Track Head South to ASU, Auburn Invitationals
March 21, 2006
On the Track: After competing at home almost exclusively since the 2006 track and field season began in January, Washington will send its men's and women's teams on the road this weekend, with the UW throwers headed to Auburn's Springtime Invitational on Saturday, while the rest of the team competes Friday and Saturday in Tempe, Ariz., at the 2006 ASU Invitational. For a complete schedule of events in Auburn, visit www.auburntigers.com; for a complete schedule of events in Arizona, visit www.thesundevils.com.
Meet Results: Results of both the Springtime Invitational and ASU Invitational can be found at the official sites of hosts Auburn and ASU, www.auburntigers.com and www.thesundevils.com, respectively. In addition, a full recap of UW action at each meet, including records, quotes and notable qualifying marks, will be posted to GoHuskies.com at the conclusion of each day's events.
The Week That Was: The Huskies - coming off an outstanding indoor season - showed no signs of slowing down at last weekend's UW Outdoor Preview at Husky Stadium, the first official meet of the 2006 outdoor campaign. Twelve Huskies earned event victories - including a sweep of 800- and 1,500-meter crowns by sophomore Matt Owen - while three secured bids in the NCAA postseason by matching or exceeding the NCAA's regional-qualifying standards. Junior Martin Bingisser was the first to secure a Regional berth, winning Friday night's hammer-throw competition with a toss of 204 feet, 2 inches - the third-best of his UW career. On Saturday, senior Sam Roberts secured his Regional berth with a winning clearance of 17-0 _ in the pole vault, while sophomore Norris Frederick earned his with a winning 6-10 _ effort in the high jump.
Monster PR of the Week: From Dan Bell in the 1980s, to Greg Metcalf in the '90s and Mike Hill in the new millennium, Washington has always boasted depth in the steeplechase. Since Hill's Pac-10 title in 2002, however, the Huskies have struggled to find a true steepler among their ranks - perhaps, until now. At last week's UW Outdoor Preview, sophomore Brad Liber showed the potential to be the next in UW's long line of successes at the event - his winning time of 9 minutes, 10.74 seconds was the fastest by a UW steepler in three years, and was just two seconds off of the NCAA's Regional qualifying standard. The 10th-place finisher at 10,000 meters at the 2005 Pac-10 meet and one of four UW men to break 30 minutes in the event last season, Liber is trying to become the first Husky under the 10-minute mark in the steeple since Hill, who clocked an 8:46.92 during his championship season in 2002.
Rankings Report: Washington finished the indoor season unranked in both of Trackwire's polls, but among the top-10 teams in the nation in the USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings, which simulate head-to-head competition between the nation's elite collegiate teams. The UW men, however, ignored their Trackwire snub to finish in a tie for 19th at the NCAA Indoor Championships, while the Husky women narrowly missed scoring in the hurdles and pole vault. Both teams look to be among those ranked in the first release of Trackwire's outdoor rankings, due out next month.
Bound for Provo: Just one week into the 2006 outdoor campaign, three Huskies have already inked their names to the qualifying list for the 2006 NCAA West Regional Championships, May 26-27 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Those three will be among those competing for a limited number of automatic NCAA Championships berths (see note below), while also hoping to improve their marks on the descending order list from which provisional qualifiers will be selected. The 2005 Regional was history-making in every way for Washington, which crowned its first two Regional champions - Kate Soma in the pole vault and Ryan Brown at 800 meters - and saw 11 Huskies earn automatic NCAA berths, more than the team's total from the previous three Regionals, combined. Following is a list of each of UW's regional qualifiers in 2006:
* NOTE: -- The first regional and national rankings of the 2006 season will be posted to the NCAA website April 1.
NCAA Selection Process: Automatic NCAA Championships berths will be granted to the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relay teams from each of the four Regional Championships contested nationwide, May 27-28. Athletes qualify for Regionals by meeting pre-determined NCAA standards, or by winning their conference title. The NCAA will then supplement the Championships field with the highest-ranking competitors (roughly 6-7 per individual event and 5-6 per relay) from the national performance lists, provided the athlete competed at a Regional competition and was not among the finishers to earn automatic NCAA berths. The lone exceptions are the 10,000-meter and multi-events, in which athletes qualify directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting pre-determined provisional and automatic standards.
