Huskies Thirst for Pac-10 Titles in Arizona Desert
Oct. 26, 2005
On the Course: The 2005 postseason begins Saturday for Washington's cross country teams, which head to Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson, Ariz., for the 2005 Pac-10 Championships. Led by senior Mark Mandi at each of the last two races, the 23rd-ranked UW men enter the meet on a roll, having placed seventh in the White race at the Pre-National Meet two weeks ago, and ranked behind only No. 4 Stanford and No. 7 Arizona among Pac-10 teams in this week's MONDO Men's Cross Country Rankings. The UW women, too -- led all season by its stellar freshmen -- will be among those battling for a high finish Saturday, their No. 26 national ranking fourth-best among Pac-10 schools behind No. 2 Stanford, No. 5 ASU and No. 22 Oregon.
Pac-10 Championships Race Schedule (All Times Pacific)
Men's Race: 9:30 a.m.
Women's Race: 10:30 a.m.
Pac-10 Preview: Washington's men return five of its top-seven runners from the team that placed fourth at the Pac-10 meet a year ago, none better than senior Mark Mandi whose sixth-place finish equaled the fifth-best ever by a UW men's runner. The Husky men are seeking their fourth-straight top-four Pac-10 finish, but will face challenges from five-time defending champion Stanford, as well as host Arizona. The UW women, meanwhile, will feature just one runner from the team that placed third last season, with five freshmen and sophomore Amy Lia joining 2004 19th-place finisher Angela Wishaar. The Huskies will have history on their side, however, having finished in the top-five for 16-straight years, including 10 finishes of 10th or better. As on the men's side, Stanford -- with its nine-straight titles and 12 in the last 13 years -- is the team to beat, with ASU and Oregon also in the mix.
Expected to Run: Following is a list of those UW runners expected to compete Saturday at the Pac-10 Championships:
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)
Angela Wishaar, Sr., Shoreline, Wash. (Shorewood)
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)
Carl Moe, So., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn-Riverside)
Kevin Peters, Jr., Longview, Wash. (Mark Morris)
Mike Sayenko, Jr., Bellevue, Wash. (Sammamish)
Adam Shimer, So., Edmonds, Wash. (Meadowdale)
Meet Results: Results will be posted immediately following the conclusion of the final event, at approximately 12:00 p.m. Pacific time, to the website of host University of Arizona, www.arizonathletics.com. A full recap of UW action at the meet, including results and quotes, will be posted shortly thereafter to the official site of UW athletics, www.gohuskies.com.
Rankings Report: Strong performances at the Oct. 15 Pre-National Meet kept both Washington squads in the national polls, with the Husky men holding steady at No. 24, and the UW women dropping three spots to No. 26. Arkansas earned 12 of 16 first-place votes to earn 476 points and the No. 1 spot in the MONDO Men's Cross Country Rankings, with Wisconsin receiving the four remaining votes and a 459-point total. Washington's 138 points were third-most among Pac-10 schools, trailing only No. 4 Stanford (432) and No. 7 Arizona (395). On the women's side, it was Duke sweeping all 13 first-place votes for the second-straight week, their 390-point score comfortably ahead of the 373 of No. 2 Stanford. Washington scored 65 points overall, fourth-best among Pac-10 schools.
Peak Performer: Washington's men returned 15 runners with varsity experience this fall, including six of its top-seven runners from the 2004 season. So, it could be expected that it might be hard for a freshman to crack the team's top-seven -- but that just what freshman Jordan McNamara has done. A former prep teammate of Husky sophomore Carl Moe, McNamara has done a suitable impersonation of his fellow Auburn-Riverside alum this season, running in the team's top-three at each of UW's three races this season. McNamara will vie for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors this weekend, given to the top-finishing freshman at the Pac-10 meet.
Second to None: Perhaps senior Mark Mandi should have waited until the NCAA Championships to make his season debut. The Everett, Wash., native earned his second season-opening win in as many years Oct. 1 at the Willamette Invitational, in the process becoming the first Husky in more than a decade to earn multiple career victories. Mandi's 10-second win 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 in their career, while fewer than 10 have done so in the 37-year history of UW cross country. Mandi has been UW's top finisher at six of his last seven races, and has run 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 one member of the team's top-seven, and only five letterwinners in total, return from the Huskies' 2004 squad. Senior Angela Wishaar is the lone healthy returnee from the UW squad that ran 23rd at the NCAA Championships last year, 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 have accounted for the top-four UW finishers at each of the team's first three meets this season, including wins at the Sundodger and Willamette Invitationals, and a 10th-place finish at the Pre-National meet. Neglected in early national polls as a reflection of its losses from last season, Washington's women have risen to 26th on the backs of its mighty freshman class, including Tori Tyler (Los Altos, Calif.) and Brooke Lademan (Rolling Hills, Calif.) -- the team's top-two finishers at each meet this season -- as well as Annaliese Chapa (Portland, Ore.) and Anita Campbell (Aldergrove, B.C.), and redshirt freshmen Amanda Miller (Wenatchee, Wash.) and Dani Schuster (Kennewick, Wash.). All six are in the team's top-10 for this week's Pac-10 Championships, where they will be joined by one senior, one junior and two sophomores. Youth is no reason to doubt the Huskies' ability to keep their streak of 16-straight top-five Pac-10 finishes alive, though -- a 2003 UW squad including five freshmen placed fourth at Pac-10s, 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 streak ending in defeat to Idaho in 2004. The Huskies' win was a testament to the team's depth, as the team 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.
Streaking The Field: When Washington's women's team was awarded an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships last fall, the nation's sixth-longest active streak of NCAA Championships appearances was preserved. During the Huskies' streak, 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
1. 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
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.
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.
Meet the Coaches: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his fourth year as UW'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 ASU.