Track Makes Full Outdoor Debut at Stanford
March 23, 2005
On the Track: Washington's track and field teams hit the road this week for the Stanford Invitational, the first major competition of the 2005 collegiate outdoor season. The Huskies have proven prolific at Stanford in recent years, combining for 31 NCAA Regional qualifying marks at the 2003 and 2004 Invitationals, tops for any single meet on the UW schedule over the past two years. Nearly all of the Huskies top competitors will be in action at the two-day meet, including NCAA pole vault runner-up Kate Soma and all 10 of the team's 2005 NCAA Indoor All-Americans. More than 1,000 of the nation's top collegiate, prep and professional athletes will join the Huskies at Stanford, with events scheduled to run all day and late into the night both Friday, Mar. 25 and Saturday, Mar. 26. For a complete list of athletes entered in the meet, visit www.gostanford.com.
Event Schedule: Following is a schedule of only those events featuring UW athletes at this weekend's Stanford Invitational. Events are finals unless otherwise listed. All times are Pacific; schedule is subject to change.
Friday, March 25
9:50 a.m. -- 5,000m, Sect. 3 (W)
10:15 a.m. -- 5,000m, Sect. 4 (M)
10:40 a.m. -- 400m, B Sect. (W)
10:55 a.m. -- 400m Dash, B Sect. (M)
11:00 a.m. -- Javelin (M)
11:30 a.m. -- 110m HH Prelims (M)
11:50 a.m. -- 100m Dash Prelims (W)
12:00 p.m. -- Long Jump, Top Sect. (M)
12:10 p.m. -- 100m Dash Prelims (M)
12:15 p.m. -- Long Jump, Top Sect. (W)
12:45 p.m. -- Pole Vault, B Sect,. (M)
12:50 p.m. -- 800m, B Sect. (M)
1:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault, B Sect. (W)
1:10 p.m. -- 1,500m, B Sect. (W)
1:30 p.m. -- 1,500m, B Sect. (M)
1:50 p.m. -- 200m, B Sect. (W)
2:00 p.m. -- Javelin (W)
2:05 p.m. -- 200m, B Sect. (M)
2:15 p.m. -- Long Jump, B Sect. (M)
2:20 p.m. -- 400m IH (W)
2:30 p.m. -- Long Jump, B Sect. (W)
2:40 p.m. -- 400m IH (M)
6:40 p.m. -- Steeplechase, Sect. 1 (W)
7:00 p.m. -- Steeplechase, Sect. 2 (M)
7:15 p.m. -- Steeplechase, Sect. 1 (M)
7:30 p.m. -- 5,000m, Sect. 2 (W)
7:50 p.m. -- 5,000m, Sect. 1 (W)
8:10 p.m. -- 5,000m, Sect. 1 (M)
8:30 p.m. -- 10,000m, Sect. 1 (M)
9:10 p.m. -- 10,000m, Sect. 2 (M)
10:30 p.m. -- 5,000m, Sect. 2 (M)
10:50 p.m. -- 5,000m, Sect. 3 (M)
Saturday, March 26
11:45 a.m. -- Steeplechase, Sect. 3 (M)
12:00 p.m. -- Steeplechase, Sect. 4 (M)
12:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault, Top Sect. (W)
12:20 p.m. -- Steeplechase, Sect. 2 (W)
1:15 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay (W)
1:15 p.m. -- Triple Jump, Top Sect. (M)
1:30 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay (M)
1:30 p.m. -- High Jump (M)
1:30 p.m. -- Triple Jump, Top Sect. (W)
2:15 p.m. -- 110m HH Final (M)
2:25 p.m. -- 1,500m, Top 2 Sect. (W)
2:40 p.m. -- 1,500m, Top 2 Sect. (M)
2:55 p.m. -- 400m Dash, Top 2 Sect. (W)
3:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault, Top Sect. (M)
3:05 p.m. -- 400m Dash, Top 2 Sect. (M)
3:25 p.m. -- 100m Dash Final (W)
3:30 p.m. -- 100m Dash Final (M)
3:30 p.m. -- Triple Jump, B Sect. (M)
3:45 p.m. -- 800m, Top 2 Sect. (M)
3:45 p.m. -- Triple Jump, B Sect. (W)
3:45 p.m. -- High Jump (W)
3:55 p.m. -- 200m, Top 2 Sect. (W)
4:05 p.m. -- 200m, Top 2 Sect. (M)
4:45 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (W)
5:00 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (M)
Meet Results: Results from this weekend's Stanford Invitational will be posted live throughout both days to www.ezmeets.com. In addition, a complete recap of UW action, including top performers and quotes from UW coaches, will be posted to GoHuskies.com at the conclusion of each day's action.
