Huskies Seek NCAA Track Titles in Sacramento

June 5, 2006

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On the Track: Fifteen Washington athletes -- the second-most in the 105-year history of the Washington track and field program -- head to Sacramento, Calif., this week for the 2006 NCAA Track and Field Championships. Washington's 16 total entries -- including Norris Frederick's high jump-long jump double, the first in UW history -- equals Arizona for the 18th-most of any team at the meet, while the Huskies' 11 men's qualifiers are tied for the seventh-most in the nation in 2006. Furthermore, eight of Washington's entrants rank among the top-10 in their event -- the 13th-highest total in the country. That large contingent could help the Husky men better their 19th-place finish at this year's NCAA Indoor Championships, while the UW women will be seeking their third-consecutive top-20 outdoor effort. The four-day meet begins Wednesday and concludes Saturday; see below for a schedule of events featuring UW competitors. All times are Pacific:

Wednesday, June 7
11:00 a.m. -- Hammer, Qual. (M)
3:55 p.m. -- 800m Run, Prelim (M)
4:15 p.m. -- High Jump, Qual. (M)
4:30 p.m. -- 100m Hurdles, Prelim (W)
6:10 p.m. -- 400m Dash, Prelim (M)
6:30 p.m. -- 100m Hurdles, Semi (W)
7:00 p.m. -- Discus, Qual. (M)
7:15 p.m. -- Long Jump, Qual. (M)
7:50 p.m. -- 5,000m Run, Semi (W)

Thursday, June 8
1:15 p.m. -- Javelin, Qual. (M)
4:30 p.m. -- Pole Vault, Qual. (W)
4:30 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles, Prelim (M)
5:05 p.m. -- 800m Run, Semi (M)
6:00 p.m. -- 1,500m Run, Semi (W)
6:15 p.m. -- 1,500m Run, Semi (M)
6:30 p.m. -- Long Jump, Final (M)
6:55 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay, Semi (M)
8:00 p.m. -- 10,000m Run, Final (M)

Friday, June 9
12:00 p.m. -- Hammer, Final (M)
5:00 p.m.* -- 100m Hurdles, Final (W)
5:35 p.m.* -- 400m Dash, Semi (M)
6:15 p.m.* -- Discus, Final (M)
6:20 p.m.* -- 400m Hurdles, Semi (M)
6:30 p.m.* -- High Jump, Final (M)
7:00 p.m. -- 5,000m Run, Final (W)

Saturday, June 10
10:00 a.m. -- Javelin, Final (M)
11:45 a.m. -- Pole Vault, Final (W)
12:15 p.m. -- 800m Run, Final (M)
1:02 p.m.* -- 400m Hurdles, Final (M)
1:20 p.m.* -- 400m Dash, Final (M)
1:52 p.m.* -- 1,500m Run, Final (W)
2:04 p.m.* -- 1,500m Run, Final (M)
2:45 p.m.* -- 4x400m Relay, Final (M)

* Live TV (see below for time and channel)

Live Television!: For the first time in Championships history, fans will be able to watch live broadcasts from the NCAA Track and Field Championships. The final day's events will be televised live on CBS from 12:30-3 p.m. PT, while Friday's nights events will be broadcast live on College Sports Television (CSTV) from 5-7 p.m PT.

Live Results!: In addition to the two days of live television broadcasts, will provide a link to live results, and will post live event recaps for all events including Washington athletes throughout each day's competition. Final results from each day, along with a complete recap of UW action including quotes and notes of historical significance will be posted to at the end of each day's action.

How They Got Here: Automatic NCAA Championships berths were 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. The next seven finishers in each event at the regionals were then re-ranked, in order of season-best performance, on the at-large list, from which the NCAA selected the top 6-8 per individual event and 5-6 per relay for at-large Championships berths. The lone exceptions were the 10,000 meters and multi-events, in which athletes qualified directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting provisional and automatic standards throughout 2006.

