Pre-National Meet An Early Midterm for Huskies

Oct. 13, 2005

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On the Course: Washington's top-25 cross country squads face their most important midterm Saturday, as the nation's top teams and individuals meet in Terre Haute, Ind., for the marquee event of the collegiate regular season, the Pre-National Meet. Held on the same LaVerne Gibson Course that will host next month's NCAA Championship meet, the Pre-National meet is a chance for NCAA-bound teams to earn key points towards at-large berths, while measuring themselves against the nation's best. The field of 70-plus teams -- including nearly all of the teams in this week's top-30 -- is split up into four evenly-seeded races, two each for men and women. Both Washington squads are scheduled to compete in the White races, where they will have a chance to earn a leg up on regional foes Arizona, Arizona State, Portland, and Washington State, while challenging top-five competitors Colorado and Michigan, among others. Distances will be 8,000 meters for men, and 6,000 meters for women.

Expected to Run: Following is a list of those UW runners expected to compete Saturday at the Pre-National Meet.

Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Anita Campbell, Fr., Vancouver, B.C. (Aldergrove)
Annaliese Chapa, Fr., Portland, Ore. (Central Catholic)
Brooke Lademan, Fr., Rolling Hills, Calif. (Peninsula)
Amy Lia, So., Bothell, Wash. (Bothell)
Amanda Miller, RFr., Wenatchee, Wash. (Eastmont)
Trisha Rasmussen, So., Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge)
Dani Schuster, RFr., Kennewick, Wash. (Kamiakin)
Tori Tyler, Fr., Los Altos, Calif. (Gunn)
Sayaka Yoshinaga, Jr., Seattle, Wash. (Ballard)

Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Travis Boyd, Jr., Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak)
Andy Fader, Sr., Everett, Wash. (Cascade)
Jon Harding, RFr., Issaquah, Wash. (Issaquah)
Brad Liber, So., San Diego, Calif. (University City)
Mark Mandi, Sr., Everett, Wash. (Mariner)
Jordan McNamara, Fr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn-Riverside)
Jeremy Mineau, So., Menlo Park, Calif. (Menlo-Atherton)
Carl Moe, So., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn-Riverside)
Kevin Peters, Jr., Longview, Wash. (Mark Morris)
Mike Sayenko, Jr., Bellevue, Wash. (Sammamish)

Meet Results: Results will be posted immediately following the conclusion of the final event, at approximately 12:00 p.m. Pacific time, to the official site of Indiana State University athletics, www.indstate.edu/athletics. In addition, a full recap of UW action at the meet, including results and quotes, will be posted to www.gohuskies.com Saturday afternoon.

Rankings Report: Both Washington squads shot into the top-25 in last week's polls, the last to be released before Saturday's Pre-National Meet. The Husky women climbed six spots after their second win in as many attempts this year, their 90 points ranking 23rd overall, and third among West Region squads. Washington's men, meanwhile, earned an eight-spot bump to 24th after upsets of Air Force and Oregon at the Oct. 1 Willamette Invite. The Huskies' 116 points ranked them fifth among West Region squads, their highest regional ranking to date this season. Duke solidified its spot at the top of the FinishLynx women's poll, earning all 13 first-place votes, while Arkansas knocked Wisconsin off the top of the MONDO men's poll with a 473-point score and nine first-place votes, just ahead of the Badgers' 465 and seven, respectively.

Peak Performer: Freshmen may account for the meat of Washington's women's lineup, but if the team is to extend its string of consecutive NCAA Championships appearances this fall, it will be due to the leadership of its small but savvy returning group. Taking the largest step forward of that unit this fall has been junior Sayaka Yoshinaga, a walkon from Seattle's Ballard High School who had run just three cross country races, total, in her three years at Washington entering this season. All Yoshinaga has done is run in UW's top-seven at both meets this fall, earning the junior a well-deserved spot on the travel roster for Pre-Nationals, and on this week's Peak Performer list.

Second to None: Perhaps senior Mark Mandi should wait until the NCAA Championships each year to make his season debut. The Everett, Wash., native earned his second season-opening win in as many years earlier this month at the Willamette Invitational in Salem, Ore., in the process becoming the first Husky in more than a decade to earn multiple career victories. Mandi's convincing 10-second win at the Willamette meet, his first race this season, was a near repeat of his victory in his 2004 season debut at the Sundodger Invitational. Not since Simon Baines earned back-to-back victories in 1993 has a Husky won more than once race in their career, while fewer than 10 have done so in the 37-year history of Washington cross country. Mandi has been UW's top finisher at five of his last six races, and has finished no lower than No. 2 for UW in the last eight races he has entered.

