Huskies Honored at Track and Field Banquet

June 3, 2005

SEATTLE - Five Washington track and field athletes were named 'Most Valuable' in various categories by their teammates Thursday night, capping an evening of awards at the team's annual postseason banquet in the Don James Center.

Sophomore Ashley Lodree and senior Lindsey Egerdahl shared women's track MVP honors, while senior Kate Soma was named the women's field MVP. Sophomore Ryan Brown earned the men's track honor, and freshman Norris Frederick was named field MVP. Balloting was done prior to last weekend's NCAA West Regional Championships, with team members voting in five categories including Most Valuable (Track), Most Valuable (Field), Most Improved (Track), Most Improved (Field) and Most Inspirational. An additional award was given by the team's coaches for commitment to success in all areas of life as a collegiate athlete.

All five of the team's MVP honorees earned All-America honors at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships in March, and all will compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships next week in Sacramento, Calif. Portland native Soma, who also won the women's field MVP award last year, was the second-place finisher in the pole vault at the NCAA indoor meet, and won the event at last weekend's NCAA West Regional to earn her seventh-straight NCAA Championships berth. The four-time All-American is one of just eight vaulters in Pac-10 history to clear 14 feet, with a best of 14 feet, 3 ½ inches that is tied for seventh in NCAA history.

Brown was also a winner last weekend, adding the West Region's 800-meter crown to the Pac-10 title he won in the same event two weeks prior. The Renton High School graduate is qualified for NCAA Championships competition in both the 800- and 4x400-meter events, and was an All-American indoors in the distance medley relay. Brown, who took last year off from track and field, posted times among the top-two in UW history in four different events in 2005, including an indoor school record at 800 meters, and an outdoor school record in the 4x400m.

Lodree also broke a pair of school records in 2005, lowering marks she first set as a freshman in 2004. The Richmond, Calif., native, who will compete in the 100-meter hurdles at next week's NCAA Championships, set a UW record of 13.23 seconds in the event to place third at the Pac-10 meet, and clocked a time of 8.15 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles indoors en route to All-America honors.

Auburn native Egerdahl earned her second-straight NCAA Championships berth with a time of 4:19.07 in the 1,500 meters, good for third all-time at Washington. The senior, who was voted the team's cross country MVP in the fall, became UW's first-ever women's mile All-American in March, placing eighth in the event at the NCAA Indoor meet.

Frederick, the lone freshman among the team's MVP award winners, became the first Husky ever to long jump 25 feet and high-jump seven feet in a career, doing so both indoors and out. The Roosevelt High School graduate placed sixth in the long jump at the NCAA Indoor meet in March, and will compete in the high jump in Sacramento next week. His season-bests of 25-6 ¼ and 7-0 ½, respectively, each rank among UW's top-five all-time, and were among the best marks by a collegian this year.

Sophomore Amy Lia was named the women's team's Most Improved-Track athlete, while freshman Kelley DiVesta earned Most Improved-Field honors. A Bothell native, Lia qualified for next week's nationals in the 1,500 meters after missing nearly all of the 2004 season with an injury, while DiVesta of Colorado Springs, Colo., set a UW freshman-record in the pole vault with a clearance of 13-3 ¾ at last week's regional, good for fifth place and an automatic NCAA Championships berth.

On the men's side, junior Bruce Jackson and freshman Jordan Boase split the Most Improved-Track honor, while juniors Sam Roberts and J.R. Wolfork shared the Most Improved-Field award. Jackson and Boase advanced to the NCAA Championships as members of UW's 4x400- and 4x100-meter relays, respectively, while Wolfork earned his first-career NCAA Championships berth with a seventh-place West Regional finish in the long jump. Roberts, meanwhile, added nine inches to his career-best in the pole vault in 2005 with a jump of 17-3 in May, and was the 10th-place finisher in the event at the Pac-10 meet.

Most Inspirational honors were shared by Laura Halverson and Piper Hope for the women, and Mark Mandi for the men. Fifth-year senior Halverson recovered from a nasty fall in the steeplechase at Oregon to place seventh in the event at the Pac-10 meet, while sophomore Hope returned from a two-year injury layoff to lead all Husky competitors outdoors in the shot put, discus and hammer. Mandi, meanwhile, ran the eighth-fastest 10,000-meter time in UW history in April, and was an NCAA Regional qualifier in the 5,000 meters.

Rounding out the Huskies' award winners was freshman Austin Abbott, given the Coaches' Award for commitment to success in all areas of life as a collegiate athlete, including practice, competition, academics and leadership. Chehalis native Abbott earned All-America honors indoors with the team's distance medley relay, and was the Pac-10 runner-up in the 1,500 meters.

The team's banquet celebrated a banner year for Washington track and field. Ten Huskies earned All-America honors at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships -- a team record for any single championship event -- while Washington's men earned their highest Pac-10 finish -- fifth -- since 2000. Both teams closed the season in the top-20 of the national collegiate rankings, and will send a combined 16 athletes to next week's NCAA Outdoor Championships, its most in more than a decade.

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