Huskies Raise Roof on 2007 Track Season
Jan. 10, 2007
On the Track: Seven months after the 2006 season came to thrilling end with a pair of NCAA Championship performances, Washington's track and field teams return to competition Saturday for the first time in 2007, hosting the UW Indoor Preview at Dempsey Indoor. Three of Washington's eight returning All-Americans will be in action, joined by full squads from Pac-10 rival Stanford, regional rivals Portland and UC Riverside, and several other small colleges and clubs. Admission is free to all spectators, with field events beginning at 8:30 a.m., and events on the track commencing at 9:30 a.m. For complete meet entries and a finalized event schedule, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
Live Results!: Results of all UW home indoor track and field meets are posted live throughout the meet to the official site of UW athletics, www.GoHuskies.com. A link to a complete event schedule and live results will appear on the track and field sport page the morning of each meet, allowing fans the opportunity to follow along with the action as events conclude. Simply go to GoHuskies.com, and click on 'track' from the 'sports' pull-down menu to find the live results link on each meet day.
Event Schedule: ,For the most up-to-date schedule of events, visit http://gohuskies.cstv.com/sports/c-track/spec-rel/120706aac.html. All times are Pacific and subject to change.
Meet Results: Results will be posted periodically throughout the meet on a board at the south end of Dempsey Indoor. Following the conclusion of the meet, packets of results will be available at the finish line for coaches and meet officials only. Please allow 5-10 minutes following the conclusion of the final event for results to be processed and approved. Final results will be faxed to all local media and participating schools roughly 30 minutes following the conclusion of the meet, and will be posted to the official site of Husky athletics, www.gohuskies.com, within an hour. Any coach or SID wishing to have results e-mailed should send a special request to the UW Sports Information office at the e-mail address listed on the following page.
Dempsey Indoor: In only three full seasons, Washington's Dempsey Indoor has already earned a reputation as one of the nation's top indoor competition venues. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. Dempsey Indoor has hosted more than a dozen Olympians, witnessed 15 top-10 world marks, 19 UW indoor school records and hundreds of NCAA qualifying marks, and is the host site of the MPSF Championships. In addition to its competitive use, the building serves as an indoor practice facility for many UW teams.
Ridiculous Records: Washington's athletes certainly kept the team's indoor record-keepers busy in 2006, combining for 51 marks among the Huskies' all-time top-10 indoors, including five school records -- two by hurdler Ashley Lodree. Washington's highly-acclaimed indoor facility, Dempsey Indoor, has certainly had an effect on the Huskies' indoor list, with 27 school records and an eye-popping 234 marks among UW's all-time top-10 having been achieved since the start of the 2002 season, UW's first in the facility.
2007 Season Preview: Washington will look to continue its record-setting two-year run of NCAA Championships appearances and All-America honors in 2007, with eight All-Americans, two NCAA champions and two Pac-10 champions providing the backbone of a resurgent UW program. Washington's men look to return to the podium at the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional meets with a number of strong returnees, including six-time All-American and reigning NCAA 800m champion Ryan Brown, two-time All-American and defending Pac-10 long jump champion Norris Frederick, and All-American hammer thrower Martin Bingisser, as well as three of four returnees from the Huskies' distance medley relay squad which has placed fifth at each of the past two NCAA championship meets. The Husky men are also bolstered by a number of rising young stars, including newcomer Mart Israel of Estonia, whose lifetime discus best would have scored at last year's NCAA Championships, and freshman pole vaulter Scott Roth, a 17-foot prep jumper with the ability to compete immediately on the national level. Washington's women, meanwhile, remain strong at the top with the return of defending NCAA 1500m champion Amy Lia, four-time All-American and reigning MPSF 60m hurdles champion Ashley Lodree, and sophomore distance sensation Anita Campbell, along with freshman and prep All-American thrower Whitney Hooks, and emerging young stars Dani Schuster (mid-distances) and Kellie DiVesta (pole vault).
