World No. 1 Walker Leads 17 Huskies to U.S. Nationals

June 20, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Reigning indoor world champion Brad Walker and two-time U.S. Olympian Aretha (Hill) Thurmond will be among 17 current, former or future Washington track and field athletes competing for national championships this weekend at the 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, beginning Wednesday at IUPUI's Michael Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis.

The list of Huskies competing includes seven Pac-10 champions, four NCAA champions, two USA national champions and one reigning world championships gold medalist, including 2006 NCAA champions Ryan Brown and Amy Lia.

The top three finishers in each senior national event will be eligible to compete for the United States at the IAAF World Cup of Athletics in Athens, Greece, in September; those in junior national events will qualify to compete at August's IAAF World Junior Championships in Beijing, China.

Ranked No. 1 in the IAAF's world pole vault rankings since October of 2005, Walker enters this week's meet seeking his fourth-career U.S. national pole vault title. The Spokane native and 2004 Washington graduate won U.S. indoor titles in 2005 and 2006, and was the U.S. outdoor champ last year. The two-time NCAA indoor champion won the gold medal at the 2006 IAAF Indoor World Championships in Moscow, Russia, and was the silver medalist at last year's world outdoor meet in Helsinki.

Thurmond, too, boasts a pair of USA Outdoor titles, having won the national discus crown in both 2003 and 2004. A 1994 graduate of Renton (Wash.) High School and 1998 UW alum, Thurmond has been America's pre-eminent women's discus competitor for the last decade, earning top-five finishes at the USA Championships every year since 1996, and qualifying for U.S. Olympic teams in both 1996 and 2004. Currently a Washington volunteer assistant coach, Thurmond captained the U.S. team at last year's world championships in Finland, and enters this week's meet with the nation's No. 1 mark in 2006.

Walker and Thurmond are among five former Huskies in this week's national championships, which also include 2005 NCAA pole vault champion Kate Soma and former UW javelin All-Americans Rob Minnitti and Justin St. Clair.

Thurmond and Minnitti, both UW volunteer assistant coaches in 2006, are among four members of the current UW coaching staff who will be in action this week. Assistant distance coach Kelly Strong ranks eighth in U.S. history in the steeplechase, while assistant throws coach Reedus Thurmond was a three-time collegiate All-American at Auburn, and competed in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Representing the 2006 Husky track and field squad will be reigning NCAA champions Brown (800 meters) and Lia (1,500m), Pac-10 champions Juan Romero (javelin) and Norris Frederick (long jump), seniors Tiffany Zahn (javelin) and Will Conwell (discus) and freshmen Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (discus), Falesha Ankton (400m hurdles) and Syreeta Martin (400m hurdles). All but Te'o-Nesheim, Ankton and Martin will compete at the senior national level, with the latter three joining the nation's top under-20 athletes in the junior national event.

Rounding out the cast of 17 Huskies at the meet is 2007 signee Scott Roth of Granite Bay (Calif.) High School. The two-time prep All-American won the USA Youth Outdoor national title in 2005, and was the silver medalist at the 2005 World Youth Outdoor Games. He boasts the nation's No. 2 prep mark in 2006, a best of 17-5 that would have placed in the top-10 at the 2006 NCAA Championships.

Complete recaps will be posted to GoHuskies.com at the conclusion of each day's events. For more information on this or any other USA Track and Field event, visit www.usatf.org.

2006 USA National Track and Field ChampionshipsJune 21-25, Michael Carroll Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.

Name Event Date Time (PDT)Ryan Brown 800m Run Thurs., June 22 2:25 p.m. (Prelim) Fri., June 23 5:30 p.m. (Semi) Sun., June 25 2:00 p.m. (Final)Daniel Te'o-Nesheim* Shot Put Wed., June 21 1:30 p.m. Discus Thurs., June 22 12:15 p.m.Falesha Ankton* 400m Hurdles Thurs., June 22 9:40 a.m. (Prelim) Fri., June 23 11:45 a.m. (Final)Will Conwell Discus Sun., June 25 1:00 p.m.Norris Frederick** Long Jump Fri., June 23 4:00 p.m.Amy Lia 1,500m Run Thurs., June 22 3:10 p.m. (Prelim) Sat., June 24 5:40 p.m. (Final)Syreeta Martin* 400m Hurdles Thurs., June 22 9:40 a.m. (Prelim) Fri., June 23 11:45 a.m. (Final)Rob Minnitti Javelin Sat., June 25 10:30 a.m.Juan Romero Javelin Sat., June 25 10:30 a.m.Scott Roth* Pole Vault Fri., June 23 10:15 a.m.Justin St. Clair Javelin Sat., June 25 10:30 a.m.Kate Soma Pole Vault Sun., June 25 11:45 a.m.Kelly Strong Steeplechase Thurs., June 22 1:35 p.m. (Prelim) Sat., June 24 4:20 p.m. (Final)Aretha Thurmond Discus Sat., June 24 3:50 p.m.Reedus Thurmond Discus Sun., June 25 1:00 p.m.Brad Walker Pole Vault Sat., June 24 3:30 p.m.Tiffany Zahn Javelin Thurs., June 22 4:10 p.m.

* - Indicates Junior National Championships competitor.** - Entry is provisional.

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