Rankings Report: Washington's women finished ninth in the final USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings of the 2005 indoor season, and were No. 17 in the final indoor release of the Trackwire 25. The Husky men ranked 22nd in the former, and were unranked in the latter. Both rankings will resume for the outdoor season in April.
2005 NCAA Indoor Championships Recap: A record 10 Huskies earned All-America honors at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., including five UW women, most ever for the team indoors, and three Husky freshmen. Senior Kate Soma earned her second-straight NCAA runner-up finish in the pole vault, while junior Ashley Wildhaber took fifth in the event and senior Lindsey Egerdahl placed eighth in the mile, the trio earning 13 points and a tie for 16th for UW, its best NCAA Indoor finish since 1988. Freshman long jumper Norris Frederick placed sixth in his NCAA debut, tops for a UW long jumper since 1965, while the UW's distance medley relay of Austin Abbott, Sean Williams, Ryan Brown and Andy Fader placed fifth to help the Huskies tie for 28th overall Freshman half-miler Amanda Miller and sophomore hurdler Ashley Lodree also earned All-America acclaim with respective ninth- and 10th-place finishes, while sophomore Stevie Marshalek placed 14th, and junior Carly Dockendorf 17th, in the women's pole vault.
Amazing All-Americans: One note alone can't begin to capture the amazing run of records set by Husky athletes at this year's NCAA Indoor Championships. Ten Huskies earned All-America honors at the meet, breaking the team's all-time record of nine All-Americans set at the 1983 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The team's five women's All-Americans were its most-ever indoors; in fact, prior to 2005, only eight UW women had ever earned All-America honors indoors, including just five -- total -- in the last 17 years. Three Husky freshmen earned All-America honors, a feat no UW frosh had accomplished indoors since Ja'Warren Hooker did so in 1998, a year which also marked the last time a UW relay had captured an All-America award before the DMR's fifth-place finish Friday. Nine of the 10 UW All-Americans earned the first such honors of their careers, while two -- Lindsey Egerdahl in the women's mile and the men's distance medley relay of Austin Abbott, Sean Williams, Ryan Brown and Andy Fader -- marked the first All-Americans ever for UW in their respective events. Pole vaulter Kate Soma moved into a tie with Aretha Hill and Meg Jones for all-time UW honors with her fourth-career All-America honor, and teamed with Ashley Wildhaber to become the first UW duo to earn All-America honors in the same event since Laura Kruse and Monika Parker did so in the javelin in 1994. Lastly, the team's 10 All-Americans at the NCAA Indoor meet equaled its men's and women's total from the last four NCAA Championships combined, including indoor and outdoor championships in 2003 and 2004.
NCAA Selection Process: Automatic NCAA Championships berths will be granted to the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relay teams from each of the four Regional Championships contested nationwide, May 27-28. Athletes qualify for Regionals by meeting pre-determined NCAA standards, or by winning their conference title. The NCAA will then supplement the Championships field with the highest-ranking competitors (roughly 6-7 per individual event and 5-6 per relay) from the national performance lists, provided the athlete competed at a Regional competition and was not among the finishers to earn automatic NCAA berths. The lone exceptions are the 10,000-meter and multi-events, in which athletes qualify directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting pre-determined provisional and automatic standards.
Pac-10 Format Change: For the first time ever, Pac-10 athletes will no longer qualify for May's conference championship meet by meeting pre-determined conference qualifying standards. Instead, each Pac-10 school will be allowed to bring 24 men's and 24 women's athletes to the meet, regardless of entry mark. In previous years, only qualified athletes were allowed to compete, while each team was granted three wildcards, and was allowed to enter one competitor in every event for which it had no qualifier. The Pac-10 will continue to produce a list of its top competitors in each event, beginning in April. For a complete list of those athletes ranked among the conference leaders in each event, visit the official site of the Pac-10 Conference at www.pac-10.org.
