Charles, Frederick Among Favorites at Pac-10 Championships
May 11, 2006
On the Track: Washington's track and field teams open the 2006 postseason Saturday in Eugene, Ore., at the Pac-10 Track and Field Championships, Presented by 76 PROClean Gasolines. The UW men boast a number of title contenders, including conference leaders Norris Frederick (long jump) and Shane Charles (400-meter hurdles), throwers Will Conwell and Martin Bingisser, and defending 800-meter champion Ryan Brown. On the women's side, junior hurdler Ashley Lodree will try to better her third-place finish of a year ago, while UW's women's vaulters will attempt to put at least three women on the scoring podium for the second-straight year. Events run throughout the afternoon Saturday and Sunday. For an event schedule and links to meet entries visit www.GoHuskies.com.
Pac-10 Championships TV Schedule: The 2006 Pac-10 Championships will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis by Fox Sports Net. Dwight Stones and Tom Feuer will call the action, with Jim Watson providing commentary from the infield. The two-hour broadcast, which will include most track finals and field-event highlights, will air in the Pacific Northwest on Fox Sports Net Northwest on Thurs., May 18 at 12 noon PT, and will be rebroadcast Sat., May 20 at 4 p.m. PT. A complete listing of broadcast times in all regions can be found at www.GoHuskies.com.
Live Results!: Results will be updated to the web continuously throughout the meet; links to live results can be found at www.GoHuskies.com, www.GoDucks.com and www.Pac-10.org. In addition, complete results along with a full recap of UW action including quotes, historical notes and event descriptions will be posted to www.GoHuskies.com following the conclusion of each day's events.
Dawg Bites: Pac-10 Quick Facts
Washington has boasted at least one Pac-10 individual champion in each of the past six seasons. Ryan Brown won the 800 meters in 2005.
UW's men have placed as high as third just twice (3rd, 1996; 3rd, 1997), and as high as fifth just four times (t4th, 2000; 5th, 2005) since the Pac-8 expanded to 10 teams in 1979.
UW's men are 3-1 in scoring meets this year. Washington won the MPSF indoor title in Seattle in March, won the Pepsi Invitational at Oregon in April, and defeated Washington State in dual meet action in Pullman. The UW's only 'loss' this year is at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where the Huskies tied for 19th.
This year's meet marks the 30th anniversary of the 1976 Pac-10 Championships, at which Huskies Scott Neilson (hammer), Rod Ewaliko (javelin), Borys Chambul (discus) and Russ Vincent (shot put) swept the throwing events. No other foursome has ever matched that feat.
Pac-10 Championships Qualifying: Each Pac-10 school is allowed to enter 24 men and 24 women in the Pac-10 Championships field, regardless of entry mark. There is no limit on the number of events in which an athlete can be entered; however, no institution may enter more athletes in any event than there are scoring places. Prior to 2005, athletes qualified via specific entry standards, with each school allowed three wildcard entries and the ability to enter an athlete in any event for which they had no qualifier.
Bidleman Scores First Point: Senior Blake Bidleman put the UW men on the board at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships with an eighth-place finish in last weekend's decathlon. Bidleman's score of 6.590 points was a 350-point improvement over his previous lifetime best, while his eighth-place finish was the best by a Husky since Jacob Predmore's third-place finish in 2000. Freshman Liz Fuller, meanwhile, placed 10th in the heptathlon, her score of 4,821 points the fourth-best ever at UW.
2005 Pac-10 Redux: A Pac-10 title for Ryan Brown and eight top-three finishes lifted the UW men to fifth at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships in Los Angeles, its best finish since 2000 and just its fourth top-five finish since Pac-8 expansion in 1979. Eight Husky men earned top-three finishes at the meet, a feat accomplished by just one Husky in 2004, and by just nine Huskies -- total -- from 2001-04. The Huskies' 75.5 points at the Pac-10 meet were a 30.5-point improvement over its 2004 toital, and were just 6.5 points fewer than its total from the past two Pac-10 Championships, combined. Brown won his first-ever Pac-10 title, and led UW's 4x400-meter relay to third in a UW-record 3:03.85. Ashley Lodree set a school-record in the 100-meter hurdles for the UW women, who placed eighth. Junior Shane Charles also set a record, breaking his own Grenadan national mark in the 400-meter hurdles with a then-record time of 50.46.
