Huskies, Cougars Tangle in Palouse
April 25, 2006
On the Track: One of the nation's oldest track and field rivalries will be renewed Saturday when Washington travels east to Pullman to battle archrival Washington State in the 91st UW-WSU Dual. Both the Washington men (19th) and the WSU women (21st) rank among the nation's top-25 teams, and are each looking to repeat victories at last year's dual in Seattle. Saturday's edition of the long-running rivalry features some of the top collegiate athletes in the nation, including UW thrower Will Conwell and sprinter Ashley Lodree, and WSU multi-eventers Julie and Diana Pickler. Events begin with the pole vault at 11:00 a.m., and conclude with the 4x400-meter relay at 4:20 p.m. For more information, visit www.wsucougars.com.
UW-WSU Dual Meet History: The two schools' men's squads have squared off 90 times since an inaugural 74-41 UW win in 1900, including a 110.5-92.5 Washington win in 2005. The Huskies will have to win a few more, however, if they are to catch the Cougars, who lead the all-time series 57-32-1, largely on the strength of a 22-meet winning streak from 1976-95. Washington's women, meanwhile, hold a historical 19-11 edge over WSU in the series; however, it's all been all Cougars of late, with only a 108-95 UW win in 2004 breaking up a string of eight wins in nine meets for WSU since the start of the 1998 campaign.
Event Schedule: Following is a complete schedule for events for Saturday's UW-WSU Dual at Washington State's Mooberry Track and Field Complex in Pullman, Wash. All times are Pacific and subject to change:
11:00 a.m. -- Pole Vault (W)
11:00 a.m. -- Long Jump (W)
11:00 a.m. -- Javelin (W)
12:00 p.m. -- Hammer (M)
12:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault (W)
12:00 p.m. -- High Jump (W)
12:30 p.m. -- Long Jump (M)
12:30 p.m. -- Shot Put (W)
12:45 p.m. -- Javelin (M)
1:15 p.m. -- Steeplechase (W)
1:30 p.m. -- Steeplechase (M)
1:45 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay (W)
1:50 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Triple Jump (W)
2:00 p.m. -- 1500m Run (W)
2:10 p.m. -- 1500m Run (M)
2:15 p.m. -- Shot Put (M)
2:15 p.m. -- Discus (W)
2:20 p.m. -- 100m Hurdles (W)
2:25 p.m. -- 110m Hurdles (M)
2:30 p.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
2:30 p.m. -- High Jump (M)
2:30 p.m. -- 400m Dash (W)
2:35 p.m. -- 400m Dash (M)
2:40 p.m. -- 100m Dash (M)
2:45 p.m. -- 100m Dash (M)
2:50 p.m. -- 800m Run (W)
2:55 p.m. -- 800m Run (M)
3:05 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles (W)
3:15 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles (M)
3:15 p.m. -- Triple Jump (M)
3:20 p.m. -- 200m Dash (W)
3:25 p.m. -- 200m Dash (M)
3:30 p.m. -- Discus (M)
3:30 p.m. -- Hammer (W)
3:30 p.m. -- 3000m Run (W)
3:55 p.m. -- 3000m Run (M)
4:15 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (W)
4:20 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (M)
Meet Results: Complete results from the 2006 UW-WSU Dual will be posted to GoHuskies.com shortly after the conclusion of the final event. In addition, a full recap of the meet, including notes, quotes and event details will be posted to GoHuskies.com later Saturday evening.
UW Men Scoring Big: Washington's men enter Saturday's dual meet with Washington State riding the crest of a pair of significant victories in scoring competitions this year. In February, the UW men defeated seven of the other eight Pac-10 track squads for the MPSF Indoor Conference title at Dempsey Indoor, the first conference title of any kind for a UW men's squad since 1928. The Huskies then proved they could win on the road with an upset of seventh-ranked Oregon at Hayward Field in April's Pepsi Invitational, holding on with a victory in the final event for a 178 2/3-176 win over their conference rival. That win was Washington's first over Oregon since 2000, and just its fourth win in Eugene sinec 1967. The Huskies also fared well in their only other scoring competition of the 2006 campaign -- the NCAA Indoor Championships -- tying for 19th overall, and third among Pac-10 teams.
