Stanford Track & Field Team Kickoffs 2006 Season
Jan. 27, 2006
Stanford, Ca - They are back. It just seemed like yesterday that the Stanford men's and women's track & field ended their successful 2005 season at the NCAA Championship. Tonight in Seattle, the Cardinal begns its 2006 indoor and outdoor season at the Washington Indoor Invitational.
Under the direction of Edrick Floreal (Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track & Field), the 2006 Stanford men's track and field team will maintain its strength in the middle and long distance events, and add a solid group of throwers, sprinters and jumpers. The Cardinal will again field a team that will compete with the best teams on the national level and among the best teams in the Pacific-10 Conference. The national success for Stanford has been prolific, as the Cardinal has finished in the Top 10 at the NCAA Championships for seven of the past eight years, including a national title in 2000. Last year, buoyed by a victory by Michael Robertson in the discus, the Cardinal men finished seventh.
The return of several top student-athletes will boost Stanford's efforts in 2006. A number of other talented student-athletes that rank high on the Stanford all-time performance list in various events will complete a Cardinal roster that will be one of the most balanced in recent years. Add a group of newcomers with tons of potential and Stanford is prepared to return to the top at the Pac-10 Conference and NCAA levels.
It had been many years since a freshman made an impact among the sprint corps at Stanford University. Last year, then freshman Wopamo Osaisai arrived on the Stanford campus armed with a well-chronicled resume of outstanding results in both the 100 and 200 meters. Osaisai did not disappoint. Osaisai served notice that he will be a dominant force on both the Pac-10 level and the national level for the next three years. In 2005, Osaisai broke the long standing school record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.39 at the Junior Pan Am Championships in Canada. His time eclipsed the 1977 record of 10.40 of Gordon Banks. Osaisai also joined the ranks of some of the great Stanford sprinters including Larry Questad, James Lofton and Darrin Nelson. His fourth place finish among a strong group of sprinters at the NCAA West Regional vaulted Osaisai to a berth at the NCAA Track & Field Championships where he gained valuable experience running against some of the best collegiate veterans in the United States. Osaisai ended the 2005 season with a second place finish at the USA Junior Championship and then his record-breaking performance at the Junior Pan Am Championship. Osaisai also demonstrated his ability to run in several other events. His time of 21.04 in the 200 meters was a freshman school record and fifth best among Cardinal varsity sprinters. Osaisai also contributed his talents as a member of the 400 and 1600 meter relay teams. Osaisai ran the anchor leg on Stanford's 400 meter relay team which clocked a season-best time of 40.69, ninth-best in school history. Indoors, Osaisai was just as powerful. Osiasi set the school record in the 60 meters (6.83) as well as producing a time of 21.82 in the 200 meters which is fourth-best in school history. In the hurdles, Daniel Knickerbocker will be Stanford's top threat in both the 100 meter and 400 meter hurdles.
Russell Brown, Joaquin Chapa, Michael Garcia, Lauren Jespersen, Rolf Steier and Sean Drake are some of the names that will lead a Stanford middle distance crew that will again be one of the best in the nation in 2006. Brown is coming off an All-American season as a freshman on the indoor distance medley relay team, and will see action primarily in the 1500 meters. Last year, Brown had the team's second best time in the 1500 meters (3:41.72). Brown established that he will be one of the top middle distance runners in the Pac-10 and possibly on the national scene with experience running at the 2005 Pac-10 Championship, the NCAA West Regional, and the NCAA Championship in Sacramento. Brown completed his freshman season by competing in the 1500 meters at the U.S. Outdoor Championship. Chapa enjoyed a solid season in 2005 in the 800 meters (1:49.98) and the 1500 meters (3:43.22). His talents landed him a spot in the 1500 meters at the NCAA West Regional and the U.S. Outdoor Championship. Chapa, who gained his first All-America honor as a member of the indoor distance medley relay team at the NCAA Championship, also competes indoors in the mile. Expect a breakout season for the talented junior runner from Portland, Oregon. Garcia runs the 800 meters and based on his successful first year of competition in 2005, is poised to make a sizable impact on both the Pac-10 and national levels. Garcia will compete both indoors and outdoors in the 800 meters. His indoor time of 1:49.61 at the MPSF Championship as a freshman in 2005 is second-best in school history. Steier is another one of Stanford's veteran runners who has enjoyed success in the 1500 and 5000 meters as well as the 3000 meters indoors. Drake has provided solid depth the past two years in both the 800 and 1500 meters. A strong group of freshman middle distance runners are expected to see immediate action including Alex Greenburg and John McGuire. Greenburg was a California state finalist in the mile last year in high school, while McGuire set the Colorado state high school record in the 800 meters in 2005.