Scouting the UW Men: Having broken into the top-five last year for the first time since 2000, Washington's men seek an even higher finish this year. Junior Ryan Brown is the defending Pac-10 and MPSF champion at 800 meters, while sophomore Austin Abbott was second in the 1,500 last year. In fact, UW boasts five returnees who placed third or better last season, including Brown, Abbott, junior Martin Bingisser (hammer), senior Shane Charles (400m IH) and sophomore Norris Frederick (long jump). Both Charles and Frederick enter this year's meet with Pac-10 leading marks and top-five national rankings. Frederick is also seeded second in the high jump, while senior Will Conwell is No. 3 in the discus. Sticking strictly to the form chart, UW is projected to score 92 points this weekend -- its highest total sinece1998 (93 pts). The Championships, however, rarely go according to form -- 2005 Pac-10 champion Brown entered last year's meet seeded ninth, while 1,500-meter runner-up Abbott was seeded 11th.
Two-Time Champs: Should junior Ryan Brown defend his 2005 Pac-10 800-meter title, he would become just the fourth Husky to do so in any event since Pac-8 expansion in 1979, and the first Husky ever to do so on the track. All nine of the previous UW athletes to accomplish the double competed in field events, including vaulters Brad Walker (2003-04), Kirk Bryde (1971-72) and John Cramer (1961-62), javelin throwers Darryl Roberson (1988-89), Duncan Atwood (1977-78), Rod Ewaliko (1975-76) and Cary Feldman (1970-71), decathlete Mike Ramos (1983-84) and hammer star Scott Neilson (1976-78).
Scouting the UW Women: Washington's women seek to better an eighth-place finish in 2005, after successive sixth-place efforts in 2003 and `04. Ashley Lodree represents the team's best chance for a Pac-10 title ¬-- the junior ranks third in the Pac-10, and sixth in the nation, in the 100-meter hurdles, and is the seventh seed in the 100-meter dash. All-Americans Amy Lia and Carly Dockendorf are seeded fifth and third, respectively, in the 1,500 meters and pole vault, while freshman Dani Schuster is the fifth seed in the 800 meters. Ones to watch for down the form chart include freshman Tori Tyler and senior Ashley Wildhaber -- 2005 Pac-10 Cross Country Newcomer of the Year will be making her UW debut at 10,000 meters, while Wildhaber was the fifth-place pole vaulter at the NCAA indoor meet last season. Lodree (3rd, 100m HH), Dockendorf (4th, pole vault), and Kelley DiVesta (5th, pole vault), will each seek to repeat top-five performances of a year ago, while senior Tiffany Zahn will attempt to cap her career with a fourth-consecutive top-five Pac-10 finish in the javelin.
Pac-10 Prowess: While UW's teams have never claimed a Pac-10 title outright, Ryan Brown's 800-meter win in 2005 did extend an impressive string of six straight years with at least one individual titlist. With another title this weekend, the Huskies would match their longest-ever streak of individual champions -- a seven-year run from 1974-1980, highlighted by Scott Neilson's four titles in the hammer.
UW Men Scoring Big: If the regular season has been any indication, Washington's men's team could be in for big things during the 2006 postseason. The Huskies are 3-1 in scoring competitions this year, the lone blemish a 19th-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. 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 -- just UW's second win in Eugene since 1967 -- and a resounding 21-point dual-meet defeat of conference rival Washington State in Pullman. Next up for the Huskies is this week's Pac-10 Championships, where they hope to better their fifth-place performance of a year ago.
Balanced Attack: One look at the current Pac-10 rankings reveals the secret behind the success of UW's men's 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 11 of 21 events. And that list doesn't even include defending Pac-10 champion Ryan Brown who -- like last year -- enters this week's meet seeded just ninth in the 800 meters. Following is a complete list of UW men's athletes currently ranked in a scoring position (eighth or higher) entering this week's Pac-10 meet:
Name, Event, Mark, Pac-10 Seeding
Shane Charles, 400m IH, 50.12, 1st
Norris Frederick, Long Jump, 25-5, 1st
Austin Abbott, 1500m, 3:41.27ci, 2nd
Norris Frederick, High Jump, 7-0 1/2, 2nd
Martin Bingisser, Hammer, 212-9, 3rd
Will Conwell, Discus, 200-0 3/4, 3rd
Jeremy Mineau, 10000m, 28:49.69, 3rd
Austin Abbott, 800m, 1:49.45, 4th
Relay, 4x400m, 3:07.03i, 4th
Warren Eickhoff, High Jump, 6-10 3/4, 4th (tie)
Brad Liber, Steeple, 9:05.25, 5th
Relay, 4x100m, 40.07, 6th
Kevin Peters, 10000m, 29:22.47, 6th
Juan Romero, Javelin, 220-9 1/2, 6th
Jordan Boase, 200m, 21.19i, 7th
Bruce Jackson, 400m Dash, 47.25, 7th
Jeremy Mineau, 5000m, 13:54.03i, 7th
Carl Moe, 1500m, 3:45.56ci, 7th
Sam Roberts, Pole Vault, 17-0 1/2, 8th
Mike Sayenko, 10000m, 30:21.37, 8th
Projected Pac-10 Scoring Total: 92 pts*
* - includes 1 pt already scored in decathlon by Blake Bidleman
Rankings Report: Ranked as high as 19th two weeks ago, the UW men fell just shy of the top-25 in this week's Trackwire 25, which predicts team scores and individual finishes at the upcoming NCAA Championships. Washington scored 10 points in the ranking on projected fourth-place finishes for Shane Charles (400-meter hurdles) and Will Conwell (discus), two shy of the 12 needed for top-25 mention. Junior Martin Bingisser was also listed in Trackwire's individual rankings (11th, hammer), as was sophomore Norris Frederick (12th, 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. 11 nod in the 1,500 meters.