Resourceful Recruiting: Washington's coaches in 2005 have found a creative way to add numerous elite athletes to the squad without having to give up any scholarships -- cull the most talented athletes from the UW's other sports. Thus, the current Husky track and field roster includes three members of UW's football team, two Husky women's basketball players, and a UW gymnast. Without a doubt, the most accomplished of the sextet is gymdawg Carly Dockendorf, a two-time NCAA Championships qualifier in the pole vault with a lifetime best of 13-5 1/4 that ranks fourth in UW history. Dockendorf is joined by Husky football players Isaiah Stanback, Cody Ellis and Matt Fountaine, and women's basketball players Angie Jones and Jill Bell, the latter a highly-recruited prep long jumper. Stanback, who appeared in seven games at quarterback for the UW football team in 2004, has proven quickest of the group on the track, qualifying for the MPSF Championships indoors in the 60-meter dash, and anchoring UW's 4x100-meter relay to a time of 41.01 at the UW Outdoor Preview. Wide receiver Ellis and cornerback Fountaine also competed at 60 meters indoors, while sophomore Jones, a reserve guard on the UW basketball team, made her Husky track debut in the high jump last weekend. The gem of the group, however, could be Bell, who set a state prep record in the long jump in 2000, and placed ninth in the event at the 1999 World Youth Championships in Poland. A starting forward for UW who averaged 9.2 ppg and 5.8 rpg in 2004-05, Bell is expected to make her UW track debut sometime next month.
You Might Recall: While the six competitors on the UW roster from sports other than track or cross country may seem like a lot, the practice of mining talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for the Husky track program in the past. In fact, a glance at Washington's career top-10 charts reveals several such performers, including 110m hurdles record-holder Spider Gaines, a tailback for the UW football team in the 1970s, and sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, the UW record-holder at 100m, 200m, and 400m and a Husky wide receiver from 1997-98. Others on the list include football players Ernie Conwell (No. 5, shot put), Dana Hall (No. 3, 110m HH), Sterling Hinds (No. 3, 100m/200m), Pete Kaligis (No. 6, shot put), Orlando McKay (No. 2, 400m), Brent Merritt (No. 6, 400m) and Tony Parrish (No. 5, triple jump), basketball players Tara Davis (No. 1, triple jump; No. 2, long jump) and Heather Reichmann (No. 2, javelin) and All-American volleyball star Makare Desilets (No. 5, high jump). UW's two-sport stars have even excelled on the world stage -- Herman Brix and Paul Jessup, who starred for Washington's football teams in the 1920s, each competed at the Olympic Games, and established world records in the shot put and discus, respectively.
Remember Me?: To the casual fan of Husky athletics, junior Will Conwell may have fallen off the radar in 2003 when he gave up football -- where he was a UW linebacker -- in favor of a career in track and field. After redshirting the 2003 season to rehabilitate some lingering injuries, Conwell exploded back onto the front page in 2004, earning an NCAA Regional bid in the discus with a throw of 173-5, before topping the 170-foot mark again in a fourth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships. The conference's No. 3-returning discus competitor in 2005, Conwell has his season off to a fast start with an indoor PR of 188-5 and an outdoor best of 175-2, both beyond the NCAA's regional qualifying standard. Once expected to follow his uncle, Husky legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory, Conwell is instead focusing on matching his famous uncle's track accomplishments. A five-year letterwinner in track and field at Washington, the elder Conwell climbed as high as fourth on the UW's all-time shot put list, and earned All-America honors in the event with a fifth-place finish at the 1996 NCAA Championships.