2006 Regional Redux: Senior Shane Charles won the 400m hurdles and helped UW to a win in the 4x400m relay, leading the Huskies to a record 14 automatic-qualifying performances at the 2006 NCAA West Regional. Charles' hurdles win earned UW's third individual Regional title in the last two years, while the 4x4's victory was the first by a UW relay in the postseason since the 1975 NCAA Championships. Other notable performances included those by Norris Frederick, who became the first Husky ever to qualify through the Regional system in two events with runner-up finishes in the high- and long jumps, and a school-record run of 13.04 seconds (after altitude adjustment) in the 100-meter hurdles for junior Ashley Lodree. Washington's men placed fourth in the event ¬-- best-ever for a UW men's or women's team -- while the Huskies women were seventh.

Experience Matters: It's worth noting that of Washington's 15 NCAA Championships competitors, just five will be making their national-meet debuts. That list can be reduced to four if one removes freshman Anita Campbell, who though she has never competed in an NCAA Track Championships, was one of the highest-finishing freshmen at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in the fall. Washington's most experienced Championship-meet veterans are senior Carly Dockendorf, competing in her sixth NCAA Championships, and junior Ashley Lodree, competing at the NCAA meet for the fifth time in her three-year career. In addition, Washington's 15 competitors have combined for 17 All-America honors, including nine with at least one such honor during their careers. Ryan Brown (4) and Ashley Lodree (3) boast the most All-America honors of any UW competitors.

NCAA Championships By the Numbers: Twenty-four UW athletes have combined for 29 NCAA titles overall -- a total which ranks 22nd among NCAA institutions all-time -- including one each in each of the past three seasons. Additionally, the Huskies have placed 279 athletes on the All-America podium, including a stunning 26 since the start of the 2005 season alone. At least one Husky has earned All-America honors in each of the last 13 years, and 43 of the last 45 years, including a single-meet record 10 each at the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships. No season has ever resulted in more than 16 UW All-Americans, a record set in 2005 which could be in jeopardy this year. 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.

History in the Making?: With a near-record number of NCAA qualifiers, and perhaps the most experienced group of NCAA competitors in school history, Washington could bring several historical milestones within reach at this week's NCAA Championships. Four-time All-American Ryan Brown -- an All-American indoors this year in both the 4x400- and distance medley relays -- has the chance to become just the fifth Husky in history to earn five-career All-America honors, while also bidding to be just the second (Ja'Warren Hooker, 1998) to earn four such honors in one season. Junior Ashley Lodree ¬-- herself a three-time All-American -- could move into a tie with Aretha Hill (1995-98) and Meg Jones (1985-88) for second all-time with four All-America awards, just one shy of the record of five set by pole vaulter Kate Soma (2002-05). The Huskies' men, meanwhile, will be looking to extend a streak that has seen at least one UW male competitor earn a top-10 NCAA Outdoor Championships finish in 42 of the last 45 years. If indoor performances are included -- counting NCAA indoor performances this year by Washington's 4x400-meter (3rd) and the distance medley relays (5th), Washington has had a UW men's athlete earn a top-10 NCAA finish, indoors or outdoors, every year since 1961, a span of 46 straight years.

NCAA Championships Quick Hits

  • Washington boasts at least one qualifier in every event area -- sprints, hurdles, middle distance, long distance, relays, horizontal jumps, vertical jumps, pole vault and throws.
  • At least one UW athlete has won an NCAA title in each of the past three seasons, the longest such streak for UW since capturing 10 NCAA crowns in a five-year span from 1975-79.
  • Washington's 15 NCAA Championships qualifiers (not counting relay alternates) are the second-most for a single meet in team history, trailing only the 16 who qualified for the same meet in 2005. Furthermore, the Huskies' 25 total NCAA qualifiers in 2006 -- including 10 indoors -- also rank second in team history to the 28 who competed at NCAA meets in 2005.
  • Washington athletes earned 10 All-America honors indoors in 2006, equaling a UW single-meet record set just last year. In all, 15 Huskies earned All-America honors indoors and out in 2005, a record which could be in jeopardy this week.

