Regional Winner Soma Leads Four UW Vaulters to NCAA Berths
May 27, 2005
EUGENE, Ore. - Senior Kate Soma won the pole vault at the NCAA West RegionalChampionships on Friday, leading an NCAA-record four Washington women's vaultersto NCAA Championships berths. The two-day meet, one of four such regionals beingheld nationwide, concludes Saturday at Oregon's Hayward Field.
The top-five individuals and top-three relays in each event at each of the fourregionals earn automatic entry to next month's NCAA Championships in Sacramento,Calif., while the next three finishers are placed in an at-large pool from which6-8 will be granted NCAA berths based on their season-best marks.
A four-time All-American and two-time NCAA runner-up, Soma was the only vaulterto clear 13 feet 7 ¾ inches, earning an appreciative roar from the largecontingent of family and friends cheering on the Portland native. Soma upped the bar to 14-4 and promptly snapped a pole on her first attempt -- her second broken pole this season and reminiscent of a similar incident at the 2003 NCAA Championships. Fortunately, the senior fell safely to the mat, and was able to take her final two attempts, missing both.
Junior AshleyWildhaber and freshman Kelley DiVesta also earned automatic berths with fourth-and fifth-place finishes, each clearing 13-3 ¾, a lifetime-best for DiVesta andthe fourth-best mark in UW history.
Junior Carly Dockendorf was seventh at 12-11 ¾, while sophomore Stevie Marshalekplaced 10th at the same height. Including marks from all Regionals, Dockendorfranks fourth among those on the at-large list, and is thus guaranteed to beamong the 6-8 at-large qualifiers announced Monday.
Washington is the only school in NCAA history to qualify four women's polevaulters for NCAA Championships competition, having also done so indoors inMarch. The Huskies are also the first school ever with five women's vaultersover 13 feet in the same season.
'The winds were a bit tricky today, and I think that threw off a lot of folks inthe competition,' said UW head coach Greg Metcalf. 'Kate, though, has never beenone to let anything distract her, and she's at her best in pressure situations.That attitude rubs off on everyone who vaults with her, and is a big part ofwhat makes this unit so successful.'
Freshman jumper Norris Frederick also earned an at-large berth Friday with asixth-place finish in the high jump. An All-American indoors in the long jump in2005, Frederick cleared 6-11, before missing on all three attempts at 7-1.Junior Warren Eickhoff also cleared 6-11, finishing in a tie for eighth due tomore misses. Like Dockendorf, Frederick is tied for fourth on the at-large list,and is thus certain to be among those added to the Championships field Monday.
Squarely on the at-large bubble, however, is jumper J.R. Wolfork, whoseseventh-place long-jump effort of 24-3 3/4 may or may not be good enough to earnthe junior an NCAA berth. Wolfork was the highest-finishing Husky in the event,beating out teammate Frederick, who entered the meet seeded fourth. Frederickplaced 11th, his best of 23-6 1/4 more than 18 inches below his season-best.
In addition to the five Huskies to guarantee themselves NCAA Championshipsberths Friday, several others ran well in preliminary events on the track,setting up what should be an exciting day of finals for UW on Saturday.
The Huskies' men's 4x100-meter squad of Jordan Boase, Patrick Davidson, SeanWilliams and Davaon Spence ran third in their preliminary heat, their time of39.92 seconds the fifth-fastest in Washington history and fourth-fastest overallentering Saturday's final.
Junior Ryan Brown, meanwhile - just two weeks removed from winning the Pac-10800-meter title in Los Angeles -- won his preliminary heat in 1:50.68, thefifth-fastest qualifying mark overall. Junior Bruce Jackson was thefifth-fastest qualifier at 400 meters (46.82), while sophomore Ashley Lodree ranfifth overall in the 100-meter hurdles, her time of 13.34 seconds second in UWhistory only to her own school record of 13.23 set two weeks ago.
Washington also qualified three athletes for finals in the 1,500 meters,including sophomore Amy Lia (4th overall, 4:25.59) and senior Lindsey Egerdahl(6th, 4:25.83) in the women's event, and senior Andy Fader (5th, 3:46.63).
Not all the news was good for Washington on Friday. Junior Shane Charles, thenation's 10th-ranked competitor in the 400-meter hurdles, fell after strikingthe first hurdle and was unable to finish the race, thus eliminating him fromNCAA Championships consideration. Charles hopes to return for Saturday's 4x400meters, in which Washington is the region's No. 3 seed, and the seventh-rankedteam nationally.
For complete results from Friday's first day of competition at the NCAA WestRegional Championships, visit www.goducks.com.