Walker Wins World Gold: While his former teammates were making history at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Mar. 12, former Husky Brad Walker was making history of his own at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Moscow, Russia. The 2004 UW grad lived up to his No. 1 world ranking with a gold-medal winning performance, the first of his international career. Walker's win wasn't without drama - the Spokane native suffered a head injury during qualifying-round warmups, and then went to his final attempt before 19-0 1/2 for the win. The 24-year-old Walker won his second-straight U.S. indoor title in February, and has won three straight U.S. crowns overall, including the 2005 U.S. outdoor title. Walker set a Pac-10 record and won two NCAA indoor championships at Washington from 2000-04, and has since excelled professionally, winning three U.S. titles and two world-championships medals. His lifetime best of 19-6 1/2 in the vault ranks sixth in U.S. history, and was the world's leading mark last season.
Amazing All-Americans: Washington's track and field teams are piling up All-America honors at a record pace. The Huskies combined for 10 All-America honors at March's NCAA Indoor Championships, and have earned a stunning 26 such honors since the start of the 2005 season - as many as UW athletes accumulated in the preceding five seasons combined. The UW's 10 such honors at the 2006 indoor championships tied the school's single-meet record set at last year's indoor meet, while the nine such honors by UW men were an all-time single-meet high. Washington has never had more All-Americans in a single year, total, than the 16 who achieved the accolade in 2005, while no more than 10 UW men have ever earned All-America honors in a single competitive year. Both records could be in serious jeopardy in 2006 - Washington enters the outdoor season with a record 12 All-Americans on its current roster, including four who achieved the honor at last year's NCAA Outdoor meet.
Relay Rewards: There's never been a better time to run on a UW relay than right now. Two Husky foursomes earned All-America honors at March's NCAA Indoor Championships - the first time in UW history that has happened - including a third-place finish for Washington's 4x4 that was the best-ever for a UW relay indoors, and the best by a UW 4x4, indoors or out, since winning the 1976 NCAA outdoor championship. In fact, since LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., took over UW's relay program in 2005, five of the Huskies' six relays have qualified for the NCAA Championships, with the sixth - the 2005 indoor 4x400-meter squad - falling just one spot shy on the NCAA's provisional-qualifying list. Of those five, three have earned All-America honors - a feat accomplished by just three UW relays in the previous 30 years - including back-to-back fifth-place finishes for UW's distance medley relay. Washington has had multiple relays at back-to-back NCAA Championships - something that had not occurred even once previously in 85 years of NCAA competition - and has put three of its four relays atop the UW record books, with the fourth (the 4x100-meter relay) clocking UW's second-fastest time ever, and the fastest by a UW relay in 22 years.
Elite Company: In leading both UW's 4x400-meter and distance medley relay squads to All-America honors at March's NCAA Indoor Championships, junior Ryan Brown and senior Bruce Jackson became two of just 10 Huskies ever to earn multiple All-America honors at one meet. Sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, UW's most prolific All-American with 10 career honors, holds the UW meet record with three All-America awards at the 1998 NCAA Indoor Championships, and is the only Husky ever to accomplish the All-America double more than once. Brown's honors, furthermore, were the third and fourth of his career, a total matched by just nine men in UW history, and exceeded by only four - Hooker (10), Scott Neilson (7), Rick Noji (6) and Steve Anderson (5). History is also in the making on the women's side, where junior Ashley Lodree's three All-America honors are tied for the fourth-most ever by a UW woman. Like Brown, Lodree has potentially three NCAA meets remaining to break the UW women's record (5), set by pole vaulter Kate Soma from 2002-05.
Passing the Baton: Washington's homegrown 4x400-meter squad - featuring three runners from the Seattle area - was electric at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, breaking a storied UW record with a time of 3:07.03 to finish third overall, the best-ever finish for a UW relay indoors. That the relay should have success should come as no surprise, considering that the Huskies return three of the four competitors from last year's squad which broke a 30-year-old UW outdoor record with a 3:03.85 at Pac-10s - including a 44.8-second anchor by returnee Bruce Jackson - and ran 11th at the NCAAs, after a 14th-place finish in 2004. Joining returnees Jackson (Seattle/Nathan Hale), Ryan Brown (Renton/Renton) and Grenada's Shane Charles are Seattle-area natives Jordan Boase of Bothell, an NCAA 4x1 participant in 2005 and an All-American on the 4x4 indoors this season; junior transfer Alex Harcourt of Kent, whose lifetime best of 46.57 tops any current Husky; and senior Phil McCary of Kirkland, the team's alternate in 2005 and an NCAA Championships participant in 2004. Those latter three vie for the spot vacated by Lake Washington alum Sean Williams, who ran on nine of UW's 20 top-10 4x4s, indoors plus outdoors, before graduating in 2005.