Replacing Ian Dobson and Ryan Hall, both 2005 Stanford graduates, won't be easy. Dobson and Hall combined to win 14 All-American honors, set several school records, won two NCAA individual titles, and maintained Stanford's status as one of the top cross country programs in the United States. Dobson was the 2005 indoor 5000 meter champion last year, and Hall won the outdoor 5000 meter crown later in the year. Dobson and Hall leave a lasting legacy of success on the Stanford campus, and their efforts will be tough to duplicate. However, as is the case with the distance running program at Stanford, you replace great runners with other great runners. Neftalem Araia, David Vidal, Jonathan Pierce, Forrest Tahdooahnippah and Brett Gotcher are just a few of the many names who will again spearhead a dominant distance running corps for Stanford in 2006. Araia performed like a seasoned veteran in 2005 although it was his only first year of collegiate competition. He ran the ninth fastest time in school history in the 5000 meters (13:44.78), competed in the finals at the NCAA West Regional and United States Outdoor Championship, and finished third in the 10,000 meters at the Pac-10 Championship. Araia then started the 2005-06 academic year by being Stanford's top runner on the nationally-ranked cross country team that finished sixth at the NCAA's. Araia has been an All-American the last two seasons in cross country. Vidal emerged as one of the top 3000 meter steeplechasers in the Pac-10 and the NCAA West Regional last year. His experience and talent could make an impact on the national scene in 2006. His second place time of 8:43.07 at the Pac-10 Championship was fourth-best in school history. Pierce competed in three events (1500 meters, 3000 meter steeplechase, 5000 meters) last year for the Cardinal and no doubt his best event was the steeplechase. A finalist at both the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional, Pierce's time of 8:45.84 at the West Regional was fifth-best in Stanford history. Pierce, a contributing member of Stanford's nationally-ranked cross country team, has the talent and versatility to compete both indoors and outdoors in events ranging from the 800 to the 5000 meters. Tahdooahnippah, as a redshirt freshman in 2005, ran both the 5000 and 10,000 meters. He gained valuable experience in running the 5000 meters at the NCAA West Regional. Tahdooahnippah also was valuable member of the cross country team during the 2005 season. Stanford has enjoyed a rich tradition in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Championship. Three NCAA champions since 1998 have been from Stanford. Gotcher has the potential to make an impact on the national level. Gotcher has competed at the NCAA's in the 10,000 meters the last two years and his experience competing at that level only help him again throughout the 2006 campaign. Gotcher also has competed in the 1500 meters through the 5000 meters for Stanford.
JumpsOne of the top horizontal jump tandems in the Pac-10 Conference will lead the Cardinal again in 2006. Seniors Solomon Welch and Feranmi Okanlami have served as the leaders of the jumpers at Stanford the past three years, and both student-athletes are ready to further change the Cardinal record book in 2006. Last year, Welch and Okanlami placed their names in the Top 10 record book in the triple jump. Welch became Stanford's second all-time leading triple jumper with an effort of 51-9 (15.77m) while Okanlami moved to seventh all-time on The Farm with a career-best effort of 50-5 ¼ (15.37m). Welch's fifth place effort at the NCAA West Regional earned him a berth to the NCAA Track & Field Championship in Sacramento. Indoors, Okanlami came within two inches of the school record in the triple jump with a mark of 50-0 (15.24m) at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championship.
Graeme Hoste and Ben Dickens return to lead a young and talented pole vault squad. With the addition of Alabama state record holder, Donell Hill, and Jesuit High School record holder, Kelly McGrath, Stanford could see its first trio of 17-foot vaulters. Hoste had an impressive freshman year, vaulting 16-7. This mark placed him second all-time on the freshman list and earned him a spot at the NCAA regionals. Look for him to move into the top three all-time this year and compete at the indoor and outdoor NCAA Champtionships.