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight: Four-time All-American pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0', but the Husky senior 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, and tops in the nation in 2005. The Portland, Ore., native is tied for 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 earned second at March's NCAA Indoor Championships, her second-straight runner-up honor in the event and her fourth-career All-America performance, equaling Aretha Hill and Meg Jones for the most such honors in UW history. That consistency has helped Soma to break 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 Pac-10 crown with a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships and her second All-America honor of the year, a feat accomplished by just four other UW women all-time. Perhaps it's her support system -- Soma's mother, Donna, boasts an U.S. vault age-group record, while her 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
Vault Supremacy: There is little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting. Four UW women qualified for the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, most-ever for any team in the event. Senior Kate Soma and junior Ashley Wildhaber each earned All-America honors with top-five finishes, giving UW four vaulters with career top-13 NCAA finishes under their belts, including a 13th-place finish by sophomore Stevie Marshalek on Saturday, and an 11th-place finish by junior Carly Dockendorf at the 2004 NCAA outdoor meet. The four also are the only quartet in collegiate vault history to each boast bests above 13-5, including marks by Soma (14-3 1/2) and Wildhaber (13-9 1/4) that each rank among the top-10 in Pac-10 Conference history.
All-Time Pac-10 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. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
6. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
7. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
7. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
9. Ashley Wildhaber, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4i
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
Moving On Up: Senior Kate Soma continued an impressive streak at March's NCAA Indoor Championships. The four-time All-American has matched or improved her NCAA standing in each of her six-career appearances at the meet, having placed 16th outdoors in 2002, 12th indoors and seventh outdoors in 2003, fifth (tied) indoors and second outdoors in 2004, and second indoors in 2005. Should that trend continue at June's NCAA Outdoor Championships, Soma could become just the third NCAA champion in UW women's history, and the first since 1988.
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 ranked sixth in the nation during the 2005 indoor season, and is the third-best mark in the world this year by a jumper aged 19 or under. The freshman's sixth-place finish in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships was tops by a UW competitor in the event since 1965, and earned the Huskies' first All-America honor by a UW frosh since 1999. Success for Frederick, currently America's 14th-ranked male long jumper, and the top-ranked American junior-age competitor, 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 is just 1/4-inch shy of the UW indoor record held by former world-record holder Phil Shinnick, while his high jump best of 7-0 1/4 equals UW's second-best ever indoors.
2005 IAAF Junior Men's Long Jump Rankings
Name, Country, Mark
1. Viktor Kuznyetsov, Ukraine, 26-11 3/4
2. Jie Ding, China, 25-9 1/2
3. Norris Frederick, United States, 25-6 ¼
4. Adrian Vasile, Romania, 25-4 3/4
5. Zutao Jin, China, 25-4
6. Sebastian Bayer, Germany, 25-3 1/2
Parlez-Vous Francais?: Husky freshman Jeremy Mineau received a crash course in French at last weekend's IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships last weekend. The Menlo Park, Calif., led the United States to a seventh-place finish in the junior men's race in Saint Galmier, France, covering the 8,000-meter course in 27:10, fifth among U.S. competitors and 68th overall. Mineau, who in February clocked the fourth-fastest indoor 5,000-meter mark in UW history, was the first current Husky to compete at the World Championships since Laura Hodgson in 2003, and the first active Husky men's runner since Christian Belz in 1993. Belz made his third-career appearance at the meet this year for his native Switzerland, placing 28th in the men's short race to lead all European finishers. Former Husky Courtney Inman also competed last weekend, placing 56th in the women's short race for Team Canada.
The `Lo' Down: She's not even halfway through her 2005 collegiate season, but already sophomore Ashley Lodree boasts three times among the top-10 in UW history, and an All-America honor in the 60-meter hurdles. But then, everything the 19-year-old does is fast. Lodree placed 10th in the hurdles at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, earning her first All-America honor and the first by a UW women's hurdler since Claudine Robinson in 1994. The Richmond, Calif., native 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 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, eighth-fastest by any collegiate woman this year, and four hundredths of a second below the national freshman-leading mark of 8.19 seconds she set in 2004. The sophomore also boasts marks this year in the 60-meter dash (7.44 seconds) and 200-meter run (24.81) that rank among Washington's best all-time, and is tied for second in the world among athletes aged 20 or younger.