New Faces Abound: Husky followers may need a media guide to cheer for the UW's women's team this fall -- only two members of the team's top-seven, and only five letterwinners in total, return from the Huskies' 2004 squad. Senior Angela Wishaar and junior Brianna McLeod each ran in UW's top-seven last season, while sophomore Amy Lia -- a top-seven runner in 2003 -- returns from a one-year injury layoff. So far, however, it seems that youth is not a problem. Freshmen accounted for the top-four UW finishers at the season-opening Sundodger Invitational, and the top-six Huskies at the Willamette Invitational, both UW wins. Neglected in early national polls as a reflection of its losses from last season, Washington's women have risen to 23rd on the backs of its mighty freshman class, including Tori Tyler (Los Altos, Calif.), fourth at Sundodger and seventh at Willamette; Brooke Lademan (Rolling Hills, Calif.), sixth and fifth, respectively; Annaliese Chapa (Portland, Ore.), ninth and 17th; and Anita Campbell (Aldergrove, B.C.), 16th and 11th. Washington's coaches must be pleased with the result -- all six freshmen, including redshirts Amanda Miller (Wenatchee, Wash.) and Dani Schuster (Kennwick, Wash.) are in the team's top-10 for Saturday's Pre-National Meet, where they will be joined by two sophomores and one junior. Youth is no reason to doubt the Huskies' ability to keep their streak of NCAA appearances alive -- a 2003 UW squad including five freshmen in its top-seven placed third at the Regional meet, and 19th at NCAAs.

Four-Peat: Washington's men made history at the season-opening Sundodger Invitational on Sept. 17 at Seattle's Lincoln Park, capturing a record fourth-straight Invitational team title. While several teams have won back-to-back titles since the meet's inception in 1992, only the 2002-04 UW men and the 1999-2001 UW women had managed three-straight crowns, with the women's ending in defeat to Idaho in 2004. The Huskies' win was a testament to the team's depth, as Washington elected to rest six of its top-seven returnees, going instead with a lineup heavy on underclassmen. Perhaps not surprisingly, none of the current Huskies have been a part of all four UW wins, and in fact only one -- senior Andy Fader -- has been in the team's top-seven for three of the four victories, doing so each year since 2003, including a seventh-place finish this fall.

Streaking The Field: When Washington's women's team was awarded an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships in November, the nation's sixth-longest active streak of NCAA Championships appearances was preserved. During the Huskies' streak, now the sixth-longest of its kind in the nation, the UW women have earned an automatic bid just one time -- in 1999 -- having been named a provisional qualifier on each of the other occasions. Three times over the previous eight years the Huskies have finished among the top-14 teams in the country, including an all-time best ninth-place finish in 1998. Interestingly, prior to 2004, Washington had been led at the NCAA meet by a different runner in each of the streak's first seven seasons. Senior co-captain Lindsey Egerdahl brought that streak-within-a-streak to an end in 2004, leading all UW finishers at the national meet for the second-straight year, the first Husky since Tara Carlson in 1994-95 to accomplish the feat.

Team, Streak, Year Began
1. Brigham Young, 16 years, 1989
Providence, 16 years, 1989
3. Colorado, 13 years, 1992
4. Stanford, 12 years, 1993
5. North Carolina State, 10 years, 1995
6. Washington, 8 years, 1997
7. North Carolina, 7 years, 1998
7. Villanova, 7 years, 1998
7. Arizona State, 7 years, 1998

Running for a Cure: Junior Jon Hickey (Richland, Wash.) knows there's more to life than winning and losing races. Diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in April of 2004, Hickey returned to competition just weeks after a 10-hour surgical procedure to remove the tumor in his forehead. Seeking a way to help future cancer patients, Hickey founded the Tri-Cities Race Against Cancer, an annual charitable race in Richland, Wash., that has raised over $6,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation since its inception in 2004. Just three months after his surgery, Hickey was back on the course for Washington last September, running in the team's top seven on three occasions, including a third-place finish at the Sundodger Invitational, and a 35th-place effort at the Pac-10 Championships.

Everett Connection: Washington seniors Mark Mandi and Andy Fader have come a long way from the days when Mandi flipped burgers at a McDonald's in Everett, Wash., and Fader was one of his regular customers. Back then, Mandi was an aspiring high-school distance runner who had not picked up the sport until his junior year at Everett's Mariner High School, and was admittedly in awe of the local prep stars, including Fader, who patronized the Everett McDonald's where he then worked. Cascade alum Fader, meanwhile, was one of the state's top prospects, with four-career top-10 state track finishes and a pair of WesCo league titles to his credit. Four years later, the Everett tandem are each among Washington's all-time greats in the distance events on the track, and are co-captains, with sophomore Carl Moe, of the nation's 32nd-ranked cross country squad. While Fader was among UW's top recruits in 2001, Mandi enrolled at Washington as a student, before walking on to the UW cross country squad in the fall. Just a year later, Mandi was running in UW's top-seven at every varsity competition, while Fader earned a second-straight top-10 finish in the 1,500 meters at the Pac-10 Championships. In 2003, the two united to lead Washington's men's cross country squad to its first NCAA Championships since 1993, with Mandi leading all Huskies in 67th overall -- just three years after barely cracking the top-50 at the state cross country meet as a high-school senior. The two have since ensured that their remarkable story will not soon be forgotten, with Mandi earning a pair of cross country wins, and Fader anchoring the UW's distance medley relay to All-America honors and a fifth-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Indoors.

Meet the Coaches: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his fourth year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his ninth year overall at the University. Metcalf has guided the women's cross-country team to eight-straight NCAA appearances, and in 2003 led the UW men to their first NCAA appearance since 1993. Metcalf has coached 17 All-Americans, six Pac-10 champions, 74 NCAA qualifiers and 13 school-record setters. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeplechase. Metcalf is joined on the coaching staff by former All-Americans David Bazzi, the UW's school-record holder at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters, and Kelly (MacDonald) Strong, a five-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 champion at Arizona State.

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