Brown is Back: Less than two years ago, Ryan Brown was out of track and field, having walked away from a promising career. Barely a year after returning to the sport last January, however, Brown is a Pac-10, West Regional and MPSF Champion, and is one of just 10 athletes in UW history to earn four-career All-America honors. Brown's turnaround began in last year's Pac-10 800-meter final, as the Renton native outkicked Pac-10 favorite Jon Rankin of UCLA down the homestretch to win in 1:47.31, the second-fastest in UW history and the eighth-best by a collegiate athlete in 2005. Just two weeks later, Brown outkicked Rankin again to win the same event at the NCAA West Regional, and capped the year with matching 10th-place finishes in the 800- and 4x400 meters at the NCAA Championships. In February, Brown made it two straight in conference championship finals, winning the MPSF Conference 800-meter crown in 1:50.35 to lift the UW men to their first-ever indoor conference title, before capping his indoor campaign with a pair of All-America honors in the 4x400 (3rd) and distance medley (5th) relays. Brown competed just one year at Renton High School, going undefeated at 800 meters as a senior. He walked on to the UW squad in 2002-03 and was terrific indoors, before leaving the team in the summer, stating a desire to focus on school over sports. Brown returned to the track in 2005, leading UW's DMR to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships and breaking UW's indoor 800-meter record, before embarking on his epic outdoor campaign. The junior enters the 2006 outdoor season with the nation's sixth-fastest returning mark at 800 meters, and will also run on UW's school-record 4x400m relay.
Half-Mile Madness: Don't be surprised to see Washington dominating the Pac-10's 800-meter rankings in 2006. In addition to Pac-10 and Regional champion Ryan Brown, Washington put a school-record four runners under 1:50 in the event last year, each of whom return in 2006. Sophomore Austin Abbott and seniors Bruce Jackson and Shane Charles joined Brown under the 1:50 mark in 2005, including a mark of 1:49.59 by Charles that is a UW record indoors, and a best of 1:47.31 by Brown that is UW's second-fastest outdoors. The foursome each rank among the Pac-10's top-11 returnees in 2005, and will be joined by a freshman class boasting outstanding talent in the middle-distance events. Prior to the 2005 season, Washington had only boasted one other year, 1992, in which as many as three men's runners broke the 1:50 mark, while prior to 2005, no two Huskies had done so in the same season since 1998.
The 'Lo' Down: Finally, Ashley Lodree can get back to business. The junior from Richmond, Calif., has been eager to run in a 100-meter hurdle final since clocking the seven-fastest 100-meter hurdles times of her life in her final seven races of the 2005 season, capped by a 13.17-posting at the USA Championships to match the UW record she set two weeks prior in the NCAA final. Lodree placed 10th at USAs and fifth at NCAAs, the latter good for her second All-America honor of the season. Prior to the year, some had wondered how Lodree could possibly top her breakout freshman season of 2004, which included two school records, five marks among UW's all-time top-10, an NCAA Championships appearance and a top-10 world junior ranking. Lodree, however, did just that, becoming just the sixth UW woman ever to earn multiple All-America honors and shattering her UW hurdles records indoors and out. Lodree also added to UW's all-time top-10 lists in each of the nine events in which she competed, and now boasts top-10 all-time marks in 10 of the 11 events she has attempted in her UW career, including four school records. In 2006, Lodree has already won a conference hurdles title and set two school records - in the 60- and 200-meter dashes -and placed ninth in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships to earn her third-career All-America honor, a total surpassed by just three UW women all-time. Lodree's indoor hurdles best of 8.16 seconds was the nation's ninth-fastest indoors, while her best 100-meter hurdles mark of 13.17 seconds ranks 10th among collegiate returnees this season.