    Rankings Report: Despite a fourth-place finish at the 2006 West Regional, Washington's men actually dropped out of the top-25 in the final Trackwire 25, which predicts team scores and individual finishes at the NCAA Championships. Ranked as high as 17th entering the regional, the UW saw its projected point total cut from 14 to 8, with projected sixth-place NCAA Championships finishes for Shane Charles (400m hurdles) and Norris Frederick (long jump), and a seventh-place projection for the 4x400m relay. The UW women, meanwhile, scored three points on a sixth-place projection for Ashley Lodree (100m hurdles), below the 15 needed for top-25 mention. While they did not place high enough to score, several other Huskies are projected among the top-12 in their events, including Caryl Dockendorf (9th, pole vault) Amy Lia (10th, 1,500m), Juan Romero (10th, javelin) and Will Conwell (12th, discus). Florida State (68) closed the 2006 season with a seven-point edge over UTEP (61) in the final men's rankings, while Texas finished the season No. 1 on the women's side with 59 points, ahead of USC (40) and Miami (39).

    Monster PR of the Week: Freshman Anita Campbell entered the 2006 NCAA West Regional seeded just 14th in the 5,000 meters, and with a time 20 seconds slower than the region's five fastest entries, appeared a longshot to earn an NCAA Championships berth. The Vancouver, B.C., native, however, went right to the front and stayed there throughout the race, ultimately finishing third in an altitude-adjusted 16:40.21 to clinch her first-ever NCAA track berth. Campbell's time -- a 10-second personal best in her first-ever collegiate race at altitude -- was UW's fastest outdoors in the event since 2003. The NCAA meet will be Campbell's second this year -- she was UW's only competitor at the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships in the fall.

    Postseason Prowess: While UW's teams have never claimed a Pac-10 title outright, the wins by Shane Charles, Norris Frederick and Juan Romero in 2006 extended a string of seven straight years with at least one individual titlist. That streak matches the UW's longest-ever streak of individual champions -- a seven-year run from 1974-1980, highlighted by Scott Neilson's four titles in the hammer. Furthermore, Washington's three Pac-10 champions in 2006 were its most individual titlists since 1977, and are surpassed in UW history only by the six conference titles won by UW men at the Pac-8 meet in 1976. Washington placed fourth at Pac-10s in 2006 -- its best Pac-10 finish since 1997 ¬-- and followed that up with an all-time best fourth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional. The Huskies also captured individual regional titles in the 400-meter hurdles and 4x400-meter relay, doubling the team's total number of regional crowns, men and women combined, from the first three years of regional competition.

    Balanced Attack: One look at the results from the 2006 postseason 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 NCAA Championships competitors in every event area in 2006, including the sprints (1), hurdles (1), middle-distances (2), distances (1), relays (1), horizontal jumps (1), vertical jumps (1) and throws (3). Bruce Jackson is the team's first sprint qualifier since 2001, while the three UW throwers to qualify represent UW's largest throwing contingent since 1979. During the 2006 postseason, Washington swept Pac-10 and Regional titles in the 400-meter hurdles, and won a Pac-10 title in the long jump, while maintaining its tradition with a win in the javelin. To provide perspective, Norris Frederick's win in the long jump was the first by a UW long jumper at the Pac-10 Championships since 1985, while Shane Charles' victory in the 400-meter hurdles was the first by a Husky men's athlete in that event since Jim Seymour in 1971.

    Charles Undefeated in 2006: Senior Shane Charles remained undefeated in 2006 with his win in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA West Regional meet, adding the regional crown to the Pac-10 title he won two weeks before. In fact, Charles has won every hurdles race he has entered in over 12 months, dating back to a fall at the 2005 West Regional that cost him a chance to compete at last year's NCAA Championships. The native of St. Andrew's, Grenada, was at his best at the 2006 Pac-10 meet, crushing his own national record in the 400-meter hurdles to win Washington's first Pac-10 title in the event since 1971. Charles' time of 49.51 seconds -- fourth-fastest in the nation this year -- was more than a half-second faster than the previous national record of 50.12 seconds Charles set in April, and broke by three-tenths the UW record of 49.85 seconds that had stood for 15 years. 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.