2006 In Review: The 2006 season proved to be another record-breaker for Washington track and field, with Husky athletes accounting for two NCAA titles, three Pac-10 titles, three MPSF indoor titles, and an unprecedented MPSF indoor team championship. A total of 25 Huskies earned NCAA Championships bids last season (second in UW history only to the 28 of a year before), with a record 19 earning All-America honors. Distance runner Ryan Brown became just the second Husky to win four All-America honors in one season, winning the NCAA outdoor title at 800m, and leading UW's 4x400m (3rd indoors, 8th outdoors) and DMR squads (5th indoors) to top-eight national finishes. Sophomore Amy Lia also won an NCAA title, at 1500m, and was ninth at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Junior Ashley Lodree cracked the Pac-10's all-time top-10 in the 100m hurdles with a 12.99-second mark en route to her third- and fourth-career All-America honors, and was one of six Huskies to earn conference titles. Lodree, sophomore longer jumper Norris Frederick and junior weight thrower Martin Bingisser all captured conference crowns indoors, the latter helping the UW men to their first conference title of any kind since 1929. Frederick (long jump), senior Juan Romero (javelin) and senior Shane Charles (400m hurdles) continued the conference championship bonanza at the 2006 Pac-10 meet, becoming the first UW trio to earn conference titles in individual events since 1977.
Relay Rewards: There's never been a better time to run on a UW relay than right now. Washington's win in the 4x400 meters at the 2006 NCAA West Regional was the first in the postseason by a UW relay since 1975, and clinched the team's third-straight NCAA Championships bid -- a feat never before accomplished at UW. Three Husky foursomes earned All-America honors in 2006 -- the first time in UW history that has happened -- including a third-place finish for Washington's 4x400-meter relay indoors that was the best-ever for a UW relay indoors, and the best by a UW 4x400-meter squad, indoors or out, since winning the 1975 NCAA outdoor title. Prior to the arrival of assistant coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., who took over UW's sprint/relay program in 2005, Washington had failed to qualify a relay for the NCAA Championships since 1998 -- in the two years since Vaughn's hire, a stunning six of the Huskies' eight relays have qualified for the NCAA Championships, while four have earned All-America honors -- a feat accomplished by just three UW relays in the previous 30 years. Washington had multiple relays at both the 2005 NCAA Outdoor and 2006 NCAA Indoor meets -- something that had not occurred even once previously in 85 years of NCAA competition -- and has put three of its four relays atop the UW record books, with the fourth (the 4x100-meter relay) clocking UW's second-fastest time ever, and the fastest by a UW sprint relay in 22 years.
Amazing Amy: Junior Amy Lia pulled off one of the most memorable come-from-behind wins in recent NCAA Championships history in the 1,500-meter final at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor meet, coming from 25 meters back over the final half-lap to capture her first NCAA title. It's hard to fault the casual observer for ruling out Lia when she was running last with 250 meters to go -- the sophomore from Bothell, Wash., had placed last in the 1,500-meter final a year before, just barely staved off elimination in the semi-final round, and was the lowest-seeded of any of the 12 finals competitors. But as the racers entered the final turn, Lia suddenly surged forward on the outside, catching and passing the leaders at the 100-meter mark and taking one quick look over her shoulder before sprinting to the finish. Lia's effort was remarkable not only for her win -- the first by a UW women's track athlete at the national meet since Regina Joyce's AIAW 3,000-meter crown in 1981 -- but for her winning time of 4:14.63, a nearly three-second PR and the fastest by any collegiate women's athlete during the 2006 collegiate season. Lest anyone think Lia's performance was a fluke, the junior-to-be backed it up with a ninth-place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships, and a fifth-place effort as a member of Team USA at the NACAC Under-23 Championships. Lia enters the 2007 season ranked No. 1 among Pac-10 competitors at 1,500 meters, and will be a strong force in the mile and distance medley relays as well.
