Track Heads South for Split-Squad Action at ASU, Auburn
March 22, 2007
On the Track: Washington rolls out its full track and field teams for the first time outdoors this weekend, but will split the squads between meets in Arizona and Alabama. The Huskies' throwers will head to Auburn's Springtime Invitational on Saturday, while the rest of the team competes against an outstanding field at the ASU Clif Bar Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., also Saturday. The two meets will mark the outdoor season debuts for most Washington track and field athletes, including NCAA Indoor 800-meter champion Ryan Brown (who will run the 400 meters at ASU) and five-time All-American hurdler Ashley Lodree (who will run relays at ASU). For more information on either meet, visit the official sites of the host schools -- www.auburntigers.com (Springtime Invitational) and www.thesundevils.com (ASU Clif Bar Invitational).
Meet Results: Results of both the ASU Clif Bar Invitational and Auburn Springtime Invitational will be linked to GoHuskies.com as soon as they become available. Due to the late start time of the final event at ASU (10:39 PDT), users may find results more quickly by going directly to ASU's homepage, www.thesundevils.com. Live results are not available for either meet. A full recap of UW's competition, including any notable performances and quotes from head coach Greg Metcalf, will be posted to GoHuskies.com shortly after the meets' conclusion.
Rankings Report: Washington's men should earn a reasonable nod from both Trackwire and the USTFCCCA, which are expected to put out their first rankings of the 2007 outdoor season sometime in the next two weeks. Washington's men finished the indoor season ranked 11th and sixth, respectively, by the two organizations, finishing closer to the latter with a tie for seventh at the NCAA Indoor meet. Washington's men could also merit a preseason top-25 ranking, with both junior Amy Lia and senior Ashley Lodree likely to be among those favored for high finishes at June's NCAA Championship meet.
Monster PR of the Week: It was a light week for the Huskies last weekend, who competed just a handful of athletes at the UW Outdoor Preview at Husky Stadium. That didn't, however, prevent a number of Huskies from significantly improving their personal-best marks, most notably junior high jumper Lindsay Todd. The Rock Island, Ill., native -- who was one of several UW high jumpers honored in this same space two weeks ago after a then-best clearance of 5-4 ½ -- added more than two inches to that mark with a 5-7 leap last Friday, bringing her within five centimeters of the NCAA's regional-qualifying standard.
Strong Claims U.S. Steeple Record: Washington's athletes weren't the only ones making waves at the UW Outdoor Preview meet in March. Assistant coach Kelly Strong stole the show with a winning time of 6:25.98 in the 2,000-meter steeplechase, breaking the American record of 6:29.2 set by Ann Gaffigan in 2005. The former ASU All-American, who has coached distance runners at Washington since 2002, already ranks among America's finest steeplers at the more commonly-run 3,000-meter distance, where her best of 9:48.90 is the seventh-best ever by an American woman. Strong, who competes professionally for Asics, continues to train under Washington head coach Greg Metcalf in preparation for a run at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where the women's steeplechase will be contested as a medal event for the first time.
NCAA Championships By the Numbers: Senior Ryan Brown's win in the 800 meters was the 32nd all-time by a Washington track and field at the NCAA Championships. Twenty-six UW athletes have combined for those 32 NCAA titles overall -- a total which ranks 20th among NCAA institutions all-time -- including at least one in each of the last five seasons. Additionally, the Huskies have placed 299 athletes on the All-America podium, including a stunning 45 since the start of the 2004-05 season alone. At least one Husky has earned All-America honors in each of the last 15 years, and 45 of the last 47 years, including record-breaking totals of 10 each at the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, and 11 at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships. In addition to the single-meet records set indoors in 2005 and 2006, Washington also set single-season records in both years, with Husky athletes combining for 15 All-America honors in 2005 and 19 in 2006. A regular top-five finisher in the 1920s, Washington's men have placed among the top-15 at the NCAA meet 10 times since 1970, including a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor meet in March. The Husky women, meanwhile, boast five top-25 finishes, including a high of 10th in 1988, and a tie for 15th at last year's outdoor championships.
Brown is Back: Just three 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 two years since returning to the sport in January 2005, however, Brown has won multiple NCAA, Pac-10, West Regional and MPSF 800-meter titles, and captured a stunning eight 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 senior then matched that performance at the 2007 NCAA Indoor meet -- his first experience running an open 800m on a banked track -- coming from behind yet again to capture his second NCAA 800-meter crown, a feat matched by just four other individuals in UW history. Brown also led UW's distance medley relay squad to its third-straight fifth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor meet to raise his career All-America total to eight, second-most in UW history.