Michael Robertson's victory in the discus at the NCAA Track & Field Championship helped propel Stanford to a seventh place team finish. Robertson had been ranked second among collegiate throwers in the nation last year, but on his fifth of sixth throws at the NCAA Championship he upset the favorite, Vikas Gowda, the 2004 Olympian from India, who competed for North Carolina. Robertson became the first Stanford athlete in 40 years to the win the national title in the discus with a school record effort of 202-5 (61.70m). Robertson also became the eighth Stanford athlete to have captured the NCAA title in the discus since Clifford Hoffman won the title in 1921. En route to his NCAA title, Robertson also won the discus title at the NCAA West Regional and the Pac-10 Championship. Expect more of the same outstanding results from the Cardinal senior in 2006. Robertson's talents also extend into the hammer and shot put. Michael Macellari is Stanford's top returnee in the shot put. Macellari, a member of the Stanford football team, gained experience competing not only at the Pac-10 Championship but the NCAA West Regional as well. Daniel Schaerer emerged as one of the top discus throwers in the Pac-10 last year. Schaerer, as a freshman in 2005, gained valuable experience competing at the NCAA West Regional and the Pac-10 Championship. Keith Avila and Bryan Kelley have emerged as two of the better javelin competitors in the Pac-10 Conference. Avila threw the javelin a career-best 194-11 (59.41m) which is fifth-best in school history while Kelley had a mark of 191-2 (58.26m) which is seventh-best in school history.
Sophomore Josh Hustedt will lead the multi-event group. Hustedt's talents in the long jump, pole vault, hurdles and high jump will provide him with scoring potential at the national level. Look for Hustedt to break the indoor school record in the heptathlon and compete at the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships.2006 Stanford Women's Track and Field OutlookProminent, nationally ranked student-athletes will lead the Cardinal in 2006
The Stanford Women
Since the arrival of Coach Edrick Floreal (Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track & Field) in 1999, Stanford University has steadily become one of the premier women's track and field programs in the United States. For the past seven years, the Cardinal women have consistently finished among the elite teams at the Pac-10 and NCAA Championship meets. Last year, Stanford set eleven school records to help the Cardinal win the Pac-10 Championship, NCAA West Regional Championship, and to place fifth at the NCAA Track & Field Championship. The Pac-10 title was the first in school history and broke UCLA's eight-year stronghold on the conference title. The fifth place showing at the NCAA outdoor championship was the highest finish for the Cardinal since 1992 when it placed fourth. The Stanford women started the 2005-06 academic year with its third NCAA cross country title. In 2006, the Stanford women will look to continue its supremacy as Pac-10 Champions, as well as a NCAA title contender. A haven for the top young middle and long distance runners in the United States, the women's track and field team at Stanford University has expanded to include the nation's best sprinters, jumpers and throwers as well. The Cardinal women will have an athlete that is able to score points at the Pac-10 Championships and capable of qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in nearly every track and field event. Strengthened by six returning All-Americans and several NCAA West Regional and Pac-10 champions, Stanford is well equipped to have a successful 2006 indoor and outdoor season.
