and tops all-time by a first-year Husky. Just minutes later, Wenatchee native Miller did Abbott one better, breaking the Huskies' school record in the 800 meters with an NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 2:08.33, since lowered to 2:07.32. In all, freshmen account for one-fourth of UW's 12 NCAA Indoor Championships competitors, including Miller, Abbott (who will compete in the distance medley relay) and Norris Frederick, America's fifth-ranked collegian in the long jump. Washington has had at least one freshman qualify for the NCAA Championships in three of the past four seasons, including both 2004 and 2005. Should any of the talented trio earn All-America honors, they would become the first UW frosh since sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker in 1998 to accomplish the feat.
Parlez-Vous Francais?: If he doesn't speak French already, Husky freshman Jeremy Mineau will have to be a quick learner. The Menlo Park, Calif., native ran fifth in the junior men's 8,000-meter open race at the Feb. 13 USA Cross Country Championships in Vancouver, Wash., to clinch one of six spots on the U.S. National Team for this month's World Cross Country Championships in Saint Garnier, France. Mineau, who will compete in the junior 8,000-meter race in Saint Garnier on Mar. 20, is the first current Husky to earn a world cross berth since then-freshman Laura Hodgson did so in 2003. Including post-collegiate UW competitors, Washington has had at least one representative at the World Cross Country Championships in five of the last six years, including a record three participants in 2003.
Ridiculous Records: Washington's athletes have certainly been keeping the team's indoor record-keepers busy this season. Husky athletes combined for 19 marks among the team's top-10 all-time at February's MPSF Championships, and have achieved a stunning 70 such marks this season, after totaling 47 new top-10 marks in 2004. Washington's highly-acclaimed indoor facility, Dempsey Indoor, has certainly had an effect on the Huskies' indoor list, with 20 school records and an eye-popping 174 marks among UW's all-time top-10 having been achieved since the start of the 2002 season, UW's first in the facility. For a complete list of the top-10 indoor marks set in 2005, see the PDF version of this release.
Distance Dominance: Dempsey Indoor cemented its reputation as America's fastest indoor distance track at the Feb. 12 Husky Classic. Seven collegiate men and six collegiate women bested the NCAA automatic qualifying standard in the meet's 5,000-meter races, including an NCAA-leading mark by Wisconsin's Matt Tegenkamp. In fact, of the NCAA's 15 automatic men's qualifiers at 5K, nine achieved their mark on the Dempsey Indoor oval, as did six of the event's 10 automatic women's qualifiers. The facility's influence even extends to the 2005 IAAF World Rankings - 16 of the 38 men's 5,000 meter times ranked by the IAAF were achieved at one of UW's three home invitationals this season, including Tegenkamp's oversized-track world leader of 13:36.48.
MPSF Championships Redux: The MPSF Championships returned to Dempsey Indoor in 2005, and Washington's athletes kept the home fans happy. Senior vaulter Kate Soma won her first MPSF title, while pentathlete Grace Vela and sophomore hurdler Ashley Lodree each set UW indoor records, leading the Huskies to a second-straight third-place conference finish. On the men's side, junior Shane Charles earned matching second-place finishes in the 800 meters and the 4x400-meter relay, setting a UW record in the former, while freshman Norris Frederick earned a pair of top-five finishes in his MPSF Championships debut. The Husky men placed sixth, as UCLA rolled to its second-straight MPSF men's title, and Stanford captured its third-straight conference women's crown.
Northwest Honors: The Feb. 5 weekend may have been a week off from competition, but that didn't stop the Huskies from making headlines. Women's assistant coach Kelly Strong and former Husky Brad Walker were recognized for their 2004 accomplishments with Pacific Northwest Track and Field's Athlete of the Year honors, announced Feb. 4. The fifth-place steeplechase finisher at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, and the ninth-ranked steepler in U.S. history, Strong was nominated alongside UW senior Kate Soma and 2004 UW alum Megan Spriestersbach, both All-Americans and Olympic Trials participants in 2004. Walker, meanwhile, captured his third-straight PNTF honor after winning his second-straight NCAA indoor pole vault title, placing sixth at the Olympic Trials, and closing the year with a No. 6 world ranking.