    Tracking Shane Charles: Since falling over the second hurdles at the 2005 NCAA West Regional, Shane Charles has won every hurdles race he has started, a span of six races over more than 12 months. Following are a list of each of Charles' races during his undefeated streak:

    Date, Meet, Heat, Place, Time
    04/15/06, Brutus Hamilton Invite, Final, 1st, 50.12
    04/29/06, UW-WSU Dual, Final, 1st, 50.18
    05/13/06, Pac-10 Championships, Prelim, 1st, 51.15
    05/14/06, Pac-10 Championships, Final, 1st, 49.51
    05/26/06, NCAA West Regional, Prelim, 1st, 51.17aa
    05/27/06, NCAA West Regional, Final, 1st, 50.09aa

    Record Relay: Senior Shane Charles wasn't the only one making history at the 2006 NCAA West Regional. Washington's homegrown 4x400-meter squad -- featuring three runners from the Seattle area -- closed the meet with a dominating win, the first by a UW relay in the postseason since the 1975 NCAA mile relay final. Led by sophomore Jordan Boase (Bothell [Wash.] HS), and including Charles (St. Andrew's, Grenada), junior Ryan Brown (Renton [Wash.] HS) and anchor Bruce Jackson (Seattle, Wash./Nathan Hale HS), the relay blazed to a season-best time of 3:05.11 (altitude-adjusted), more than a second ahead of runner-up USC and good for sixth in this week's NCAA Championships field. The regional final was just the second outdoor running of the year for UW's 'A' relay -- the foursome above -- who placed third in the NCAA Indoor final in March, best-ever for a UW relay indoors. That low exposure for UW's relay could work to their advantage this week, as they try to make the NCAA Outdoor final for the first time in three years. The team has plenty of big-meet experience -- Brown, Charles and Jackson were all members of the UW squad which clocked a 3:03.85 in 2005 before placing 11th at the NCAAs, while Jackson and relay alternate Phil McCary (Kirkland, Wash./Juanita HS) ran on UW's 14th-place relay in 2004. In addition to McCary, who ran an outstanding leg in place of Brown in the team's third-place Pac-10 finish, the talented quartet will be joined by second alternate Alex Harcourt of Kent, whose lifetime 400-meter best of 46.57 tops any current Husky.

    Jackson The First: When senior Bruce Jackson steps onto the track for the 400-meter preliminary heat on Wednesday, he will become the first Husky sprinter to compete in an individual event at the NCAA Championships since 2001, and the first to so in the 400-meter dash since 1999. Jackson will also make history with Washington's 4x400-meter relay -- the Seattle native is the first Husky ever to run on a UW relay at three-straight NCAA Outdoor Championships, and has been a part of at least one UW relay at four of the last five NCAA Championship events.

    Relay Rewards: There's never been a better time to run on a UW relay than right now. Washington's win in the 4x400 meters at the 2006 NCAA West Regional was the first in the postseason by a UW relay since 1975, and clinched the team's third-straight NCAA Championships bid -- a feat never before accomplished at UW. Two Husky foursomes earned All-America honors at March's NCAA Indoor meet -- 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 1975 NCAA outdoor title. Prior to the arrival of assistant coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., who took over UW's sprint/relay program in 2005, Washington had failed to qualify a relay for the NCAA Championships since 1998 -- in less than two years since Vaughn's hire, a stunning six of the Huskies' eight relays have qualified for the NCAA Championships, while three have earned All-America honors -- a feat accomplished by just three UW relays in the previous 30 years. Washington had multiple relays at both the 2005 NCAA Outdoor and 2006 NCAA Indoor meets -- 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.

