Huskies Streak Into Pac-10 Meet
Oct. 24, 2006
On the Course: The regular-season behind them, Washington's men's and women's cross country teams begin the sprint to next month's NCAA Championships on Saturday at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships in Stanford, Calif. Both Washington squads will face imposing tasks in their bids for conference titles -- the top-ranked Stanford women have won 10-straight Pac-10 titles and 12 of the last 13, and will be running on their home course at Stanford Golf Course. The Cardinal men, too, boast a top-five ranking (5th) and a long streak of conference titles, having swept six-straight Pac-10 meets, and nine of the last 10. The No. 7 Oregon men and No. 8 Arizona State women would seem to provide the stiffest challenge for the defending champions, though 26th-ranked Washington and No. 25 Arizona will mount a challenge on the men's side, as will the Husky women, ranked as high as 10th earlier in the year. Racing begins at 10 a.m. with the 6,000-meter women's championship, followed by the 8K men's race at 11 a.m. For more information, visit www.gostanford.com.
Expected to Run: Following is a tentative list of those Huskies who will make the trip to Stanford for Saturday's Pac-10 Championships. The Huskies may start as many as seven competitors in the race, with the top-five finishers counting towards the overall team scoring total. Interestingly, each team boasts just one change from the 10 that traveled to the Pre-National Meet two weeks ago.
Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Anita Campbell, So., Vancouver, B.C. (Aldregrove)
Annaliese Chapa, So., Portland, Ore. (Cenrtal Catholic)
Katie Follett, Fr., Fort Collins, Colo. (Fort Collins)
Mo Huber, Fr., Oakland, Calif. (Acalanes)
Brooke Lademan, So., Rolling Hills, Calif. (Peninsula)
Amy Lia, Jr., Bothell, Wash. (Bothell)
Amanda Miller, So., Wenatchee, Wash. (Eastmont)
Dani Schuster, So., Kennewick, Wash. (Kamiakin)
Trisha Rasmussen, Jr., Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge)
Sayaka Yoshinaga, Sr., Seattle, Wash. (Ballard)
Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Chris Ahl, RFr., Seattle, Wash. (Bishop Blanchet)
Travis Boyd, Sr., Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak)
Jon Harding, So., Issaquah, Wash. (Issaquah)
Jeremy Mineau, Jr., Menlo Park, Calif. (Menlo-Atherton)
Carl Moe, Jr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn-Riverside)
Matt Owen, Sr., Yakima, Wash. (East Valley)
Kevin Peters, Sr., Longview, Wash. (Mark Morris)
Mike Sayenko, Sr., Bellevue, Wash. (Sammamish)
Adam Shimer, Jr., Edmonds, Wash. (Meadowdale)
James Wilson, So., Yakima, Wash. (East Valley)
Meet Results: Results from Saturday's Pac-10 Championships will be posted to GoHuskies.com as soon as they are available. Furthermore, a full recap from the meet, including historical notes, and quotes from head coach Greg Metcalf will be posted to GoHuskies.com approximately one hour after the meet's conclusion. For the first posting of results from the Pac-10 meet, visit www.gostanford.com.
Peak Performer: On a team dominated by youth -- witness the seven freshmen or sophomores on UW's 10-woman travel list for Pac-10s -- it can be difficult for a senior to make her voice heard. But that's exactly what senior Sayaka Yoshinaga (Seattle, Wash./Ballard) did at this month's Mike Hodges Invitational. Yoshinaga finished the 5,000-meter course in a personal-best 17 minutes, 21 seconds -- nearly a minute faster than her 5K best entering the year -- and placed eighth overall, tops among Huskies. Washington's coaches may have been busy coaching the UW varsity at the Pre-National Meet that day, but they certainly took notice, placing Yoshinaga on the travel squad for Saturday's conference meet at Stanford.
Huskies in the Rankings: October's Pre-National Meet shook up the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) national collegiate rankings, with several teams changing positition significantly. The Husky women, ranked 14th on Oct. 10, dropped out of the rankings entirely after an 18th-place Pre-National finish, while Stanford (390) continued to hold a unanimous grip on the No. 1 spot. The Husky men, meanwhile, cracked back into the top-30 at 26th overall, their 79 a 73-point improvment from the previous poll. Wisconsin's men increased their lead over all comers, scoring 448 points to outdistance Colorado (427) and Iona (422).
Watch Out, West Region: In addition to evaluating the current collegiate cross country landscape, this week's USTFCCCA rankings also provided a sneak preview of what could be an incredible West Regional meet in two weeks' time. Eight of the nation's current top-30 men's teams hail from West Regional schools, including two of the top-10, and four of the top-13. The women's rankings, meanwhile, include just three West Regional participants, but all three -- No. 1 Stanford, No. 7 UCSB and No. 8 ASU -- are among the top-10 teams, while Washington, currently unranked, was in the top-10 earlier this month.