Stanford has developed many of the finest women sprinters in the United States. The 2005 season best exemplified Stanford's national caliber status in the sprints and hurdles as several school records were set and the Cardinal were among the nation's elite in the sprint relays. In 2006, every member of the deep and talented Stanford sprint and hurdle squad returns for another promising season. Janice Davis, Nashonme Johnson, Ashley Purnell, Jakki Bailey and Chauntae Bayne (Hackett) are the nucleus of this group. These talented athletes have rewritten the Stanford record books and are poised to contribute to another Pac-10 title and a top 10 finish nationally. Davis, a two-time All-American, has emerged as one of the premier sprinters in the Pac-10 as both a 100 and 200 meter runner, as well as a member of the 400 and 1600 meter relay teams. Davis' name appears in the Stanford record book in the 100 meters (11.47, #2 all-time at Stanford), the 200 meters (23.62, #4 all-time at Stanford), the 60 meters (7.31, school record) and the 200 meters (23.70). Davis' 100 meter time was set last year as she won the NCAA West Regional title. The 200 meter time was set at the Stanford Invitational. Davis also is a member of the school record holding 1600 meter relay team (3:29.39) which finished sixth at the NCAA Championship, thus earning Davis All-American honors. Davis also ran the second leg on Stanford's indoor 1600 meter relay team which set the school record (3:34.92) at the Arkansas Tyson Invitational. Nashonme Johnson, a two-time All-American, has etched her name in the Stanford record book on several occasions. Johnson played a pivotal role in helping the Cardinal women win the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional titles in 2005. Johnson ran the third leg on the second place 400 meter relay team at the Pac-10 championship as well as finishing third in the 400 meters. Johnson then put her talents in high gear at the NCAA West Regional as she ran the third leg on Stanford's winning 1600 meter relay team. She also finished second in the 400 meters and ran the third leg on the fourth place 400 meter relay team. During the 2005 indoor season, Johnson proved to be a valuable by helping the Cardinal win the 2005 MPSF Indoor Championship with victories in the 400 meters and as a member of the 1600 meter and distance medley relay teams. Johnson's experience at the Pac-10 Championships, NCAA West Regionals, and NCAA Championships bodes well for success during the 2006 indoor and outdoor seasons. Johnson's name appears in the school record book with outdoor times of 11.64 in the 100 meters (#3 all-time at Stanford), 23.61 in the 200 meters (#3 all-time at Stanford), 52.40 in the 400 meters (school record), and the 400 meter relay (44.18, school record). Johnson also ranks in the Top 10 indoor record book with times of 7.84 in the 60 meters (#7 all-time), 24.71 in the 200 meters (#7 all-time) and the 400 meters (#5 all-time). Ashley Purnell, whose sister competes on the nationally-ranked Cardinal gymnastics team, has established herself as one of the top Pac-10 sprinters with a 2005 outdoor season in which she set career-bests in the 100 meters (11,68, #4 in school history) and the 200 meters (23.43, #2 in school history). Indoors, Purnell set a school record in the 400 meters with a time of 53.57. Purnell also ran the anchor leg on the school's 400 meter relay team outdoors and the 1600 meter relay team indoors. Jakki Bailey provides depth in the 100 meters and the 400 meter relay. Chaunte Bayne (Hackett) returns to the Cardinal varsity after sitting out the 2005 outdoor season. Bayne's talents will give Stanford added depth in the 100 and 200 meters outdoors and the 60 meters and 200 meters indoors. Bayne also has the experience to compete on both relay teams. In 2003, Bayne's time of 11.81 in the 100 meters during her freshman season still remains seventh-best time in school history.Sophomore Deborah Akinniyi will add depth in the hurdles. Akinniyi competed in the 100 meter hurdles where her time of 14.30 last year is ninth-best in school history
Year after year, Stanford produces some of the finest collegiate middle distance runners, and this year is no exception. Five of Stanford's top seven 1500 meter runners return from a team that helped the Cardinal capture the Pac-10 title, an NCAA West Regional crown and a fifth place performance at the NCAA Championship in Sacramento. Heading the list of talented returnees is Arianna Lambie who has emerged as one of the top young middle distance runners in school history. Lambie, a four-time All-American began the 2005-06 school year by helping the Cardinal win the NCAA Championship in cross country. Lambie's was also the NCAA West Regional and Pac-10 Runner of the Year in cross country. In the 2005 track season Lambie served noticed that she is one of the best middle distance runners in the nation. Outdoors, Lambie posted a season-best time of 4:13.64 to finish third at the NCAA Track & Field Championship in Sacramento. Earlier in the year, Lambie captured the indoor mile at the MPSF Championship with a time of 4:39.01, the third-best time in school history. She then finished ninth at the NCAA Indoor Championship at Arkansas. Lambie first emerged