Brown is Back: Just two years ago, Ryan Brown was out of track and field, having walked away from a promising career, stating a desire to focus on school over sports. In the 16 months since returning to the sport in January 2005, however, Brown won NCAA, Pac-10, West Regional and MPSF 800-meter titles, and captured a stunning six All-America accolades. Brown's turnaround began in the 2005 Pac-10 800-meter final, as the Renton native outkicked Pac-10 favorite Jon Rankin of UCLA down the homestretch to win in 1:47.31, then continued two weeks later when Brown outkicked Rankin again to win the 2005 NCAA West Regional. After filling in the intervening 12 months with All-America performances in the 800m (10th, 2005 Outdoors), 4x400m (3rd, 2006 Indoors) and DMR (5th, 2006 Indoors) Brown was back atop the podium at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships, again outkicking the field in the final 100 meters for his first NCAA title, and the first by a Husky men's runner since 1998. Brown's time of 1:46.29 in the NCAA final shattered the school record and was the fastest by a collegian in 2006, and was more than a full second faster than his previous lifetime best. The junior returned less than two hours later to lead the Huskies' 4x400-meter relay squad to eighth, in the process becoming one of just four Huskies ever to earn six-career All-America honors.
The `Lo' Down: Senior Ashley Lodree entered rare air at the 2006 NCAA West Regional -- and that's not just a reference to the thin air of BYU's Clarence Robison Track. The Richmond, Calif., native became the first Husky ever to break 13 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles with a wind-aided time of 12.99 seconds (after altitude adjustment) in the regional prelim, then backed it up with a wind-legal 13.04-second, altitude-adjusted time in the final. The latter mark crushed Lodree's own school record of 13.17 set twice in 2005, while the former mark was the 10th-fastest, wind-aided or otherwise, in Pac-10 Conference history. Already a four-time All-American, including two indoors in the 60m hurdles (10th, 2005; 9th, 2006) and two outdoors in the 100m hurdles (5th, 2005; 7th, 2006), Lodree enters 2007 with a chance to surpass Kate Soma's UW record of five All-America honors, while also seeking UW's first-ever NCAA hurdles title. Lodree boasts top-10 all-time marks in all 11 of the events she has attempted in her UW career, including four school records -- no other woman in UW history has ever ranked on as many of UW's all-time lists, while just one, distance runner Regina Joyce, has held as many UW records.
Elite Company: In capturing two All-America honors at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, senior Ryan Brown became one of just 10 Huskies ever to earn multiple All-America honors at one meet, a feat he then duplicated outdoors. Sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, UW's most prolific All-American with 10 career honors, holds the UW meet record with three All-America awards at the 1998 NCAA Indoor Championships, and is the only Husky besides Brown to accomplish the All-America double more than once. Brown's honors, furthermore, helped extend his career total to six, equaling Rick Noji for third on UW's all-time list behind only Hooker (10) and Scott Neilson (7). History is also in the making on the women's side, where senior Ashley Lodree's four All-America honors are tied for the second-most ever by a UW woman. Like Brown, Lodree has potentially two NCAA meets remaining to break the UW women's record (5), set by pole vaulter Kate Soma from 2002-05.
Vault Supremacy: The last few years have left little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting. An NCAA-record five UW women's vaulters competed at the NCAA Championships in 2005 -- including four each indoors and out -- while three earned All-America honors, and senior Kate Soma brought home the 2005 NCAA outdoor title. Washington should remain a vaulting force in 2007, as two of the five return, including two-time NCAA qualifier Stevie Marshalek and three-time NCAA qualifier Kelley DiVesta. Those two will attempt to ahve their photos placed alongside former teammates Soma, Carly Dockendorf and Ashley Wildhaber on the Huskies' All-American wall, while also seeking to join the talanted trio on the list of the Pac-10's all-time greatest women's vaulters:
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2006, 15-1
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
6. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
7. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
7. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
9. Carly Dockendorf, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4
9. Ashley Wildhaber, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4i
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
Four-Minute Man: Washington junior Austin Abbott ran into the history books at last February's Husky Classic, becoming just the third Husky runner ever to break four minutes in the mile. Abbott's time of 3:59.47 was UW's third-fastest ever, and one of just 10 four-minute miles by collegiate athletes in the nation in 2006. A graduate of W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash., Abbott enjoyed a banner freshman season in 2005, capturing All-America honors in the distance medley relay, and earning a third-place finish in the Pac-10 1,500-meter final. Abbott also set UW freshman records in the 800 meters indoors, and the 1,500 meters outdoors, including a half-mile best of 1:49.64 that was a UW school record for two weeks, before teammate Shane Charles bettered it with a 1:49.59 posting. While his four-minute mile and subsequent second-place finish at the MPSF Championships earned him fame this winter, Abbott unselfishly chose to forgo the mile in favor of the DMR at March's NCAA Indoor Championships, ultimately anchoring the team to a second-straight fifth-place finish. Proving that the karmic gods exist, however, Abbott earned a second chance to compete as an individual at the NCAA meet during the outdoor season, placing 10th in his 1,500-meter prelim.