2005 IAAF 60-Meter Hurdles Rankings (Under-20 Only)
Name, Country, Mark
1. Dawn Harper, United States, 8.05
2. Ashley Lodree, United States, 8.15
2. Yvonne Mensah, Canada, 8.15
4. Ashlee Williams, United States, 8.21
5. Jospehine Onyia, Nigeria, 8.22
6. Jessica Czaikowski, Canada, 8.23
7. Monique Morgan, Jamaica, 8.24
8. Stephanie Lichtl, Germany, 8.26
9. Lucie Martinkova, Czech Republic, 8.27
9. Josanne Lucas, Trinidad, 8.27
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, having placed in the pole vault at last week's NCAA Indoor Track Championships.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: There is no doubt that pole vaulter/gymnast Carly Dockendorf is one of the finest two-sport athletes in UW history. The Port Moody, B.C., native added to her legend last month with a 17th-place finish in the vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas, just 19 hours after competing in Utah for the Husky gymnastics team. Balancing two sports, though, is nothing new to Dockendorf -- the junior earned a second-straight NCAA gymnastics berth last April, before a terrific 2004 track season that included a sixth-place finish at the Pac-10 meet, third place at the NCAA Regional, and 11th place at June's NCAA Championships. After missing the first two months of the 2005 indoor track season with an injury, Dockendorf cleared 13-5 1/4 in her Mar. 5 season debut 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. Her seven perfect 10s are the most by any UW gymnast all-time, while her six-career vaults over 13 feet rank second in UW history.
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 Bernier1998, 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
Record Rookies: If there was any doubt before, this year's NCAA Indoor Championships proved that UW's Class of 2008 is one for the ages. Three Husky freshmen earned All-America honors, a feat just six had accomplished, indoors or out, since 1990, and none since 1999. Seattle's Norris Frederick capped an outstanding indoor season with a sixth-place finish in the long jump, tops by a Husky in the event since 1965, while Wenatchee native Amanda Miller broke her own UW record in a ninth-place performance in the 800 meters. Rounding out the All-American trio was Chehalis native Austin Abbott, who ran a strong opening leg in the distance medley relay en route to a fifth-place team finish. The trio ran rampant through UW's indoor records all season, including marks by Frederick of 25-6 1/4 in the long jump and 7-0 1/4 in the high jump that each rank second all-time at UW, and a UW freshman-record run of 4:02.25 in the mile by Abbott. Miller, though, has been the most prolific, lowering the school's 800-meter record on three separate occasions, including a best of 2:06.76 at the NCAA meet. Even the UW's cross country runners have gotten in on the action, with freshman Jeremy Mineau placing 68th at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships, and freshman Jon Harding leading Team USA to sixth at the 2005 NACAC Cross Country Championships.
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 72 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 21 school records and an eye-popping 176 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 box above.
20 Years of Spear Success: From Fred Luke and Duncan Atwood to Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo, the UW has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the javelin. Since 1982, when women's track and field joined the NCAA, the Huskies have sent at least one javelin thrower to all but three NCAA Championships, including All-American performances by Megan Spriestersbach in 2004, and Heather Reichmann in 2003. The list of UW javelin greats includes four Pac-10 Champions (Uusitalo, `87; Roberson, `88-89; Troy Burkholder, `96), three NCAA champions (Uusitalo, `86, Tom Sinclair, `79 Cary Feldman, `71) and three U.S. Olympians (Atwood, `80, `84; Rod Ewaliko, `80; Fred Luke, `72). In UW history, only the four NCAA hammer throw titles won by Scott Neilson eclipse the Huskies' national-championship prowess in the spear, which has featured more UW All-Americans (27) than any other event. Five Husky javelin throwers qualified for the 2004 NCAA Regional Championships, including senior finisher Spriestersbach, who followed up a second-place regional finish with a fourth-place effort at the national meet, tops by a UW woman in the event since 1987. The senior set a UW record and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials with her final collegiate toss, a 173 foot-7 inch monster that broke her own UW benchmark by more than six feet, and was the third-best ever in Pac-10 history.