as a factor on the national scene two years ago when she turned in the nation's #1 time for a freshman at 4:13.14. That time is still her career-best, a freshman school record and fourth-best in school history. Also in the 1500 meters are Katy and Amanda Trotter and Teresa McWalters. Katy Trotter has gained All-American honors three times in her two years on The Farm. Last year during the outdoor season, Katy displayed her talents not only in the 1500 meters but the 3000 meter steeplechase and the 5000 meters as well. Katy also competed indoors in the mile and 3000 meters. Look for Katy to give Stanford a dominant presence nationally, both indoors and outdoors. Katy is coming off an outstanding 2005 cross country season. She was Stanford's second runner at the NCAA Championships to gain All-America honors. Amanda Trotter, like her sister, is talented in several running events. Last year during the outdoor season, Amanda ran events from the 800 meters through the 5000 meters. McWalters continues to get better and better each year. McWalters ran the 1500 meters and 5000 meters last year. She earned All-American honors in the 5000 meters at the 2005 NCAA Track & Field Championships, where she placed third. McWalters also played a key role in Stanford's winning effort at the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championship. Chinny Offor gives Stanford potential points at the Pac-10, Regional and NCAA Championship meets. Offor ran a career-best 2:06.42 in the 800 meters at the NCAA Championships last year. The Cardinal has plenty of quality depth with the likes of Lindsay Allen, Julie Allen, Clair Cormier, Lindsay Flacks, Katie Harrington, Laura Mottaz and Celia Smalls. The freshman class is outstanding. The list of talented newcomers includes Alicia Follmar, Mary Liz McCurdy, Madeleine O'Meara. Follmar ran as a true freshman on Stanford's NCAA Championship cross country team in 2005.
Thanks largely to the members of the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championship team, the Cardinal will continue to be the one of the most dominant distance programs in the United States. That has been the case for the past several years, and that will be the case in 2006. Great runners like Sara Bei and Alicia Craig graduated in 2005, but there are several returning runners who will continue the rich tradition of great distance running at Stanford. In the 5000 meters, the top returnee is Teresa McWalters, who helped propel the Cardinal cross country to the NCAA title in 2005. Competing in her first outdoor 5000 meter race last year at the NCAA Championship in Sacramento, McWalters ran a strong race against the nation's top collegiate runners, and finished in third to earn All-American honors. McWalters gained entrance to the NCAA's with a second place finish at the NCAA West Regional in Eugene, Oregon. Katie Harrington and Lindsay Flacks are two young Stanford runners who will emerge as top collegiate runners in 2006. Harrington, who ran for the winning Stanford team at the NCAA Cross Country Championship, showed her versatility last year as a freshman by running the 1500, 5000 and 10,000 meters. Her season-best time of 16:45.12 qualified her for the NCAA West Regional. At the Pac-10 Championship, Harrington finished fifth in the 10,000 meters. Flacks, like Harrington, ran the 1500, 5000 and 10,000 meters as a frosh runner at Stanford last year, and her third place finish in the 10,000 meters helped the Cardinal win its first Pac-10 conference title. A time of 16:48.08 in the 5000 meters qualified her for the NCAA West Regional where she was a finalist. Flacks appears ready to continue her success after an outstanding cross country season in 2005. Flacks ran on Stanford's NCAA title winning team. There will be a bus load of talented depth with the likes of Julie Allen and Amanda and Katy Trotter. Freshmen to look for include Alicia Follmar, Mary Liz McCurdy, Madeleine O'Meara. In two of the last three years, Stanford has produced an NCAA champion in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Championship. Look for Julie Allen, Lindsay Flacks and Katie Harrington to dominate that event throughout the year for Stanford. The 3000 meter steeplechase has also been a strong event for the Cardinal in recent years, and this year will be no exception. Jeane Goff, who had been one of the team's top steeplechasers in school history, has graduated, but look for top performances from such events as Lindsay Allen and Katy and Amanda Trotter. Allen, who is only a sophomore, captured the 2005 United States Junior Outdoor championship, and went on to earn the bronze medal at the Junior Pan Am Games in Canada. Her time of 10:26.71 at the Stanford Invitational is fifth-best in school history. Amanda Trotter has been a Pac-10 finalist in the steeplechase the last two conference meets, and has qualified both years at the NCAA West Regional. Her time of 10:36.73 last year at the conference championship is sixth-best in Stanford history. Katy Trotter became the school record holder in the steeplechase (10:07.55) two years ago. Her time is also the American Junior Record and third fastest in Pac-10 history. Last year, her second place finish helped the Cardinal to victory at the Pac-10 Championship.