Keeping the Streak Alive: Given Washington's long history of distance-running success, it's no surprise that both UW teams boast outstanding records in Pac-10 Championships competition. The Husky women have been particularly effective in their 20 years of Conference racing, capturing one Pac-10 title and boasting a string of 17-consecutive top-five finishes. That streak, however, is somewhat misleading -- in fact, the UW has finished in the top three at the Pac-10 meet in 11 of those 17 years, and has only finished as low as fifth twice since 1988. Just as remarkable is the team's individual success at Pac-10s -- a UW woman has placed among the top-10 finishers in 12-straight seasons, dating back to 1994, and in 16 of the last 17 years overall. Amazingly, over the last nine years of that streak -- dating back to 1997 -- the Huskies have been led at the meet by nine different runners, a streak guaranteed to extend to 10 on Saturday given that last year's leader and eighth-place conference finisher Tori Tyler will not make the trip to Stanford this weekend. Not since Deeja Youngquist led the Huskies at consecutive Pac-10 meets in 1996 and 1997 has any Washington women's runner led UW at Pac-10s more than once in her career.
Men Streaking, Too: Not to be outdone, Washington's men also boast an impressive history at the Pac-10 meet, having placed fifth or better 17 times in the past 20 years, including a current three-year streak of top-four finishes. Unlike the women, however, Washington has been led at Pac-10s by just five different runners over the past 10 years, including in the past two seasons by two-time All-Pac-10 First-Team performer Mark Mandi.
Home Sweet Home: Saturday's meet will mark a homecoming of sorts for junior Jeremy Mineau, who attended Menlo-Atherton High School in nearby Menlo Park, Calif., and frequently competed on the Stanford Golf Course as a prep. The Huskies' top runner at last year's NCAA Championships and throughout the 2006 regular season, Mineau has competed once before on his hometown course in a UW uniform -- then a sophomore, Mineau ran 16th overall at last year's West Regional meet at Stanford, helping Washington to a fourth-place tie.
2005 Pac-10 Redux: Senior Mark Mandi was fourth, and freshman Tori Tyler was eighth at the 2005 Pac-10 meet in Tucson, Ariz., leading the Huskies' teams to matching fourth-place finishes. Mandi's finish-- equaling the best-ever by a Washington's men's runner -- earned the senior his second-straight first-team All-Pac-10 honor, while Tyler merited second-team acclaim. Stanford swept team titles for the sixth-straight year. Arizona's Robert Cheseret successfully defended his 2004 Pac-10 men's cross country title, while Stanford's Arianna Lambie captured the women's crown. Interestingly, while Tyler will not make the trip to Stanford this weekend, the Husky women will travel six of their top-seven Pac-10 Championships finishers of a year ago. Washington's men, meanwhile, return four of their top-seven finishers from last year's meet, not counting junior Jeremy Mineau, a regular top-seven performer who missed the 2005 conference meet with an injury.
Top-10 Trials: Washington's squads will be battle-tested by the end of the 2006 season, having faced top-10 foes at every varsity competition. After falling to No. 3 Michigan at the season-opening Sundodger Invite, the Husky women got back on track at September's Bill Dellinger Invitational with wins over then-No. 5 Duke, No. 26 Indiana, No. 28 Oregon and No. 30 Butler. The Husky men, meanwhile, handed sixth-ranked Texas a defeat at the Dellinger meet, as well as No. 29 American. This week, Washington's teams will do battle with two top-10 opponents in both the men's and women's races at the Pac-10 Championships, and will face five such foes at next month's West Regional meet.
NCAA Champions Back to Work: Few teams in the country boast the distinction Washington has this fall of having two reigning NCAA champions on its cross country roster. Both won middle-distance titles at the 2006 NCAA Track and Field Championships in June, with junior Ryan Brown winning the 800m in 1:46.29, and junior Amy Lia capturing the 1,500m crown in 4:14.63. While Brown is primarily a track competitor, having raced in just two cross country meets in his first three-plus years at Washington, Lia boasts a strong cross country pedigree, including All-West Region performances in 2003 and 2005, and a No. 3 placing among Huskies at the 2003 NCAA Championships. Lia ran just twice in 2005 due to injury, but is expected to be at full strength for the 2006 fall campaign, where she bolsters an already-loaded lineup including 2005 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year Tori Tyler and 2006 World Championships qualifier Anita Campbell.
A New Streak Begins: Prior to the 2005 season, Washington's women had competed at eight-consecutive NCAA Championships, a feat matched by just five other schools. Despite a third-place finish at the super-competitive West Regional meet, however, the Huskies were left off the list of provisional teams invited to the 2005 meet, snapping the streak at eight. Interestingly, it was the first time since 1996 that the third-place team at the West Regional had failed to earn an NCAA Championships invitation. That unlucky team? The University of Washington. The Huskies matched their Regional finish a year later to reach the NCAAs in 1997 -- head coach Greg Metcalf's first year at the helm -- and reached every NCAA Championships for nearly a decade thereafter before the 2005 snub.
Meet the Coaches: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his fifth year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his 10th year overall at the University. Metcalf has guided the women's cross-country team to eight NCAA appearances in nine years, and has led the UW men to the national meet in two of the last three seasons. Metcalf has coached two NCAA champions, 23 All-Americans, six Pac-10 champions, 83 NCAA qualifiers and 14 school-record setters. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeplechase. Metcalf is joined on the coaching staff by five-time All-American Kelly (MacDonald) Strong, a three-time Pac-10 champion at Arizona State, and first-year assistant Jimmy Bean, an All-Midwest Region performer at Division-III Greenville (Ill.) University.