Monster PR of the Week: For the third time already this season, this space recognizes a UW quarter-hurdler -- only this time, it's a Husky women's athlete earning the acclaim. Freshman Falesha Ankton was terrific at last weekend's Oregon Invitational, taking nearly three full seconds off of her personal best in the event with a time of 1:02.82, good for sixth in a strong field. And it's not as if Ankton had only run once or twice at the distance -- Saturday's race was the fifth quarter-hurdles of the Benecia, Calif., native's collegiate career, including a previous best of 1:05.50 on the same Hayward Field track just three weeks earlier. At 1:02.82, Ankton is within two seconds of the event's Regional standard, and ranks 12th in the Pac-10 Conference.
Rankings Report: After a victory at Oregon on Apr. 8 and impressive performances each of the past two weekends, Washington's men's track and field team shot to 19th in the current Trackwire collegiate rankings, which predict team scores at the upcoming NCAA Championships. Shane Charles earned eight points with a projected second-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles, as did Will Conwell with a No. 2 projection in the discus. Hammer thrower Martin Bingisser also earned a mention for the UW men at No. 11, while Norris Frederick was the 11th-ranked competitor in the long jump. The UW women scored four points in the ranking -- six shy of that needed for top-25 mention --all on the strength of a projected fifth-place hurdles finish for junior Ashley Lodree. Junior Amy Lia was the only other UW woman ranked by Trackwire, earning a No. 10 nod in the 1,500 meters. Texas' women (61 points) and Florida State's men (58) continue to lead both rankings, which include three Pac-10 teams among the top-10 on the women's side, and two conference squads among the top-10 men's teams.
Bound for Provo: With four weeks remaining in the collegiate regular season, Washington has already qualified 21 athletes for the 2006 NCAA West Regional, including a regional-leading long jump mark for sophomore Norris Frederick, and a pair of top-five regional marks in the 800- and 1,500-meters for sophomore Austin Abbott. This year's NCAA West Regional, May 26-27 at BYU, is one of four regionals nationwide at which athletes will seek automatic NCAA Championships berths, while also seeking to improve their marks on the NCAA's descending order list, from which provisional qualifiers will be selected (see note below). The 2005 Regional was history-making for UW, 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. For a complete list of UW's 2006 regional qualifiers, see the box on page three.
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 26-27. 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.
Balanced Attack: One look at the current Pac-10 rankings reveals the secret behind the success of Washington's men's track and field team in 2006 -- traditionally recognized for its success in the distance and throwing events, Washington boasts legitimate Pac-10 title contenders in every event area, and has at least one athlete among the conference's top-five in 14 of 21 events. Senior Shane Charles is tied for first in the conference -- and second in the nation -- in the 400-meter hurdles with a best of 50.12 seconds, while sophomore Norris Frederick boasts the Pac-10's No. 1 long jump mark (25-5 1/4), and is the fifth-ranked competitor in the high jump (7-0 1/4). The Huskies' 4x400-meter relay squad -- third at the NCAA Indoor Championships -- ranks fourth overall (3:07.03), while sophomore walk-on Jordan Boase is the Pac-10's No. 4 competitor in the 200 meters (21.19). And that's not to say that Washington has in any way lost its edge in its formerly dominant events -- sophomore Austin Abbott ranks second in the Pac-10 in both the 800 (1:49.45) and 1,500 meters (3:41.27c), while redshirt freshman Jeremy Mineau ranks fourth at 5K (13:54.03) and second at 10K (28:49.69). Throwers Will Conwell (3rd, discus, 200-1) and Martin Bingisser (2nd, hammer, 212-4) are also among the conference favorites, while senior Juan Romero ranks fourth in the javelin (220-10).
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. A 177-foot discus thrower entering the 2006 season, Conwell has made a rapid ascent up the collegiate rankings, culminating with a 200-1 toss at San Diego in April that ranks sixth on the NCAA performance list, and is the fifth-best by an American thrower this year. The Kent, Wash., native's effort earned him the Pac-10's Field Athlete of the Week award on Apr. 24 -- just the 10th time a UW men's athlete has received the conference honor -- and vaulted him to No. 2 in the Trackwire collegiate rankings, which predict the order of finish at the NCAA Championships. Once expected to follow his uncle, UW legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory, Conwell has instead followed in his famous uncle's track and field footsteps-- the elder Conwell was a five-year track letterwinner at Washington, ranks fourth in UW history in the shot put, and placed fifth in the event at the 1996 NCAA Championships.