Brains And Brawn: In just three years, senior Martin Bingisser has already captured an indoor conference title, earned an All-America honor and posted UW's best marks in a decade in the hammer and weight throws --but it's his accomplishments outside the cage that truly set him apart. A three-time third-place hammer finisher at the Pac-10 Championships and the 2006 MPSF Conference champion in the weight throw, Bingisser earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy in June 2005 after just three years of college, and is currentlyin his second year in the UW School of Law. The Interlake High School graduate, who will use his final year of eligibility in 2007 while pursuing his J.D., has been on a tear since transferring from Cal State Northridge in the fall of 2004, culminating with a 64-foot, 8 3/4-inch toss in March's indoor conference championships -- just the second weight throw competition of his collegiate career. Bingisser's effort -- UW's best since 1985 --echoed his success in the hammer throw, where the Bellevue native placed 12th at the 2006 NCAA Championships, and ranks fourth in UW history with a best of 212-9 . In addition to his academic and athletic prowess, Bingisser is among the country's leading hammer scholars -- his website, HammerCenter.com, provides the nation's most comprehensive coverage of the hammer at the prep and college level, plus videos and other instruction tools.
Jumping Out of His Shoes: Junior Norris Frederick literally jumped out of his shoes at the 2004 World Junior Championships, tearing apart the footwear which guided him to five state prep titles. Undeterred, the Roosevelt High School senior strapped on borrowed shoes and placed 19th in both the high and long jumps. It takes more than an equipment malfunction to ground Frederick: already a Pac-10 champion, two-time All-American and three-time NCAA Championships participant, Frederick in June became the first Husky ever to compete in both the long and high jumps at the same NCAA Championships. One of just seven Huskies ever to long jump 25 feet -- something he has done 13 times already --and one of just 12 to high jump seven feet, Frederick is the first ever to do both, repeating the feat both in 2005 and 2006. Frederick has extensive experience in both events at the NCAA meet, having competed three times in the long jump (6th, 2005 indoors;12th, 2006 indoors; 22nd, 2006 outdoors) and twice in the high jump (14th, 2005; 15th, 2006). That 2005 long jump finish was the best by a UW long jumper since 1965, and earned the freshman his first of two-career All-America honors. Frederick enters the 2007 season hoping to repeat the success he had at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, where he won the long jump with a wind-aided lifetime best of 25-10 before taking second in the high jump with a lifetime-best 7-1 the next day.
Long-Range Talents: Those who only follow UW track and field outdoors may not have heard of sophomores Jeremy Mineau or Anita Campbell entering the spring of 2006, but they certainly have now. Making his outdoor debut in March before a hometown crowd at Stanford, Menlo Park, Calif., native Mineau obliterated UW's freshman record in the 10,000 meters and climbed to second on UW's all-time list. Mineau's time of 28:49.69 -- second in 2006 by a collegiate freshman -- was just the third sub-29 minute 10K in UW history, and was just 15 seconds shy of David Bazzi's school record. Mineau had already made a name for himself during the indoor and cross country seasons, where he has been one of UW's top competitors since the start of 2004-05. Campbell, likewise, entered last spring as a household name to fans of UW's cross country and indoor track and field squads -- the Vancouver, B.C., native has earned top-100 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in each of her first two years, and set a UW freshman record indoors with a 16:33.27 posting in a second-place effort at the 2006 MPSF Championships -- but was an unknown quantity to UW's outdoor fans before the NCAA Regional meet, where her surprising third-place finish placed the freshman in the NCAA Championships field. Campbell's subsequent 21st-place finish -- in a UW freshman-record 16:29.91, no less -- sent notice that she, and Mineau, will be strong contenders for Washington through at least the 2009 campaign.