Monster PR of the Week: Saturday's Ken Shannon Invitational at Husky Stadium was notable for many performances. One which deserves moer credit than it was given, though, was the winning discus toss of freshman thrower Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. A standout prep thrower and football player at Kailua, Hawaii's Hawaii Prep High School, Te'o-Nesheim is at UW on a football scholarship, and joined the track team in the winter. After throwing 149 feet in the discus at Auburn in March, and missing the month of April due to football commitments, Te'o-Nesheim launched a 166-foot, 5-inch effort Saturday -- 17 feet better than his previous best and just shy of the NCAA Regional qualifying standard.
Bound for Provo: Only one more meet stands between Washington and the 2006 NCAA West Regional, giving the Huskies one final chance to add to the list of 30 athletes currently qualified for the event. 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. Washington crowned its first two Regional champions in 2005 -- 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. See the box above for a complete list of UW's 2006 regional qualifiers.
NCAA Selection Process: Automatic NCAA Championships berths will be granted to the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relays, from each of the four Regionals contested nationwide May 26-27. Athletes qualify for Regionals by meeting pre-determined standards, or by winning their conference title. The NCAA then supplements the Championships field with the highest-ranking competitors (6-7 per individual event and 5-6 per relay) from the national performance lists, provided the athlete completed their event at a Regional meet and was not among the finishers to earn automatic berths. The lone exceptions are the 10,000 meters and multi-events, in which athletes qualify directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting provisional and automatic standards.
Charles Sets National Record: Senior Shane Charles has never had any problem clearing hurdles. The native of St. Andrew's, Grenada, leapt over his most recent hurdle on Apr. 15, crushing his own national record in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 50.12 seconds at Cal. That time -- tops in this week's Pac-10 Championships field and tied with injured UCLA star Brandon Johnson for third in the nation -- was three-tenths faster than the previous record of 50.46 seconds he set in 2005, and earned Charles the Pac-10's Men's Track Athlete of the Week honor. Charles also ranks among the best in UW history in the 4x100- and 4x400 meters, holds UW's indoor record at 800 meters, and was an All-American indoors in the 1,600m relay. Charles set Grenada's junior national record in 2001, and was an All-American at Central Arizona JC before enrolling at UW in 2004-05. Since then, he has leapt over every hurdle placed in front of him, including a third-place finish in the 4x400 meters at the 2006 NCAA Indoor meet that was UW's best since 1976. Only two hurdles remain for Charles -- Pac-10 and NCAA titles. The senior was third at Pac-10s a year ago, but did not compete at the NCAAs after falling over the second hurdle at the 2005 West Regional. Charles ranked 10th nationally entering the regional, and needed only to finish to qualify for NCAAs.
Huskies Climb U.S., World Rankings: Hurdler Shane Charles isn't the only Husky making international headlines. Assistant coaches Kelly Strong and Aretha Thurmond each broke into the top-10 of the current 2006 IAAF World Rankings last weekend, while junior Ashley Lodree and senior Will Conwell each rank among the top-10 Americans in the hurdles and discus, respectively. Strong's steeplechase time of 9:48.90 at UW's Ken Shannon Invitational was the eighth-best ever by an American woman, and ranks seventh in the world this year. Thurmond, meanwhile, moved to No. 1 among Americans, and second in the world, with a throw of 211-4 to win the discus at the Modesto Relays. That mark would also rank among America's all-time best if not for the fact that Thurmond herself has thrown farther, her best a 216-3 effort that ranks third in U.S. history. Among current Huskies, Conwell ranks ninth among U.S. men in the discus (200-1) while Lodree is ninth among U.S. women in the 100-meter hurdles (13.09w). Former Huskies Christian Belz and Brad Walker are also among the world's best ¬¬-- Belz boasts the world's 14th-fastest mark this year in the 10,000 meters, while Walker is No. 1 in the pole vault in the current IAAF World Rankings, and is the world's 12th-ranked men's athlete overall.