Walker Wins U.S. Gold: While his former UW teammates were pursuing MPSF titles at Dempsey Indoor on the last weekend of February, former Husky All-American Brad Walker earned his first USA indoor title, clearing 18-6 1/2 to win the pole vault at the 2005 USA Indoor Championships in Boston. The victory bookended an outstanding indoor season for the Spokane native, who began the year with a victory in January at the prestigious National Pole Vault Summit, his mark of 19-1 1/2 the world's third-best in 2005. Walker has always been at his best indoors - the 2004 UW alum won consecutive NCAA indoor titles in 2003 and 2004, with a best collegiate clearance of 19-0 1/2 that ranks sixth in NCAA history.
One More (Inter)national Crown: One week after Walker's U.S. title, former Husky Sabrina Monro kept the UW in the international track headlines with a victory in the senior women's race at the 2005 NACAC Cross Country Championships in Clermont, Fla. The meet, which featured international teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean, marked the international debut for the former NCAA cross country runner-up, who completed her collegiate career in 2003. Monro was joined at the NACAC meet by Husky freshman Jon Harding, whose sixth-place finish in the junior boys' race helped Team USA to a sweep of the top-six places, and an NACAC title.
Dempsey Indoor: In only three full seasons, Washington's Dempsey Indoor has already earned a reputation as one of the nation's top indoor competition venues. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. Dempsey Indoor has hosted 11 Olympians, witnessed 16 top-10 world marks, 13 UW indoor school records and hundreds of NCAA qualifying marks, and is the host site of the MPSF Championships. In addition to its competitive use, the building serves as an indoor practice facility for many UW teams.
Dempsey Indoor Draws World's Best: If Washington's home indoor meets over the past three seasons have seemed to shimmer in gold, it is likely due to the numerous Olympians who have highlighted the fields at Dempsey Indoor. Adam Goucher, a U.S. Olympian in 2000, set a facility record in the 5,000 meters in his first of two appearances at Dempsey Indoor this season, while fellow Olympian Bolota Asmeron clocked a Dempsey-best 7:48.59 at last year's UW Indoor Invite. In 2003, numerous former Olympians put the Dempsey on their competition schedule, including former Husky and 2000 U.S. Olympian Ja'Warren Hooker, two-time Olympic medalist John Godina, U.S. Olympians Seilala Sua and Michael Stember, and Asmeron, who in 2000 competed for his native Eritrea. All set facility records in their events, while Asmeron clocked what at the time was the world's sixth-fastest 3,000-meter mark.
Multi-Talented: Senior multi-eventer Grace Vela is nothing if not determined - witness her performance last year's Pac-10 Championships, where the Toronto native competed in the heptathlon, long jump, triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and 4x100-meter relay, ultimately toeing the line 11 different times. So it was little surprise that a banged-up Vela, nursing an injury that had kept her from any serious running or jumping all week, not only decided to compete at Saturday's MPSF Championships, but dominated, crushing her own UW pentathlon record on the strength of marks in the high jump and 60-meter hurdles that ranked among the school's top-10 all-time. Vela's MPSF performance followed up a terrific 2004 campaign that saw her earn four top-10 national rankings from Athletics Canada, including sixth in the heptathlon, seventh in the long jump, and ninth in the 100-meter hurdles and triple jump. Vela's heptathlon best of 5,225 points is bettered in UW history only by Sonja Forster, who tallied 5,266 points at the 1992 Pac-10 meet. Forster was also the last Husky to earn an NCAA berth in the heptathlon before Vela did so last season, placing 21st at the NCAA outdoor meet in Austin, Texas. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Vela moved to Toronto in 1995 with her family, before graduating from Toronto's Vaughan High School and attending Division-II Lewis University in Chicago. Vela won five events at the 2003 Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships, and earned Division-II All-America honors in the 4x100-meter relay. The senior, whose best marks in the heptathlon and pentathlon are both tops all-time by a Zimbabwe-born woman, will receive her degree in economics this spring, and plans to return to her home country to improve the quality of life for its citizens.