Vault Supremacy: The 2005 season left little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting. An NCAA-record five UW women's vaulters competed at the NCAA Championships in 2005 - including four each indoors and out - while three earned All-America honors, and senior Kate Soma brought home the 2005 NCAA outdoor title. The story should be much the same in 2006, as four of the five return, including senior All-Americans Ashley Wildhaber (5th, indoors) and Carly Dockendorf (6th, outdoors), junior Stevie Marshalek and sophomore Kelley DiVesta. All five, including the departed Soma, boast bests above 13 feet, a feat never before accomplished by any NCAA quintet, while three of the five - including Soma, Wildhaber and Dockendorf - rank among the 10-best vaulters in Pac-10 history:
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
6. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
7. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
7. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
9. Carly Dockendorf, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4
9. Ashley Wildhaber, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4i
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
Double-Duty Dockendorf: There is no doubt that pole vaulter/gymnast Carly Dockendorf - the nation's No. 2 returning vaulter - is one of the finest two-sport athletes in Washington sports history. The Port Moody, B.C., native added to her legend last March with a 17th-place finish in the vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas, just 19 hours after competing in Utah for the Husky gymnastics team. Dockendorf then closed the 2005 campaign with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, her vault of 13-9 1/4 equal to the ninth-best mark in Pac-10 history, and the fifth-best mark ever by a Canadian citizen. Balancing two sports is nothing for Dockendorf - as a prep, Dockendorf competed in volleyball, wrestling, rugby and soccer, in addition to gymnastics. The UW senior scaled back to just two sports in college, earning back-to-back NCAA gymnastics berths in 2003 and 2004, and four-straight NCAA track berths from 2004-06, including an All-America performance outdoors last season. Amazingly, Dockendorf has been pole vaulting for less than four years, having begun the sport only after watching Husky vaulters train during her freshman gymnastics season in 2002. Dockendorf began her two-sport double on a full-time basis in 2003, winning All-America honors on the gymnastics floor while placing eighth in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Championships. She completed her gymnastics eligibility in 2005 with the most perfect 10s (six) of any UW gymnast all-time, and has one full year of track eligibility remaining in 2006.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Dana Buller, 2005, 14-9 1/2
2. Kelsie Hendry, 2005, 14-7 1/2
3. Stephanie McCann, 2004, 14-5 1/4
4. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 3/4
5. Carly Dockendorf, 2005, 13-9 1/4
6. Sue Kupper, 2005, 13-7 1/4
6. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
8. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
8. Adrienne Vangool, 2004, 13-5 3/4
10. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
Rare Double: From the first time she entered a vault competition - going 12-1 1/2 at Husky Stadium in 2002 - it was obvious that senior Carly Dockendorf, already a decorated UW gymnast, was in an elite class of athletes. In 2004, though, Dockendorf moved into a class all her own, qualifying individually for the NCAA Championships in both track and field and gymnastics. While it is not uncommon for an athlete to compete in multiple NCAA Championships in one year, to do so in two unrelated sports in which qualification is based on individual, not team, performance is extremely rare. She nearly repeated the feat in 2005, qualifying for the NCAA Track Championships indoors and out, but falling just one-tenth of a point shy of qualifying for the NCAA gymnastics meet in April.
Dazzling Debut: Sophomore Norris Frederick - already a regional qualifier in the high jump this season -- has done everything he could to back up the hype that accompanied his signing with UW. After earning All-America honors indoors with a sixth-place finish in the long jump, Frederick went outdoors and broke UW's freshman long jump record, qualified for the NCAA Championships in the high jump, and nabbed top-five Pac-10 finishes in both. In 2006, Frederick hasn't slowed a bit, clearing 25 feet, 2 1/2 inches to win the MPSF Conference long jump crown, before capturing a second-straight indoor All-America honor. The 20-year-old Roosevelt High School alum is already the only UW athlete ever to long jump 25 feet and high-jump seven feet in his career, boasting career bests of 25-6 1/4 and 7-0 1/2, respectively. Frederick launched six long jumps over 25 feet indoors in 2005, the best a 25-foot, 6 1/4 inch leap that led all NCAA freshmen indoors, and ranked eighth in the IAAF World Junior rankings. Frederick placed sixth in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet - tops by a UW long jumper since 1965 - and is one of just 12 Huskies ever to clear the seven-foot mark in the high jump. As a prep, Frederick ranked second among U.S. prep high jumpers in 2004 with a best of 7-1, and fourth among U.S. prep long jumpers at 24-10 1/2. Frederick literally jumped out of his shoes at the 2004 IAAF World Junior Championships, tearing apart the footwear which guided him to five state prep titles. With borrowed shoes, he placed 19th in both events, and closed the 2004 season ranked among the top-35 under-20 athletes in the world.