The `Lo' Down: Perhaps it's no surprise that junior Ashley Lodree wasted no time getting back to business in 2006 -- just about everything the three-time All-American does is fast. Lodree 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. 6 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 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.
Tracking Ashley Lodree: Prior to the 2005 Pac-10 Championships, Ashley Lodree had never run below 13.34 in 15-career 100-meter hurdles races -- she hasn't run above that since. Following is a list of each of Lodree's 11 100-meter hurdles races since the 2005 Pac-10 final:
Date, Meet, Heat, Time (Wind)
5/14/05, Pac-10 Championships, Final, 13.23 (w: 0.0)
5/27/05, NCAA West Regional, Prelim, 13.34 (w: 0.7)
5/28/05, NCAA West Regional, Final, 13.31 (w: 1.9)
6/8/05, NCAA Championships, Prelim, 13.30 (w: -0.4)
6/8/05, NCAA Championships, Semi, 13.17 (w: -0.6)
6/10/05, NCAA Championships, Final, 13.20 (w: 0.6)
6/25/05, USATF Championships, Prelim, 13.33 (w: -0.9)
6/26/05, USATF Championships, Semi, 13.17 (w: -0.3)
3/25/06, ASU Invitational, Final, 13.20 (w: 0.2)
4/15/06, Mt. SAC Relays, Final, 13.09 (w: 2.2)
4/29/06, UW-WSU Dual, Final, 13.25 (w: 1.4)
Jumping Out of His Shoes: Sophomore Norris 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. Undeterred, the Roosevelt High School senior strapped on borrowed shoes and placed 19th in both the high and long jumps. It takes more than an equipment malfunction to ground Frederick, who in just 16 months has already earned back-to-back All-America honors in the long jump indoors, qualified for the NCAA Championships in the high jump outdoors, and earned top-five finishes in both events at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships -- all while becoming the first Husky ever to long jump 25 feet and high jump seven feet in his career. Frederick enters this week's Pac-10 meet ranked No. 1 in the conference (and tied for fifth in the nation) in the long jump with a wind-aided best of 25 feet, 5 1/4 inches (set at Hayward Field), and is the No. 2 seed in the high jump (7-0 1/2). Frederick has been stellar in big meets this year, placing first (long jump) and second (high jump) at the MPSF Indoor Championships in March, and earning his second-career All-America honor with a 12th-place long jump finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Frederick placed sixth in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet -- tops by a UW long jumper since 1965 -- and tied for 17th in the high jump at the 2005 NCAA outdoor meet. One of just seven Huskies ever to long jump 25 feet -- something he has done nine times already --and one of just 12 to high jump seven feet, Frederick is the first ever to do both, repeating the feat both in 2005 and 2006. Frederick finished the 2005 season ranked eighth in the IAAF World Junior rankings in the long jump, and was 26th in the rankings as a prep senior.
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 eighth-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. 4 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.
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 fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships and breaking UW's indoor 800-meter record, before embarking on his epic outdoor campaign.
Deja Vu: Those who predict scoring at this week's Pac-10 Championships should take careful note of Ryan Brown. The junior enters this week's meet seeded ninth overall in the 800 meters at 1:50.96, second among Huskies to sophomore Austin Abbott. Brown was also seeded ninth overall -- and second to Abbott -- in 2005; of course, Brown went on to win the Pac-10 title in 1:47.31, before capturing a West Regional crown and All-America honors.
Relay Rewards: There's never been a better time to run on a UW relay than right now. Currently ranked 19th 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 4x400-meter squad, 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 sprint relay in 22 years.
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.
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.
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 achievements outside the cage that 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 lifetime-best toss of 212 feet, 9 inches in April that ranks third in UW history, and 13th in the nation this year. Bingisser enters Saturday's Pac-10 Championships seeking his second conference title of the year -- the Bellevue native won the weight throw with a 64-foot, 8 3/4-inch toss (UW's best since 1985) at March's indoor conference meet -- just the second weight throw competition of his UW career. 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.
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. Four of the five return in 2006, 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 (Soma, Wildhaber and Dockendorf) rank among the 10-best vaulters in Pac-10 Conference 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 ¼
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. Gabriella Duclos, 2006, 13-3 1/2i
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 15th 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 second 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 sixth in the West Region in the 800 meters and eighth at 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 UW's 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. 5, 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.
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).
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.
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 from 2003-06.
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