Husky Greats Give Back: Looking for a reason for UW's remarkable javelin success? Look no further than former U.S. Olympian Duncan Atwood, now in his third year volunteering his time to his alma mater as a javelin coach, working with assistant coach Bud Rasmussen. The results speak for themselves: in 2003, the first-year coach guided Heather Reichmann to All-America honors and a No. 10 national USATF ranking; in 2004, he mentored senior Megan Spriestersbach to fourth-place at the NCAA Championships and a berth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, and led freshman Brian Harris to a berth at the IAAF World Junior Championships. Since Atwood's hiring, the UW women's javelin record has fallen four times, and has increased by more than 15 feet. Atwood joins two fellow Huskies on the UW staff, including second-year head coach Greg Metcalf -- a two-time steeplechase All-American at UW and a participant at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials -- and two-time Husky All-American David Bazzi, now a UW assistant coach.
Leading From the Front: After consecutive sixth-place finishes in the 1,500 meters 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 understands the value of an NCAA berth. So when finally granted the opportunity to run at the NCAAs after a personal-best 4:42.27 in the mile at the Mar. 5 UW Last Chance Qualifier, the Auburn, Wash., native made the most of it. Egerdahl's eighth-place finish in the mile at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships earned the senior her first-career All-America honor, and was the first ever by a UW woman in the event. The honor was a fitting reward for an athlete who has consistently put the team ahead of the individual, leading the Husky women to consecutive NCAA cross country berths in 2003 and 2004. Since arriving at UW in 2001, Egerdahl has soared to third in school history in the mile, and to seventh in the 1,500 meters, with a best of 4:22.38. 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.
Island Fever: Don't be surprised if Seattle seems a little tropical this spring-- 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 all of his countrymen in the 400-meter hurdles in 2003 and 2004, crushed UW's indoor 800-meter record by nearly half a second in January, before seeing his mark broken two weeks later by teammate Ryan Brown. Grenada's national champion in the 400-meter hurdles in 2003, and the 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.
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 Regional, and a berth at the 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 was 12th-fastest in the nation during the 2005 indoor season. 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 4x400m to earn All-America honors since Ja'Warren Hooker, B.J. Dawson, Scott Anabel and Derek Prior placed eighth in the event at the NCAA indoor meet in 1998.
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 fifth-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 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.
And Don't Forget: Between Brad Walker's U.S. indoor pole vault title in February, and Sabrina Monro's win at the 2005 NACAC Cross Country Championships, it's been a good year to be a former Husky. Discus thrower Mat Schwinn kept the UW's success rolling at last week's UW Outdoor Preview with a throw of 196-9, tops by an American this year and 12th in the current IAAF World Rankings. The 20th overall finisher in the discus at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, Schwinn has continued to train at UW since concluding his collegiate career in 2003 with a third-place finish at the Pac-10 meet, and a sixth-place effort at the NCAA West Regional.
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, dominated at the 2005 MPSF Championships, crushing the UW pentathlon record with a score of 3,915 points that included marks in the high jump and 60-meter hurdles which were each among UW's all-time top-10. Vela in 2004 was one of Canada's most prolific performers, earning top-10 national rankings in the heptathlon (sixth), long jump (seventh), 100-meter hurdles (ninth) and triple jump (ninth). The junior became UW's first NCAA Championships competitor in the heptathlon since Sonja Forster in 1994, while her season-best score of 5,225 points -- set in a fourth-place Pac-10 finish -- ranked second in UW history only to Forster's record of 5,266. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Vela moved to Toronto in 1995 with her family, before 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 before transferring to Washington in 2004. The senior will earn her economics degree this spring, with plans to return to Zimbabwe and work to improve the nation's economic condition. When she does return, she will do so as the country's all-time top performer in the pentathlon and heptathlon, her personal bests in both events unmatched by any other woman in Zimbabwe's history.
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-plus seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to three top-30 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including 18th outdoors in 2004 and a tie for 16th indoors in 2005, and has guided the Husky men to consecutive top-30 indoor finishes in each of the last two years. Individually, 12 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with four grabbing All-America accolades, a list which does not include the team's All-America distance medley relay in 2005. 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 17 All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 16 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.
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 10 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 Ashley Lodree to All-America honors in 2005, after leading eight Eastern Kentucky sprinters to Ohio Valley Conference titles in 2004, and coaching 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.