Huskies Put Season On the Line at Regional Meet

Nov. 7, 2006

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On the Course: Washington's cross country squads put their seasons on the line Saturday at the NCAA West Regional Championships in Portland's Blue Lake Park, the final opportunity for each team to earn an NCAA Championships berth. To do so, both squads will have to best some of the deepest regional fields in the nation -- Washington's 35th-ranked men will match up against five of the top-30 teams in the country, including top-10 opponents Oregon (No.6), Stanford (No. 7) and Portland (No. 9), while the 29th-ranked Husky women will also battle a trio of top-10 teams including No. 1 Stanford, No. 7 UC Santa Barbara, and No. 8 Arizona State. The Huskies do, however, have history on their side -- Washington's women have finished third or better at the Regional in six of the last 10 years, while the UW men have earned fourth-place finishes twice since 2003.

NCAA West Regional Championships Meet Schedule (All Times Pacific)
Women's 6,000m Race: 11:00 a.m.
Men's 10,000m Race: 12:15 p.m.

NCAA Selection Process: The top-two teams at each of nine regionals nationwide on Saturday will earn automatic berths to the 2006 NCAA Championships, Nov. 20 in Terre Haute, Ind. An additional 13 men's and women's teams will be added to the field via a points-based at-large selection process. In addition, the top four individuals at each regional not on qualifying teams will be added at-large to NCAAmeet. The final NCAA Championships field, including all at-large teams and individuals, will be announced at NCAASports.com no later than 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12.

Expected to Run: Following is a tentative list of those Huskies who will make the trip to Portland for Saturday's NCAA West Regional. Interestingly, the Husky women's squad boasts just two changes from the team that placed third at the Regional meet a year ago, while the UW men's team includes four of its top-seven 2005 finishers:

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) )
Brooke Lademan, So., Rolling Hills, Calif. (Peninsula) )
Amy Lia, Jr., Bothell, Wash. (Bothell) )
Amanda Miller, So., Wenatchee, Wash. (Eastmont) )
Trisha Rasmussen, Jr., Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge) )
Sayaka Yoshinaga, Sr., Seattle, Wash. (Ballard)

Name, Yr., Hometown (High School) )
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)

Meet Results: Results from Saturday's NCAA West Regional 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 will be posted to GoHuskies.com approximately one hour after the meet's conclusion. For the first posting of results from the West Regional meet, visit www.NCAASports.com.

Blue Lake Bliss: If the Huskies need inspiration for this week's NCAA West Regional meet at Blue Lake Park, they need only to look back to 2003, the last time Portland hosted the West Regional Meet. Washington's men and women finished fourth and third, respectively, at the 2003 West Regional Meet, and were both selected at-large to the NCAA Championships the following day. That marked the first time since 1993 that both UW teams had competed in the NCAAs in the same year, a feat that they hope to repeat this year. Interestingly, three Huskies competing this weekend were freshmen on those UW teams, including senior Mike Sayenko and juniors Carl Moe and Amy Lia.

Huskies in the Rankings: Last week's conference championship meets had little effect on the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) rankings, as both Wisconsin's men and Stanford's women retained iron grips on the No. 1 spots. Washington's women, ranked as high as 10th earlier this season, earned a 29th-place mention after a strong third-place Pac-10 effort. The Husky men, meanwhile, slipped just outside the top-30 with six total votes, equaling Northern Arizona for 35th in the 'also receiving votes' category.

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. Five of the nation's current top-30 men's teams hail from West Regional schools, including three among the top-10. The women's rankings, meanwhile, also include three top-10 squads, with Washington bringing the Region's total top-30 representation to four.

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 a win over No. 5 Duke, among others. The Husky men, meanwhile, handed sixth-ranked Texas a defeat at the Dellinger meet, and faced top-10 competition at both the Sundodger and Pac-10 Championships. This week's NCAA West Regional fields include six top-10 teams, three each for the men and women.

Pac-10 Championships Redux: The 2006 Pac-10 Championships at Stanford gave a preview of what could be a dangerous Husky team at this week's regional. Three Huskies earned top-10 individual finishes, including seventh-place men's finisher Jeremy Mineau and a pair of Husky women -- junior Amy Lia (6th) and sophomore Anita Campbell (9th). Lia and Campbell lifted Washington's women into a third-place finish ¬-- behind only top-10 foes Stanford and ASU -- while the Husky men ran sixth.

Peak Performer: Washington's third-place effort at the Pac-10 Championships certainly owes a lot to the top-10 efforts of Amy Lia and Anita Campbell, but it was also a testament to the strong runs put in by the Huskies' other top-five competitors. Most notable was the 24th-place finish by sophomore Amanda Miller, third-best of any Husky and a full 20 spots higher than her finish at the same meet a year ago. After not running with the UW varsity all fall, Miller debuted with a lifetime-best 21:33 effort for 6,000 meters, putting herself in position to be a significant factor for UW this weekend.

Keeping the Streaks Alive: Washington's women kept alive a number of impressive streaks last weekend. The Huskies' third-place team finish was its 18th-straight top-five Pac-10 Championships effort, including 12 finishes of third or better. Furthermore, Amy Lia (6th) and Anita Campbell (9th) kept alive a streak of 13 straight seasons in which a UW woman has placed among the top-10 finishers. While that alone would be impressive, it is even more amazing to consider that over the last 10 years of the Huskies' individual top-10 streak Washington has been led at the meet by 10 different runners. 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.

Regional Streaks, Too: Washington's streaky nature doesn't stop with the Pac-10 Championships -- the Huskies will be looking to extend some long-running streaks at this week's regional meet as well. Washington's women have finished among the top-five teams at the regional for 17-consecutive seasons, including 10 top-three finishes. In addition, a UW woman has finished 11th or better seven times in the last eight years, and in 13 of the last 15 years overall. Washington's men, meanwhile, boast two fourth-place regional finishes in the last three years, each of which ultimately earned at-large NCAA berths.

2005 NCAA West Regional Redux: Anchored by top-11 finishers Mark Mandi and Anita Campbell, Washington's cross country teams each earned top-four finishd at the 2005 NCAA West Regional at Stanrford. Seven Huskies earned All-West Region honors with top-25 finishes, led by senior Mandi's fifth-place effort -- the fifth-highest regional finish ever by a Husky men's runner. Sophomore Jeremy Mineau (16th) and junior Mike Sayenko (25th) also earned top-25 finishes for the UW men, while the Husky women were led by All-Region performers Campbell (11th) , freshman Tori Tyler (15th), sophomore Amy Lia (17th) and freshman Brooke Lademan (22nd). Ninth-ranked Arizona upset No. 4 Stanford to win its first regional title since 1994, while the No. 2 Cardinal women edged fifth-ranked ASU for their seventh-consecutive regional crown.

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.

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