Passing the Baton: Eight years passed between the last two times a UW men's 4x400-meter relay earned All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. It's possible Husky fans won't have to wait so long again. Three of the four Huskies who led UW's relay to third at the 2004 NCAA West Regional, and a berth at the 2004 NCAA Championships, return in 2005, including senior Sean Williams and junior Bruce Jackson. Both were on the relay that placed second at February's MPSF Championships, clocking a time of 3:07.94 that ranks second in UW history, and is the 12th-fastest in the nation this year. While Williams, Jackson and relay newcomer Ryan Brown all hail from the Seattle area, having respectively attended Lake Washington and Juanita High Schools in Kirkland, and Renton High School in Renton, it takes a little longer to reach the hometown of the relay's fourth member, Grenada native Shane Charles. Grenada's national 400-meter hurdles champ, Charles earned All-American honors at Central Arizona JC in 2004 with a best of 50.95 seconds that would have placed third at the 2004 West Regional. With the addition of Charles and Brown, UW's relay - which clocked a best of 3:06.41 in 2004 to rank 15th in the nation, and third in UW history - is a legitimate threat to become the first Husky relay to earn All-America honors since Ja'Warren Hooker, B.J. Dawson, Scott Anabel and Derek Prior placed eighth in the 4x400 meters at the NCAA indoor meet in 1998.
Island Fever: Don't be surprised if Seattle seems a little tropical this winter - with three Caribbean sprinters on the UW roster, there's a distinct island flavor to the 2005 season. Grenada's Shane Charles joins Jamaica's Patrick Davidson and Davaon Spence on the Husky roster this year, giving the UW three sprinters with significant international experience. Charles, who led Grenada in the 400-meter hurdles in 2003 and 2004, crushed UW's indoor 800-meter record by nearly half a second in January, and lowered it again in a second-place finish at February's MPSF Championships. Grenada's junior national record holder in the event, Charles earned All-America honors at Central Arizona JC in 2004 with a best of 50.95 seconds that would have qualified him for last year's NCAA Championships. Spence and Davidson, meanwhile, teammates at Kingston, Jamaica's St. Jago High School, teamed for a world youth record in the 4x400m at the 1999 World Youth Games in Poland, and led Jamaica's relay to a silver medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games. The two split up to attend junior colleges in the U.S. before reuniting at UW last season, each setting Pac-10 qualifying marks before injuries cut their seasons short in May.
Jumping for Joy: Perhaps no one was more excited for the 2004-05 season than UW jumps coach Pat Licari. After seeing his men's unit decimated in 2004 by injuries, Licari in 2005 boasts one of the Pac-10's deepest jumps units, with three seven-foot high jumpers, two 24-foot long-jumpers and two 48-foot triple jumpers. Returning from 2004 is junior Warren Eickhoff, who tied for sixth in the high jump at last year's Pac-10 meet, and has already cleared seven feet this season. Among the new additions is freshman Norris Frederick, who ranked second among U.S. preps in 2004 with a high jump best of 7-1, and is currently the nation's fourth-ranked long jumper with a mark of 25-6 1/4. Oregon transfer Teddy Davis, meanwhile, seeks to repeat the form that led him to a 7-1 high jump and a third-place NCAA Regional finish in 2004, while Pacific Lutheran transfer J.R. Wolfork tries to better the long- and triple-jump marks of 23-10 1/4 and 48-6 that led him to Division-III All-America honors in 2003. Wolfork is one of two Husky jumpers who were lost to injury in 2004, including senior Phillipe Cook, a Pac-10 long- and high jump competitor in 2002. Both will return this season, while Davis will redshirt due to Pac-10 transfer rules.
