Strong Advances in Steeple at U.S. Nationals

June 22, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Washington assistant coach Kelly Strong placed second in a preliminary heat of the steeplechase at the 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday, earning the Tualatin, Ore., native one of 14 places in Saturday's steeplechase final. Strong is one of 17 athletes with UW ties competing at the five-day meet, which continues through Sunday.

Ranked third in the U.S. and 22nd in the world with a season-best of 9 minutes, 48.90 seconds, Strong cruised through a relatively slow preliminary heat in just 10:18.09. BYU's Rena Chesser won Strong's heat in just 10:17.97, while Asics' Carrie Messner won the second heat in 10:17.67 --by comparison, all 16 entrants have run below 10:17 this year, while six (including Strong) have run below 10 minutes.

'We didn't have enough time to warm up after the delay,' says Strong, who competes professionally for Asics. 'The plan was just to stay out of trouble, not do anything unusual, and make the final.'

The 27-year-old Strong, who has placed as high as third in the steeplechase at the USA Outdoor Championships, was a five-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 champion during an outstanding collegiate career at Arizona State from 1999-2002.

Since coming to Seattle in 2002 to train professionally and coach UW's women's distance runners, she has risen to seventh in U.S. history in the event, and was the fifth-place finisher at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Strong also recently crowned her first NCAA champion, guiding Husky junior Amy Lia to a national collegiate title in the 1,500 meters in June.

The Husky assistant coach was one of six athletes with UW ties in action on Thursday, including three Husky freshmen competing in the FinshLine USA Junior Outdoor Championships, held in conjunction with the senior national event in Indianapolis.

Freshman Daniel Te'o-Nesheim -- who also competes for the UW football team -- placed 14th in the shot put after a 10th-place finish in Wednesday's discus, while freshmen hurdlers Syreeta Martin and Falesha Ankton were fifth and seventh, respectively, in their qualifying heats of the 400-meter hurdles.

At the senior level, Husky junior Ryan Brown -- just two weeks removed from winning the NCAA title in the 800 meters -- failed to advance to semi-final rounds of the 800 meters after a ninth-place finish in his preliminary heat, while fellow NCAA champion Lia saw her preliminary heat of the 1,500 meters cancelled; the event will instead run as a straight final on Saturday. Senior Tiffany Zahn also competed late in the women's javelin throw; her result will be updated as soon as the event is complete.

The Huskies will have just two athletes competing Friday, including Pac-10 long jump champion Norris Frederick and incoming freshman pole vaulter Scott Roth, a two-time prep All-American from California. Reigning U.S. pole vault champion Brad Walker, a 2004 UW alum, is scheduled to compete Saturday, as is two-time U.S. discus champion Aretha (Hill) Thurmond.

For complete up-to-the-minute results from this week's USA Outdoor Championships, visit

2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Michael Carroll Stadium; Indianapolis, Ind.
June 21-26, 2006

UW Men's Results
800m Run (Heat 1 of 4): 9. Ryan Brown, Unatt., 1:52.62; Shot Put (Final): 14. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim*, 49-4 1/2; Discus (Final): 10. Te'o-Nesheim*, 167-5.

UW Women's Results
400m Hurdles Prelim (Heat 4 of 4):
5. Syreeta Martin*, Unatt., 1:04.50; 7. Falesha Ankton*, Unatt., 1:06.04; 3000m Steeplechase Prelim (Heat 1 of 2): 2. Kelly Strong, Asics, 10:18.09Q.

* - athlete competing in FinishLine USA Junior (Under-20) National Championships

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