The `Lo' Down: Finally, Ashley Lodree can get back to business. The junior from Richmond, Calif., was on fire at the end of the 2005 season, clocking the seven-fastest hurdles times of her life in her final seven races of the year, including a 13.17-second effort in the semifinals at the U.S. Nationals that tied the UW record she set two weeks prior in the NCAA final. Nine months later, Lodree picked up where she left off with a 13.20 posting in her season debut in March, then followed that up with a wind-aided 13.09 performance at Mt. SAC to claim the No. 4 spot in the current NCAA rankings. Lodree enters 2006 looking to improve upon her fifth-place finish at last year's NCAAs, while adding to the three All-America honors she has already earned, including two indoors in the 60m hurdles (10th, 2005; 9th, 2006) and last year's outdoor effort. With more than a year remaining in her UW career, Lodree could surpass Kate Soma's UW record of five All-America honors, while also seeking UW's first-ever NCAA hurdles title. Lodree boasts top-10 all-time marks all 11 of the events she has attempted in her UW career, including four school records -- no other woman in UW history has ever ranked on as many of UW's all-time lists, while just one, distance runner Regina Joyce, has held as many UW records.
Relay Rewards: There's never been a better time to run on a UW relay than right now. Currently ranked 12th nationally, the Huskies 4x400-meter squad is seeking to do something never before accomplished at UW: qualify for three-straight NCAA Championship events. 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 4x400-meter relay 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) clockingUW's second-fastest time ever, and the fastest by a UW sprint 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 Washington 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 HS), Ryan Brown (Renton/Renton HS) and Grenada's Shane Charles are Seattle-area natives Jordan Boase of Bothell, an NCAA 4x100-meter 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 Washington's 20 top-10 4x4s, indoors and 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.
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 --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 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 Law. 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 2004, culminating with a 64-foot, 8 3/4-inch toss at March's indoor conference meet -- just the second weight throw competition of his UW career. Bingisser's throw, UW's best since 1985, echoed his success in the hammer, where the Bellevue native ranks third in UW history -- and 13th in the nation this year -- with a lifetime-best of 212-4, set at Auburn in March. In addition to his academic and athletic prowess, Bingisser is among the country's leading hammer scholars -- his website, HammerCenter.com, provides comprehensive coverage of the hammer at the prep and college level, plus videos and other instruction tools.
Dazzling Debut: Sophomore Norris Frederick 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, capturing a second-straight indoor All-America honor, and clearing a lifetime outdoor-best 25-5 1/4 (wind-aided) to climb to third in the current NCAA rankings. 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 seven feet 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 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 2004 ranked among the top-35 under-20 athletes in the world.
Half-Mile Madness: Don't be surprised to see Washington athletes litter 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 are 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.
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 1/4v7. 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 ¼
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.
10,000-Meter Talent: Those who only follow UW track and field outdoors may not have heard of redshirt freshman Jeremy Mineau, but they certainly have now. Making his outdoor debut in March before a hometown crowd at Stanford, the Menlo Park, Calif., native obliterated UW's freshman record in the 10,000 meters and climbed to second on UW's all-time list. Mineau's time of 28:49.69 -- second this year by a collegiate freshman and 13th in the nation overall -- was just the third sub-29 minute 10K in UW history, and was just 15 seconds shy of David Bazzi's school record. Mineau had already made a name for himself during the indoor and cross country seasons, where he has been one of UW's top competitors since the start of 2004-05. Mineau broke a storied UW indoor record at 5,000 meters this season, clocking a 13:54.03 in February, and was UW's top finisher, in 93rd, at the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Should Mineau earn his first NCAA track berth this season (the top 23-25 athletes in the final 10,000-meter rankings will be selected to the Championships field in June), he will have history on his side -- both of UW's other sub-29 minute runners, Bazzi in 2001 (28:34.54) and Curt Corvin in 1986 (28:58.2h) went on to earn All-America honors in their sub-29 seasons.
Four-Minute Man: Sophomore Austin Abbott ran into the history books at February's Husky Classic, becoming just the third UW 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 indoors 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 placing third in the Pac-10 1,500-meter final. Abbott also set UW freshman records in the 800 meters indoors, and the 1,500 outdoors, including a half-mile best of 1:49.64 that was briefly a UW record. While his four-minute mile and subsequent second-place MPSF Championships finish earned him fame this winter, and a certain NCAA Championships berth in the mile, Abbott unselfishly chose to forgo the mile in favor of the DMR at March's NCAA Indoor meet, ultimately anchoring the team to a second-straight fifth-place NCAA finish. The sophomore will have a chance to make up for that decision this spring -- Abbott currently ranks third in the West Region in both the 800- and 1,500-meters, and can earn his first NCAA Championships individual berth with a top-five finish in either event at next month's Regional.