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 replicated outdoors in 2006 and indoors in 2007. 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 eight, second-most in UW history behind only Hooker (10). History is also in the making on the women's side, where senior Ashley Lodree's five All-America honors are tied for the most-ever by a UW woman with pole vaulter Kate Soma, who also captured five All-America honors, from 2002-05. Furthermore, juniors Austin Abbott and Norris Frederick also moved into the history books with their four-career All-America honors, a total surpassed by just five individuals -- including Brown -- in UW history. Both Abbott and Frederick have potentially three NCAA meets to raise their All-America totals, while seniors Brown and Lodree will have one final chance in June to claim UW's career All-America records.
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 five-time All-American, including three indoors in the 60m hurdles (10th, 2005; 9th, 2006; 3rd, 2007) 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. Lodree has already this season broken her own school records in the 60-meter dash (7.34), 200-meter dash (24.22) and 60-meter hurdles (8.01), the latter time coming in a near-victory at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where she finished just .03 seconds behind winner Shantia Moss of Georgia Tech. In addition to her terrific NCAA performance, Lodree just barely missed an unprecedented triple win at the MPSF Indoor Conference Championships, capturing 60-meter dash and hurdles titles, and placing second in the 200 meters.
Jumping Out of His Shoes: Junior Norris Frederick, who captured his third-straight indoor All-America honor earlier this month, 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: a Pac-10 champion, four-time All-American and five-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, a feat he duplicated indoors in March. Those appearances were Frederick's fourth in the long jump (6th, 2005 indoors*; 12th, 2006 indoors*; 22nd, 2006 outdoors; 6th, 2007 indoors*) and third in the high jump (14th, 2005 outdoors; 15th, 2006 outdoors; t10th, 2007 indoors*), and include four All-America honors (indicated with a * above). Frederick has both literally and figuratively raised the bar higher in 2007 -- just three months into his junior campaign, Frederick has already notched lifetime bests of 7-2 ¼ in the high jump and 25-10 in the long jump, the latter breaking former world-record holder Phil Shinnick's UW indoor mark of 25-6 ½ set in 1965. One of just seven Huskies ever to long jump 25 feet -- something he has done 17 times already -- and one of just 12 to high jump seven feet, Frederick is the first ever to do both, and has a realistic shot at two of UW's most hallowed school records -- Rick Noji's 7-6 ½ mark in the high jump from 1990, and Shinnick's seemingly-untouchable world-record mark of 27-4 in the long jump from 1963. Despite battling pneumonia, Frederick managed to successfully defend his MPSF long jump title in February with a jump of 25-2 1/2, and was third in the high jump.
Frederick, Metcalf Honored by USTFCCCA: Fifth-year Washington head coach Greg Metcalf was named West Region Men's Coach of the Year and junior long jumper Norris Frederick was named West Region Men's Field Athlete of the Year in March by the USTFCCCA. Metcalf, whose USTFCCCA honor was the first of his five-year head coaching career, has been instrumental in the revival of Washington track and field since his hiring in 2002. His first four-plus seasons have seen Washington produce six individual NCAA titles, six individual Pac-10 titles and 55 All-America award winners, including a record-breaking 19 All-Americans in 2006 alone. Washington's men, placed eighth at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships in Metcalf's first year, tied for seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this month, and have won back-to-back MPSF Indoor conference crowns.. Frederick, meanwhile, earned All-America honors in both the high- and long jumps in March, captured his second-straight MPSF long jump in February, and was the Pac-10 long jump champion a year ago. Frederick is the only Husky ever to long jump 25 feet and high jump seven feet in his career, and boasts season- and career-bests of 25 feet, 10 inches and 7'-2 ½', respectively, that ranked him No. 3 and No. 11 nationally during the 2007 indoor campaign.
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. The junior, who took much of the indoor season off after an All-Pac-10 and All-West Region cross country campaign, will make her 2007 outdoor debut next weekend at the Stanford Invitational.
Vault Legacy: From Brad Walker to Kate Soma to an NCAA-record five women's vaulters over 13 feet in 2005, there is little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate -- and in Walker's case, international -- pole vaulting. In just the past four years, Washington pole vaulters current and past have stood atop the podium at the NCAA Championships, the USATF Championships and the IAAF World Championships, combining for two world-championship medals, three USATF titles, three NCAA titles, three Pac-10 titles and 10 All-America honors. Reigning world indoor champion Walker, who has taken on an active role at UW this season as a volunteer assistant coach, holds the world's No. 3 ranking in the pole vault, while both he and Soma rank among the NCAA's all-time top-10 in their respective events.