    Brown is Back: Less than two years ago, Ryan Brown was out of track and field, having walked away from a promising career, stating a desire to focus on school over sports. Barely a year after returning to the sport last January, however, Brown is a Pac-10, West Regional and MPSF Champion, and with entries this week in both the 800 meters and 4x400-meter relay, is poised to become of the most decorated UW athletes of all-time. Already boasting four-career All-America honors, Brown has a chance to become just the fifth Husky ever to win five such accolades, and could also become just the second ever to earn three such honors in one year. Brown's turnaround began in the 2005 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. Brown outkicked Rankin again to win the 2005 NCAA West Regional, and placed 10th at NCAAs in both the 800- and 4x400 meters at the NCAA Championships. Brown has run a limited schedule in 2006, but has shown no limit in his results, winning the MPSF 800-meter title in February and placing third in the event at Pac-10s, while leading both UW's 4x400-meter (3rd) and distance medley relay (5th) to All-America honors indoors. Brown broke 1:48 for 800 meters for the second time in his career at the 2006 NCAA West Regional, clocking an altitude-adjusted 1:47.95 to take third overall, and climb to ninth in the national rankings entering this week's NCAA Championships. Brown is also expected to run on the 4x400-meter relay, which he helped to a victory at the regional meet in 3:05.11aa, the nation's sixth-fastest mark in 2006.

    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.

    The `Lo' Down: Junior Ashley Lodree entered rare air at the 2006 NCAA West Regional -- and that's not just a reference to the thin air of BYU's Clarence Robison Track. The Richmond, Calif., native became the first Husky ever to break 13 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles with a wind-aided time of 12.99 seconds (after altitude adjustment) in the regional prelim, then backed it up with a wind-legal 13.04-second, altitude-adjusted time in the final. The latter mark crushed Lodree's own school record of 13.17 set twice in 2005, while the former mark was the 10th-fastest, wind-aided or otherwise, in Pac-10 Conference history. Already a three-time All-American, including two indoors in the 60m hurdles (10th, 2005; 9th, 2006) and one in the 100m hurdles outdoors (5th, 2005), Lodree will be going for four this weekend -- a feat accomplished by just three other women in UW history. 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's run above that just once since. Following is a list of each of Lodree's 15 100m 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)
    5/13/06, Pac-10 Championships, Prelim, 13.21 (w: 1.3)
    5/14/06, Pac-10 Championships, Final, 13.59 (w: 2.0)
    5/26/06, NCAA West Regional, Prelim, 12.99aa (w:3.2)
    5/27/06, NCAA West Regional, Final, 13.04aa ( 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: already a Pac-10 champion, two-time All-American and three-time NCAA Championships participant, Frederick this week will become the first Husky ever to compete in both the long and high jumps at the same NCAA Championships. One of just seven Huskies ever to long jump 25 feet -- something he has done 13 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 has competed in both events at the NCAA meet before, including indoors in the long jump (6th, 2005 and 12th, 2006) and outdoors in the high jump (14th, 2005). That 2005 long jump finish was the best by a UW long jumper since 1965, and earned the freshman his first of two-career All-America honors. Frederick enters this week's meet hoping to repeat the success he had at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, where he won the long jump with a wind-aided lifetime best of 25-10 before taking second in the high jump with a lifetime-best 7-1 the next day. Those marks rank the sophomore No. 7 (long jump) and No. 15 (high jump) in this week's NCAA field, and are among the top marks by American males this year.

    Tracking Norris Frederick: In just two years, sophomore Norris Frederick has shown a knack for stepping up his game in the postseason. Following are a list of Frederick's career performances at conference, regional and NCAA championship meets:

    Date, Meet, Evemt, Place, Mark
    2/25/05, MPSF Indoor Champs, High Jump, 5th, 6-10 1/4
    2/26/05, MPSF Indoor Champs, Long Jump, 3rd, 24-5 3/4
    3/11/05, NCAA Indoor Champs, Long Jump, 6th, 25-5 1/4
    5/13/05, Pac-10 Championships, High Jump, 5th, 6-11 3/4
    5/14/05, Pac-10 Championships, Long Jump, 4th, 24-8 1/4 (w:NWI)
    5/27/05, NCAA West Regional, High Jump, 6th, 6-11
    5/28/05, NCAA West Regional, Long Jump, t11th, 23-6 1/4 (w:1.4)
    6/8/05, NCAA Outdoor Champs, High Jump, t17th, 6-10 3/4
    2/24/06, MPSF Indoor Champs, Long Jump, 1st, 25-2 1/2
    2/25/06, MPSF Indoor Champs, High Jump, 2nd, 7-0 1/4
    3/10/06, NCAA Indoor Champs, Long Jump, 12th, 24-3 3/4
    5/13/06, Pac-10 Championships, Long Jump, 1st, 25-10 (w:2.1)
    5/14/06, Pac-10 Championships, High Jump, 2nd, 7-1
    5/26/06, NCAA West Regional, Long Jump, 2nd, 25-4 3/4 (w:1.5)
    5/27/06, NCAA West Regional, High Jump, 2nd, 6-11

    The Fab Three?: The 2006 season marked the 30th anniversary of the 1976 season, when UW throwers Scott Neilson, Russ Vincent, Borys Chambul and Rod Ewaliko -- known forever as the 'Fab Four' -- became the first and only quartet of teammates to sweep the throwing events at the Pac-10 Championships. All four went on to earn All-America honors, while Chambul and Neilson won NCAA titles, two of nine national titles won by UW throwers from 1976-79. Exactly 30 years later, Washington's Will Conwell, Martin Bingisser and Juan Romero are hoping to light the spark for a similar era of success. After putting at least one UW men's thrower on the All-America podium in all but two seasons from 1967-2000 -- a stunning 44-year span -- the Huskies failed to even qualify a thrower for the national meet from 2001-05, prior to the team's qualifying trifecta this season. Conwell (discus), Bingisser (hammer) and Romero (javelin) represent Washington's largest NCAA Championships representation in the event since 1979, and each enter the national meet with marks among the nation's top-17 in their events. Perhaps the difference has been in reconnecting UW's throwers with the greats of the past -- former Husky All-Americans Aretha (Hill) Thurmond (1995-98) and Rob Minnitti (1999-2001) joined the UW coaching staff in 2006 as volunteer assistants, working with first-year assistant coach Reedus Thurmond.

    Romero Breaks Out: Without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the 2006 Pac-10 Championships was the javelin win by senior Juan Romero. Forced to redshirt the 2005 season with an injury, Romero entered the Pac-10 meet having thrown the javelin in competition just five times, total, in two years dating back to an eighth-place Pac-10 finish in 2004. Romero put all of that frustration into his first throw at the 2006 Pac-10 meet, unleashing a lifetime-best 233-foot, 10-inch monster that was 13 feet beyond his previous best, and 25 feet farther than he had ever thrown entering the 2006 campaign. Seeded sixth entering the event, Romero routed the Pac-10 field with his record toss, winning the conference championship by more than 10 feet. Two weeks later, the Renton (Wash.) High School graduate -- who had never before competed at a Regional Championships -- backed up his breakout performance with a second-place effort at the NCAA West Regional. Romero enters this week's NCAA Championships with the nation's 10th-best mark, but is one of just four of the top-10 to have achieved his top qualifying mark within the last month.

    30 Years of Spear Success: From NCAA champions Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo to 2004 All-American Megan Spriestersbach and 2006 Pac-10 champion Juan Romero, 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 Spriestersbach in 2004, and Heather Reichmann in 2003. The list of Washington's javelin greats includes five Pac-10 Champions (Uusitalo, `87; Roberson, `88-89; Troy Burkholder, `96; Romero, `06), 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.

    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 seventh in this week's NCAA Championships field, and is the ninth-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. 7 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 NCAAs.