Stanback on Track: Husky football fans looking for a post-spring fix should keep an eye on the track -- Washington's track and field team includes four members of the UW football team. The most accomplished of the four is junior Isaiah Stanback, the second-place finisher in the 60-meter dash at March's MPSF Championships, and an 11-game starter at quarterback in 2005. Joining him are junior wide receiver Corey Williams, UW's top sprint hurdler indoors; freshman linebacker Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, a 58-foot prep shot-putter; and junior defensive end Brandon Ala, a prep All-American in the discus. Washington also boasts the talents of former UW gymnast and pole vault All-American Carly Dockendorf, while basketball players Jill Bell, Cheri Craddock and Angie Jones have each competed in track and field in recent seasons. Perhaps to repay their debt, the UW track team loaned senior J.R. Wolfork, a 2005 NCAA Championships qualifier in the long jump, to the Husky football squad in the fall; Wolfork appeared in all 11 games and forced a fumble on special teams.
You Might Recall: The practice of mining talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for the Husky track program in the past. 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), J.R. Wolfork (No. 9, long jump), and Shelton Sampson (No. 3, 200m) and former footballer Will Conwell (No. 7, weight throw; No. 10, discus) each rank among UW's all-time best, as does former gymnast Carly Dockendorf (No. 2, pole vault).
20 Years of Spear Success: From Fred Luke and Duncan Atwood to Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo, Washington has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the javelin. Since 1982, when women's track and field joined the NCAA, the Huskies have sent at least one javelin thrower to all but four NCAA Championships, including All-American performances by Megan Spriestersbach in 2004, and Heather Reichmann in 2003. The list of Washington's javelin greats includes four Pac-10 Champions (Uusitalo, `87; Roberson, `88-89; Troy Burkholder, `96), three NCAA champions (Uusitalo, `86, Tom Sinclair, `79 Cary Feldman, `71) and three U.S. Olympians (Atwood, `80, `84; Rod Ewaliko, `80; Fred Luke, `72). In UW history, only the four NCAA titles won in the hammer -- all by Scott Neilson -- eclipse the Huskies' national-championship prowess in the spear, which includes a UW-record 27 All-Americans all-time. So far in 2006, seniors Tiffany Zahn -- a three-time top-five Pac-10 finisher -- and Juan Romero are taking steps to preserve that tradition, each boasting marks among the region's top-10.
2006 MPSF Champions: The Husky men defeated seven of the other eight Pac-10 teams for the 2006 MPSF indoor conference title at Dempsey Indoor in March, the Huskies' first-ever indoor conference crown and first conference title of any kind since 1928. 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 -- and continued a string of three-straight years with at least one indoor conference winner. 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, UW's 107 points were enough to hold off Stanford (100) and four-time defending champ UCLA (88).
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. The UW women were also outstanding, with junior Ashley Lodree netting her third-career All-America honor (9th, 60m hurdles), and pole vaulters Carly Dockendorf (12th) and Stevie Marshalek (14th) each earning top-15 finishes.
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. Thw UW 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 season. 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 seven UW men.
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 UWsingle-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.
Walker Wins World Gold: While his former teammates were making history at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, 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.
Ridiculous Records: Washington's athletes kept the team's indoor record-keepers busy in 2006, combining for 51 marks among the UW's all-time top-10 indoors, including five school records -- two by junior Ashley Lodree. Washington's highly-acclaimed indoor facility, Dempsey Indoor, has certainly had an effect on UW's indoor list, with 27 school records and an eye-popping 234 marks among UW's all-time top-10 having been achieved since the start of the 2002 season, UW's first in the facility. For a complete list of the top-10 indoor marks set in 2006, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
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 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.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2006 is in no way short on accolades. Ninth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has coached 12 All-Americans, including NCAA champions Brad Walker and Kate Soma. Second-year sprints/hurdles coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., meanwhile, has had a banner first year-and-a-half, mentoring Ashley Lodree to three All-America honors and guiding five of UW's six relays to NCAA berths, including three to All-America honors. First-year throws coach Reedus Thurmond was a three-time All-American at Auburn, and captured the SEC discus title as a senior, while fifth-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is fourth-year distance coach Kelly Strong, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles, and is largely credited with putting together recruiting classes annually ranked among the nation's best. Ironically, the most accomplished members of the Husky coaching staff are two of the the team's volunteer assistants -- former Huskies and U.S. Olympians Aretha (Hill) Thurmond and Duncan Atwood. A four-time All-American, two-time Olympian and two-time U.S. champion, Thurmond enters her first year at UW, assisting husband Reedus Thurmond with the UW throwers. Atwood, meanwhile, was a two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, and has helped UW javelin throwers earn two All-America honors in his three years working with the team.
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