Roth Sets Bar High: Fans used to watching the world's best pole vaulters wear the purple and gold roared loud and long for freshman vaulter Scott Roth during the 2007 indoor campaign. Roth responded with lifetime-best clearance sof 17-6 ½ and 18-1 at the season's first two meets, and an outstanding 18-1 3/4 clearance at the UW Last Chance Qualifier, the latter good for second among collegiate vaulters during the 2007 indoor season. That Roth should succeed right from the start is little surprise. The Granite Bay, Calif., native has led all U.S. prep pole vaulters in each of the past two seasons, and boasted a prep-best clearance of 17-4 that was among the best in U.S. prep history. Already over 18-1 3/4 this season, Roth has a chance to break the age-group record of 18-3 set by Oregon's Tommy Skipper in 2004, and also has the chance to become the first freshman to win an NCAA pole vault title since Skipper captured the NCAA outdoor crown that same year. Should Roth do so, he would add to UW's already-impressive pole vault legacy -- including NCAA champions Brad Walker and Kate Soma, and numerous All-Americans.
Best in NCAA History: Washington's pole vaulters haven't just been good the past 10 years -- they've been record-good. During the 2005 season, Washington's women's vaulters broke three NCAA records, including most women's vaulters at a single NCAA Championships (4), most women's vaulters to compete at NCAAs in one year, indoors and out (5), and most women's vaulters over 13 feet in one season (5). In fact, whereas prior to 2005, no team had ever sent more than three women's vaulters to the NCAA meet, Washington sent four each to the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, with three earning All-America honors and senior Kate Soma bringing 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 have their photos placed alongside former teammates Soma, Carly Dockendorf and Ashley Wildhaber on the Huskies' All-American wall.
Mid-Distance Madness: Just as it did at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last June, Washington dominated the middle-distance events at the 2007 MPSF Indoor Championships at Dempsey Indoor, sweeping three of four conference crowns in the 800 meters and mile run. Juniors Austin Abbott (4:02.82) and Amanda Miller (4:48.98) gave UW its second sweep of MPSF mile titles since 2004, when Eric Garner and Ingvill Makestad combined to win the men's and women's miles at the first MPSF meet held at UW's Dempsey Indoor. Junior Ryan Brown finished off the mid-distance trifecta with his win in the 800 meters, successfully defending the title he first won in 2006. In fact, since rejoining the MPSF in 2004, Washington's middle-distance athletes have combined to win six of the 16 middle-distance championships contested at the MPSF meet. The Huskies' middle distance corps have been equally dominant at the national meet -- Brown (800m) and junior Amy Lia (1500m) each won NCAA titles at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships, with Brown successfully defending his crown indoors in 2007. Abbott, meanwhile, ran fourth in the 800-meter final at the NCAA indoor meet in March to capture his fourth-career All-America honor, while Miller added a 2007All-America honor in the mile to the 800-meter All-America accolade she captured in 2005. Washington's men also earned their third-straight top-five finish in the distance medley relay, which includes three middle-distance legs and a sprint leg. In fact, since the start of the 2005, runners in middle-distance events -- defined for these purposes as the 800 meters, 1,500 meters, and mile, and the three middle-distance legs of the DMR -- have combined for three NCAA titles, one Pac-10 title, one NCAA West Regional title and 18 All-America honors.
Magic Number Four: The number four has multiple meanings for Washington junior Austin Abbott. Not only does it represent the total number of All-America honors earned by the Chehalis, Wash., native -- a total surpassed b by just five other men's track and field athletes in UW history -- it also represents the still-magic barrier the junior broke in the mile at the 2006 Husky Classic, becoming just the third Husky runner ever to break four minutes with a time of 3:59.47. The number four reared its head again at the 2007 NCAA Indoor meet (his fourth national meet appearance), where Abbott earned a fourth-place finish (behind teammate and NCAA champion Ryan Brown) in the 800-meter final. That result was especially satisfying for Abbott, who passed up his chance at inidividual glory in the mile the previous winter to anchor UW's distance medley relay at the national meet, ultimately leading the Huskies to their second of three-straight fifth-place NCAA Indoor Championships finishes. Abbott did earn a chance to compete individually in the 1,500 meters at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor meet (placing 10th in his preliminary heat), and was qualified again in the mile in 2007 before opting for the 800m/DMR double instead. A graduate of W.F. West High School, 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, and briefly held UW's school indoor record at 800m before seeing it broken by a teammate.
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, but one duplicated by the UW distance medley relay squad indoors in 2007. 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-plus years since Vaughn's hire, seven of the Huskies' 10 relays have qualified for the NCAA Championships, while five 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.
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 currently in his second year in the UW School of Law. The Interlake High School graduate, who is using 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 to win the hammer at the 2006 MPSF Indoor meet -- just the second weight throw competition of his collegiate career. Bingisser's weight success, which includes a career-best throw of 64-11 ¼ earlier in 2007, UW's best in 22 years -- echoes his success in the hammer throw, where the Bellevue native placed 12th at the 2006 NCAA Championships, ranks fourth in UW history with a best of 212-9, and is already qualified for regional competition in 2007. 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.