The jumps group includes talented athletes in the long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault. Erica McLain enjoyed one of the greatest freshman seasons in history of Stanford track & field last year. McLain established herself as one of the great collegiate triple jumpers in the country and has the potential to be one of the all-time great competitors in the United States and beyond. Last season, McLain often stepped to the victory podium against some of the best competition in the country. At the United States Outdoor Track & Field Championship, McLain captured the national title with an American junior mark of 45-11 (14.01m). This qualified McLain for the World Track & Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland. She helped Stanford win the Pac-10 championship with victories in the triple jump and long jump to become the first athlete to win both events at the Pac-10 championships. A second place effort at the NCAA West Regional and a third place effort at the NCAA Championship earned McLain All-American honors. Deborah Akinniyi also enjoyed an outstanding freshman season in 2005. Expect more improvement in 2006. Akinniyi gained valuable experience competing at the USA Junior National Championship, the NCAA Outdoor Championship, the NCAA West Regional and the Pac-10 Championship. Her collegiate triple best of 41-4 (12.60m) is third-best in school history, while her indoor mark of 39-6 (12.04m) is sixth-best in the school record book. Freshman sensation Lauren Stewart will add depth and national scoring potential in the long, triple and high jump. This multi-talented athlete will also compete in the multi-events. Joining Stewart in the high jump will be junior Lindsey Gannaway. Gannaway brings Pac 10 scoring experience and the ability to score at the national level. Two other high jumpers to watch are sophomores Maura Burk and Tessa Flippin. Both have the ability to score at the Pac 10 level. Sam Shepard and Anna McFarlane return to lead the cardinal pole vault squad. Samantha Shepard, a senior, is the most experienced pole vaulter on the team in 2006. She has competed at the NCAA West Regionals the last three years. Anna McFarlane has the potential to set a school record indoor and outdoor in the pole vault. As a freshman, McFarlane performed like a season veteran with a season-best of 12-11 (3.96m) at the NCAA West Regionals.
This is an area which showed marked improvement during the course of the 2005 season, and several key student-athletes return this year. Sarah Hopping and Katy Elsbury lead a strong group of competitors in the hammer. Hopping has served notice that she will be one of the top hammer throwers not only at the Pac-10 level but also on the national scene as well. Last year, Hopping set a school record in finishing second at the NCAA West Regional with a throw of 204-2 (62.23m). That mark earned her a berth at the NCAA Championship in Sacramento. Earlier in the year, Hopping's third place finish in the hammer gave Stanford key points in helping the Cardinal women to its first Pac-10 title. Hopping ended her excellent season by competing at the United States Outdoor Championship. Indoors, Hopping threw the 20-lb weight a career-best 56-8 1/.2 (17.28m) which is fourth-best in school history. Elsbury, like Hopping, enjoyed an excellent season in 2005. Her mark of 186-8 (56.91m) at the Cardinal Invitational was fifth-best in school history. Sophomore Melissa Yunghans will carry the load for the Cardinal in the shot put. Yunghans was Stanford's top performer in the shot put as a freshman last year with a mark of 52-4 (15.97m) at the NCAA West Regional. That mark which was fourth-best in school history. Yunghans later competed at the United States Junior National Championship. Yunghans also will be one of Stanford's competitors in the discus. Yunghans will join a strong group of student-athletes in the discus. The list includes Sara Jacobsen, Sally Mills and Stephanie Benight. Jacobsen returns as Stanford's top discus thrower. Mills achieved personal bests in the discus, shot put and javelin last year whileBenight provides valuable depth. Danielle Maier set the freshman school record and third best in the varsity record book in the javelin last year with a mark of 150-2 (45.78m). Her experience competing at the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships will add to her success in 2006.
The young group of multi-events will be lead by freshman Lauren Stewart. Stewart's ability to be competitive in many of the open events makes her a threat nationally in the pentathlon and heptathlon. Depth will be provided by Deborah Akinniyi and Dani Maier. Akinniyi's long jump and hurdle ability makes her a scoring threat at the Pac 10 level.