    Brains And Brawn: Junior Martin Bingisser has 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 three-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 2005 after just three years of college, and is currently enrolled in the UW School of Law. The Interlake High School graduate, a two-time Pac-10 All-Academic firs-team honoree and a first-team Academic All-District pick in 2006, plans to use his final two years of eligibility while pursuing his J.D. Bingisser 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 17th in this week's NCAA Championships field. In addition to his academic and athletic prowess, Bingisser is among the country's leading hammer scholars -- his website,, provides comprehensive coverage of the hammer at the prep and college level, plus videos and other instruction tools.

    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-fastest in this week's NCAA Championships field -- 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 will have history on his side this weekend -- 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.

    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. Two of the five will be in action at this week NCAA Championships, including senior All-American Carly Dockendorf (6th, 2005 NCAA Outdoors), and sophomore Kelley DiVesta, an NCAA Championships participant in 2005. All five, including the departed Soma, senior All-American Ashley Wildhaber and injured junior Stevie Marshalek, 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, 2006, 15-1
    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 -- who will compete in her fifth-straight NCAA Championships this weekend -- 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 3/4

    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, 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.

    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 in 2006. 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 indoor 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, however, earned a second chance at individual success with a third-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the 2006 NCAA West Regional, clinching his first-career individual NCAA Championsips berth.

    Huskies Climb U.S., World Rankings: Hurdler Shane Charles, who set a Grenadian national record in the 400-meter hurdles in May, isn't the only Husky making international headlines. Assistant coaches Kelly Strong and Aretha Thurmond each rank into the top-20 of the current 2006 IAAF World Rankings in May, while junior Ashley Lodree and senior Will Conwell, as and volunteer assistant Rob Minnitti, each rank among the top-11 Americans in their events. 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 16th in the world this year. Thurmond, meanwhile, moved to No. 1 among Americans, and seventh 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. Lodree, meanwhile, ranks 10th among U.S. women in the 100-meter hurdles (13.00), while Conwell ranks 11th in the U.S. discus rankings (200-1), and Minnitti ranks fifth in the javelin (242-5). Former Huskies Christian Belz and Brad Walker are also among the world's best ¬¬-- Belz boasts Swiss national records in both the steeplechase and 10K, 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.

    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 Rob Minnitti (Boise State, `00), and Jacob Predmore (UW, `00).

    What a Weekend! 2006 Pac-10 Championships Redux: Senior Shane Charles broke UW and Grenadan national records in a Pac-10 winning performance in the 400-meter hurdles, while Norris Frederick (long jump) and Juan Romero (javelin) each earned titles of their own, leading UW's men to a fourth-place finish at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships in Eugene, Ore. The three individual titlists were the most for a UW men's team since 1976, while the Huskies' fourth-place finish was the team's best since 1997. Fifteen of the 24 Washington men entered in the meet earned top-five finishes in least one event, as did four UW women. Led by second-place finishers Carly Dockendorf (pole vault) and Amy Lia (1,500 meters), the Husky women placed seventh overall with 41 points, as Arizona State captured its first-ever Pac-10 women's crown with a 154-point total . USC (140) won the final evnt to edge host and defending champion Oregon (133) for the men's title, ahead of Arizona (122) and fourth-place Washington (99).

    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, 19 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 78 NCAA Championships competitors. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time steeple All-American, 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, coaching his athletes to a Pac-10 title and six All-America honors, including three for hurdler Ashley Lodree and three relays. First-year throws coach Reedus Thurmond, a three-time All-American at Auburn, 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 currently ranked ninth in U.S. history in the steeplechase. Ironically, the most accomplished members of the Husky coaching staff are two of the the team's volunteer assistants -- former Huskies Aretha (Hill) Thurmond and Rob Minnitti. A four-time All-American, two-time Olympian and two-time U.S. champion, Thurmond is in her first year at UW, assisting husband Reedus Thurmond with the UW throwers. Minnitti, meanwhile, has had a prolific first year coaching UW's javelin throwers, mentoring Juan Romero to a Pac-10 title and Tiffany Zahn to a second-place Pac-10 finish. An All-American in the javelin at both Washington and Boise State during his collegiate career, Minnitti was the 11th-place finisher at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.

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