Four-Minute Man: Washington sophomore Austin Abbott ran into the history books at February's Husky Classic, becoming just the third Husky runner ever to break four minutes in the mile. Abbott's time of 3:59.47 was UW's third-fastest ever, and one of just 10 four-minute miles by collegiate athletes in the nation this year. A graduate of W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash., Abbott enjoyed a banner freshman season in 2005, capturing All-America honors in the distance medley relay, and earning a third-place finish in the Pac-10 1,500-meter final. Abbott also set UW freshman records in the 800 meters indoors, and the 1,500 meters outdoors, including a half-mile best of 1:49.64 that was a UW record for two weeks, before teammate Shane Charles bettered it with a 1:49.59 posting. While his four-minute mile and subsequent second-place finish at the MPSF Championships earned him fame this winter, Abbott unselfishly chose to forgo the mile in favor of the distance medley relay at March's NCAA Indoor Championships, ultimately anchoring the team to a fifth-place finish that matched its placing of the year before.
Brains And Brawn: In just two-plus years, junior Martin Bingisser has already captured an indoor conference title and posted UW's best marks in a decade in the hammer and weight throws (including a hammer mark of 204-2 in 2006 that is an NCAA regional qualifier) - but it's his accomplishments outside the cage that truly set him apart. A two-time third-place hammer finisher at the Pac-10 Championships and the 2006 MPSF Conference champion in the weight throw, Bingisser earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy in June after just three years of college, and is currently enrolled in the UW School of Lawl. The Interlake High School graduate, who plans to use his final two years of eligibility while pursuing his J.D., has been on a tear since transferring from Cal State Northridge in the fall of 2004, culminating with a 64-foot, 8 3/4-inch toss in March's indoor conference championships - just the second weight throw competition of his collegiate career. Bingisser's effort - UW's best since 1985 -echoed his success in the hammer throw, where the Bellevue native ranks fourth in UW history. In addition to his academic and athletic prowess, Bingisser is among the country's leading hammer scholars - his website, HammerCenter.com, provides the nation's most comprehensive coverage of the hammer at the prep and college level, plus videos and other instruction tools.
Remember Me?: To the casual Husky fan, senior Will Conwell may have fallen off the radar in 2003 when he gave up a career as a UW linebacker to throw the discus. After redshirting the 2003 season with two broken wrists, Conwell burst back onto the scene in 2004, taking fourth place at the Pac-10 meet, before adding a fifth-place finish in 2005. The Kent native - once expected to follow his uncle, UW legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory - has picked up in 2006 right where he left off last spring, improving his indoor bests in the shot put and weight throw by more than four feet each, while cracking UW's all-time top-10 in the latter with a toss of 58-0 1/4 at January's UW Indoor Invitational. Though he gave up football three years ago, Conwell is still following in his famous uncle's footsteps - a five-year track letterwinner at Washington, Ernie Conwell ranks fourth in UW history in the shot put, and placed fifth in the event at the 1996 NCAA Championships.
You Might Recall: The practice of mining talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for the Husky track program in the past. In fact, a glance at UW's career top-10s reveals several such performers, including 110m hurdles record-holder Spider Gaines, a tailback for the UW football team in the 1970s, and sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, the UW record-holder at 100m, 200m, and 400m and a Husky wide receiver from 1997-98. Others on the list include football players Ernie Conwell (No. 5, shot put), Dana Hall (No. 3, 110m HH), Sterling Hinds (No. 3, 100m/200m), Pete Kaligis (No. 6, shot put), Orlando McKay (No. 2, 400m), Brent Merritt (No. 6, 400m) and Tony Parrish (No. 5, triple jump), basketball players Tara Davis (No. 1, triple jump; No. 2, long jump) and Heather Reichmann (No. 2, javelin) and All-American volleyball star Makare Desilets (No. 5, high jump). UW's two-sport stars have excelled on the world stage, too - Herman Brix and Paul Jessup, stars of UW's football teams in the 1920s, each competed at the Olympics, and set world records in the shot put, and discus. Among current Huskies, football players Isaiah Stanback (No. 8, 60m) and J.R. Wolfork (No. 9, long jump), and former footballers Shelton Sampson (No. 3, 200m) and Will Conwell (No. 7, weight throw) each rank among UW's all-time best, as does former gymnast Carly Dockendorf (No. 2, pole vault).