Former Huskies Return: Two new faces on the Husky squad will be familiar to all who follow Washington track and field -- former Huskies Will Conwell and Brad Walker return to Montlake in 2007 as volunteer assistant coaches, Conwell working with UW's discus throwers, and Walker with the Husky pole vaulters. Both bring impressive pedigrees to the UW staff:2006 graduate Conwell was a four-time top-five finisher and ranks among the Huskies' all-time best in the discus and weight throw. Walker, meanwhile, has won three USATF titles and two world championship medals, and elevated himself to No. 1 in the IAAF World Rankings in the pole vault since graduating in 2004 as a two-time NCAA champion and Pac-10 record holder. Remarkably, not even Walker, however, can match the accolades of fellow UW volunteer assistant Aretha (Hill) Thurmond. A four-time All-American during her time at Washington from 1995-98, the former Aretha Hill boasts three U.S. discus titles, is a two-time U.S. Olympian, and ranks third in U.S. history -- and second in NCAA history -- in the event.
You Might Recall: The practice of mining talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for the Husky track program in the past. In fact, a glance at UW's career top-10s reveals several such performers, including 110m hurdles record-holder Spider Gaines, a tailback for the UW football team in the 1970s, and sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, the UW record-holder at 100m, 200m, and 400m and a Husky wide receiver from 1997-98. Others on the list include football players Ernie Conwell (No. 5, shot put), Will Conwell (No. 5, discus), Dana Hall (No. 3, 110m HH), Sterling Hinds (No. 3, 100m/200m), Pete Kaligis (No. 6, shot put), Orlando McKay (No. 2, 400m), Tony Parrish (No. 5, triple jump) and Isaiah Stanback (No. 8, 100m), basketball players Tara Davis (No. 1, triple jump; No. 2, long jump), Brent Merritt (No. 6, 400m), and Heather Reichmann (No. 2, javelin), All-American volleyball star Makare Desilets (No. 5, high jump), and track/gymnastics All-American Carly Dockendorf (No. 2, pole vault). UW's two-sport stars have excelled on the world stage, too -- Herman Brix and Paul Jessup, stars of UW's football teams in the 1920s, each competed at the Olympics, and set world records in the shot put, and discus. Washington's current roster includes three athletes currently on scholarship in other sports, all from UW's football team -- defensive linemen Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Cameron Elisara, both throwers, and wide receiver/hurdler Corey Williams.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: 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 on the UW staff. Metcalf had a banner 2006 campaign, coaching middle distance runners Ryan Brown and Amy Lia to NCAA titles, and earning MPSF Men's Coach of the Year honors after guiding the UW men to three individual conference crowns and the Huskies' first-ever indoor team title. In his first four seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to four top-25 finishes at the NCAA Championships, and guided the Husky men to 19th- and 22nd-place NCAA finishes in 2006. Individually, 15 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with two earning NCAA titles and eight grabbing All-America accolades, a list which does not include the team's All-America distance medley relays in 2005 and 2006. In addition, Metcalf has led the Huskies' women's cross country team to the NCAA meet eight of his first 10 years at the helm, and guided the UW men to a 12th-place NCAA cross country finish in 2006. In nine years atop Washington's distance program, Metcalf has coached two NCAA champions, six Pac-10 champions, 19 All-Americans, 13 school-record setters and 74 NCAA Championships competitors. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeple, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2007 is in no way short on accolades. Tenth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has coached 12 All-Americans, including NCAA champions Brad Walker and Kate Soma. Third-year sprints/hurdles coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., meanwhile, has had a banner first two years, mentoring Ashley Lodree to four All-America honors and guiding five of UW's six relays to NCAA berths, including four All-American relays. Second-year throws coach Reedus Thurmond mentored two conference champions and three NCAA qualifiers in his first year, including a pair of All-America perfomers, while fifth-year distance coach Kelly Strong was a five-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 champion at ASU, and guided Amy Lia to an NCAA title in 2006. The newcomer to the group is first-year men's distance coach Jimmy Bean, an All-Midwest Region performer at Division-III Greenville (Ill.) University and a highly-touted coach and recruiter. Ironically, the most accomplished members of the Husky coaching staff are two of the the team's volunteer assistants -- former Huskies Aretha (Hill) Thurmond and Brad Walker. The two are each among the premier athletes in the world, combining for six U.S. titles and two Olympic appearances, and each ranking among America's all-time top-four in their respective events.