Two-Sport Studs: Washington's current roster includes four athletes currently on scholarship in other sports, including football players Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Cameron Elisara and Chris Stevens, and volleyball star Janine Sandell. A Pac-10 Championships participant a year ago and a key member of the Huskies' defensive line last fall, Te'o-Nesheim is off to a terrific start this season with a best of 56-5 1/4 in the shot put that is UW's best in nearly a decade, and is just two feet shy of the NCAA qualifying standard. Two-time state champion Elisara, meanwhile -- the 10th-ranked prep shot putter in the nation last year -- is also throwing the shot for UW, while Stevens is competing in the sprints and Sandell is redshirting to redevelop the throwing skills that led her to lofty national rankings as an Arizona prep. In addition to those competing officially for UW, a number of other Husky football players were regulars in the Dempsey Indoor fields this season -- tight end Johnie Kirton competed unattached in throwing events at each of UW's first three meets, while defensive backs Desmond Davis and Matt Mosley, linebackers Stevens and Dan Howell, and wide receivers Quintin Daniels, Cody Ellis and D'Andre Goodwin all competed unattached in the sprints.
2007 Indoor Season Redux: Washington continued to raise its national profile during the 2007 indoor season, with the Huskies' men's team capturing its second-straight conference championship and placing seventh at the NCAA Indoor meet, and a record-breaking total of 11 Huskies bringing home indoor All-America honors, including an NCAA title at 800 meters for senior Ryan Brown. Brown's win was one of four top-five finishes for UW athletes at the NCAA meet, including a third-place hurdles effort for senior Ashley Lodree, a fourth-place 800-meter finish for junior Austin Abbott, and a fifth-place finish in the distance medley relay for Abbott, Brown, and juniors James Fredrickson and Carl Moe. In addition to their NCAA exploits, Washington's teams and athletes also excelled at the MPSF Indoor Championships, capturing seven individual titles -- including four men's crowns and three women's crowns -- and winning their second-consecutive conference men's team championship. In all, Husky athletes combined to win one NCAA title, seven conference individual titles and one conference team title, while earning 11 All-America honors and breaking six school records.
Ridiculous Records: Washington's athletes have certainly kept the team's indoor record-keepers busy in 2007, combining for 50 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 -- UW's all-time top-10 indoor lists for men and women include 336 marks, 154 of which (46%) have been achieved since the start of the 2002 season, UW's first in the facility. For a complete look at UW's Indoor Top-10 Marks, click the 'History' link at GoHuskies.com.
History in the Making?: With a near-record number of NCAA qualifiers, and perhaps the most experienced NCAA Championships contingent in UW history, it's no surprise that Washington reached a number of historical milestones at the 2007 NCAA Indoor meet. Senior Ryan Brown successfully defended his NCAA outdoor title at 800 meters, becoming just the fifth Husky to win multiple NCAA titles, and the first do so exclusively in track events since 1930. Brown also led UW's distance medley relay to fifth to up his career All-America total to eight, second-most in UW history and just two shy of Ja'Warren Hooker's once-untouchable UW career record of 10 All-America honors. Senior Ashley Lodree, meanwhile, captured her fifth-career All-America honor with a third-place hurdles finish, tying the UW women's career record of five All-America honors set by pole vaulter Kate Soma (2002-05). Juniors Austin Abbott and Norris Frederick, meanwhile, each earned their fourth-career All-America honors to move into a tie for sixth all-time in that category, while freshman pole vaulter Scott Roth became UW's first freshman All-American since 2005. Washington also set numerous milestones as a team, with the 11 All-America honors ranking No. 1 all-time for UW at a single NCAA Championship meet, and the men's team's seventh-place finish its best-ever indoors, and equaling its third-best NCAA finish overall since 1930. Furthermore, Brown's win extended a streak of five-straight seasons with at least one NCAA champion, and also preserved a streak that has seen at least one UW male competitor earn a top-10 NCAA Championships finish in each of the past 47 years.
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.
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 earned West Region Indoor Men's Coach of the Year honors in 2007 after leading Ryan Brown to his second-straight NCAA 800-meter title, and guiding the Washington men to a second-straight indoor conference title and a seventh-place tie at the NCAA Indoor meet, the latter an all-time program best. Metcalf can only hope that 2007 continues on the same track as his banner 2006 campaign, when middle distance runners Ryan Brown and Amy Lia won NCAA titles, and UW men combined for three individual conference crowns and the Huskies' first-ever indoor team title. In his first four-plus 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 three top-25 efforts, including the aforementioned seventh-place finish indoors in March. Individually, 19 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with three earning NCAA titles and 11 grabbing All-America accolades, a list which does not include the team's three-time All-America distance medley relays (2005-07). 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 three NCAA champions, six Pac-10 champions, 22 All-Americans, 13 school-record setters and 78 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 performers, while fifth-year distance coach Kelly Strong was a five-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 champion at ASU, and is the American record-holder in the 2,000-meter steeplechase. 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 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.