2005 Season Preview: As impressive as UW's 2004 campaign proved to be - with one NCAA title, one Pac-10 title, four All-America honors, and nine school records - 2005 could be even better. Eight of UW's 13 NCAA Championships competitors return, while the team adds four newcomers whose existing bests would have qualified them for the NCAA meet last year. Topping the returnees is Pac-10 pole vault champ and three-time All-American Kate Soma, who leads a deep UW women's team that includes athletes responsible for all but 13 of the Huskies' 67 points in a sixth-place finish at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships. The UW men are equally loaded for a strong postseason run with 13 Pac-10 scorers returning, including three of the four members of the team's NCAA-qualifying 4x400-meter relay. While the Husky women boast particular strength in the pole vault, with three returning NCAA qualifiers, Washington's men are loaded in the throws, with the Pac-10's top returning competitors in the hammer and javelin, and the conference's third-ranked returnee in the discus. Husky hurdler Ashley Lodree and heptathlete Grace Vela each seek return trips to the NCAA meet, while four-time prep All-American sprinter Jennifer Nash and freshman heptathlete Bonnie Snyder could challenge for NCAA berths in their first collegiate seasons. Grenadan national champion Shane Charles, a junior-college All-American in the 400-meter hurdles, joins the team's 4x400-meter relay, while five-time state champion Norris Frederick seeks to back up his top-four national prep rankings in the high and long jumps.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: 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 on the UW coaching staff. In his first two seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to 29th and 18th at the NCAA Championships, and guided the Husky men to a tie for 22nd indoors in 2004. Individually, 10 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with two grabbing All-America accolades. In addition, Metcalf has led the Huskies' women's cross country team to the NCAA meet in each of his eight years atop the UW distance program, marking the sixth-longest active streak of NCAA appearances in the nation. In all, Metcalf has coached 11 All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 15 school-record setters and 71 NCAA qualifiers. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeple, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic trials.
Husky Greats Give Back: Head coach Greg Metcalf isn't the only former Husky passing his knowledge on to UW's stars of today. In fact, three former Husky greats dot the coaching staff at Washington, including two-time All-Americans Metcalf and David Bazzi, and two-time Olympian Duncan Atwood. The results speak for themselves: in Atwood's two seasons working with throws coach Bud Rasmussen as a volunteer assistant javelin coach, Husky women's spearers have combined for two All-America awards and a pair of top-10 U.S. women's rankings, while raising the UW javelin record by nearly 20 feet. Meanwhile, over the past three years in the men's distance events, where Bazzi assists Metcalf, Husky runners have combined for four school records, and 38 times that rank among Washington's top-10 all-time in distance events.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2005 is in no way short on accolades. Ninth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed eight All-Americans, including two-time NCAA champion Brad Walker. Third-year throws coach Bud Rasmussen founded the prestigious Iron Wood Thrower Development Camp, has mentored two All-Americans in two years at Washington, and in seven years at North Idaho College coached 82 NJCAA All-Americans, 18 national champions and five NJCAA record holders. First-year sprints/relays coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr. mentored eight Eastern Kentucky sprinters to Ohio Valley Conference titles in 2004, and coached athletes to 13 school records in four years at Marshall University. Fourth-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is third-year distance coach Kelly Strong, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles, and is largely credited with putting together a women's recruiting class in 2003 that was ranked sixth in the nation by Track and Field News. Ironically, the most accomplished member of the Husky coaching staff is one of the team's volunteer assistants - former Olympian Duncan Atwood. A UW All-American, two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, Atwood has helped Husky women's javelin throwers earn All-America honors in each of his two seasons with the team, and mentored freshman Brian Harris to an IAAF Junior World Championships berth in 2004.