NCAA Indoor Championships Redux: Washington's track and field teams combined for 10 All-America honors at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, equaling a UW single-meet record set just last year. An all-time best nine of those honors went to UW men, including top-five finishes in the 4x400-meter and distance medley relays, and a 12th-place effort in the long jump for sophomore Norris Frederick. Washington's 4x4 - including sophomore Jordan Boase, junior Ryan Brown and seniors Shane Charles and Bruce Jackson - earned a third-place finish, best-ever by a UW relay indoors, while the distance medley relay squad of Brown, Jackson and sophomores Carl Moe and Austin Abbott matched the 2005 DMR's fifth-place NCAA finish. Washington's women were also outstanding, with junior Ashley Lodree netting her third-career All-America honor (9th, 60m hurdles), and Carly Dockendorf (12th) and Stevie Marshalek (14th) each earning top-15 finishes in the women's pole vault.
NCAA Championships By the Numbers: At least one UW athlete has won an NCAA title in each of the last three seasons, the team's longest such streak since Scott Neilson's string of four-straight NCAA hammer crowns from 1976-79. Twenty-four UW athletes have combined for 29 NCAA titles overall, a total which ranks 22nd among NCAA institutions all-time. Additionally, the Huskies have placed 295 athletes on the All-America stand, including at least one in each of the last 14 years, and 44 of the last 46 years. Washington posted a UW single-meet record 10 All-Americans at the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, while the team's 16 total All-Americans in 2005 crushed the previous single-season UW best. A regular top-five finisher in the 1920s, Washington's men have placed among the top-15 at the NCAA meet nine times since 1970, including a high of fifth (tied) in 1979. The Husky women, meanwhile, boast five top-25 finishes, including a high of 10th in 1988, and a tie for 15th last year.
2006 MPSF Champions: Washington's men's team capped the major portion of its 2006 indoor season in dramatic fashion, defeating seven of the other eight Pac-10 teams for the 2006 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor conference title at Dempsey Indoor. The three individual titles, won by sophomore Norris Frederick (long jump) and juniors Martin Bingisser (weight throw) and Ryan Brown (800 meters), equaled the third-most conference titles in UW history - indoors or out - while the team's win was its first in confernce championship competition since winning the Pacific Coast Conference crown in 1928. The Huskies saw a 30-point day-two lead dwindle to just seven by meet's end, after scratches in the pole vault and triple jump and a dropped stick in the 4x400-meter relay. Still, Washington's 107 points were enough to hold off Stanford (100) and four-time defending champion UCLA (88) for UW's first-ever indoor conference crown. Junior Ashley Lodree's victory in the hurdles helped the UW women to fifth with 60.5 points, while Stanford won its fourth-straight MPSF women's crown with a 161-point total. In all, athletes competing at the two-day meet combined for 122 NCAA qualifying marks, while setting seven meet records and three facility bests.
Former Husky Returns: One new face on the Husky squad will be familiar to all who follow Washington track and field - former Husky Aretha (Hill) Thurmond returns to Montlake this year as a volunteer assistant throws coach, working alongside her husband, first-year UW assistant coach Reedus Thurmond. A four-time All-American during her time at Washington, the former Aretha Hill has made an even bigger name for herself since graduating from the UW in 1998, winning back-to-back U.S. discus titles in 2003 and 2004, and representing the United States at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games. Thurmond, who was elected captain of the U.S. team at the 2005 World Championships, boasts a discus best of 216-1 that is the third-best in U.S. history, while her collegiate best of 215-3 is a Pac-10 record, and is the second-best ever by a U.S. collegian. Interestingly, Thurmond is one of five former Huskies on the UW coaching staff, including head coach Greg Metcalf (UW, '93), assistant coach David Bazzi (UW, '01) and volunteer assistants Duncan Atwood (UW, '78), and Jacob Predmore (UW, '00).
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: 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 on the UW staff. Metcalf was recently named the 2006 MPSF Men's Coach of the Year, after leading the UW men to three individual conference crowns and the Huskies' first-ever indoor team title. In his first three-plus seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to three top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, and has guided the Husky men to three-consecutive top-30 indoor finishes, including a tie for 19th in 2006. Individually, 15 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with six grabbing All-America accolades, a list which does not include the team's All-America distance medley relays in 2005 and 2006. In addition, Metcalf has led the Huskies' women's cross country team to the NCAA meet eight of his first nine years at the helm. In eight years atop Washington's distance program, Metcalf has coached 17 All-Americans, six Pac-10 champions, 13 school-record setters and 74 NCAA Championships competitors. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeple, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.