Sayenko Earns Olympic Qualifying Mark in Marathon

Dec. 4, 2006

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Husky senior Mike Sayenko made his lifetime marathon debut a memorable one Sunday, bettering the 2008 Olympic 'A' standard at the California International Marathon in Sacramento, Calif.

The senior from Bellevue, Wash., placed eighth overall in a field of nearly 4,000, his time of 2 hours, 19 minutes, 45 seconds just five minutes behind that of race winner Jonathan Ndambuki of Kenya. Both runners were among eight to better the 2008 Olympic 'A' qualifying standard of 2:20.00, guaranteeing Sayenko and his fellow Americans in the top-eight a berth at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Prior to Sunday, Sayenko had never before competed in a marathon, and at age 22, was the youngest of any of the top-150 finishers in the race.

'This is really an amazing accomplishment for Mike,' said Washington head coach Greg Metcalf. 'To debut with an Olympic qualifying mark after not even really doing a full training is just awesome.'

A graduate of Sammammish High School in Bellevue, Sayenko has been a key figure on Washington's cross country team the past four years, leading the Huskies to three NCAA Championships appearances, including a 12th-place finish last month. Sayenko ran 65th overall at the NCAA meet, and will be among the Pac-10's top returning competitors at 5,000- and 10,000 meters this spring.

'It goes without saying, but Mike's been running as well these past couple of months as he has at any point in his college career,' Metcalf says. 'I'm certain he has a big season ahead of him this year.'

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