NCAA Track Berths On The Line at West Regional
May 23, 2007
On the Track: Having put all their focus into team performances at last week's Pac-10 Championships, Washington's elite track and field athletes can shift their focus solely on themselves this weekend as they bid for NCAA Championships berths at the 2007 NCAA West Regional Championships in Eugene, Ore. With perhaps the deepest field of any of the four regionals being contested nationwide this weekend, and automatic berths guaranteed to only the top-five individuals and top-three relays, the competition is certain to be intense for the 30 Huskies making the trip to Hayward Field, including UW's defending-champion 4x400-meter relay squad, and 2007 co-favorite Scott Roth (pole vault). Events run throughout the afternoon Friday and Saturday; for links to event schedules, complete entry lists and more, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
Live Results!: Links to live results and event recaps can be found online throughout the meet at www.GoHuskies.com. In addition, complete results along with a full recap of UW action including quotes, historical notes and event descriptions will be posted to www.GoHuskies.com following the conclusion of each day's events.
NCAA Selection Process: Automatic NCAA Championships berths will be granted to the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relays, from each of the four Regionals contested nationwide May 25-26. Athletes qualify for Regionals by meeting pre-determined standards, or by winning their conference title. The NCAA then supplements the Championships field with the highest-ranking remaining competitors (6-7 per individual event and 5-6 per relay) from the national performance lists, provided the athlete placed among the top-12 in their event at a Regional meet and was not among the finishers to earn automatic berths. The lone exceptions are the 10,000 meters and multi-events, in which athletes qualify directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting provisional and automatic standards.
What to Watch For: Thirteen Huskies enter this weekend's NCAA West Regional favored for top-five finishes and automatic NCAA Championships berths, including nine ranked either first or second in their events. That top-heavy list includes a pair of top-five entries for junior Ashley Lodree (2nd, 100m HH; 5th, long jump) and a co-No. 1 entry for freshman pole vaulter Scott Roth, who matched Oregon's Tommy Skipper jump-for-jump at the Pac-10 Championships and enters the meet with an identical season-best mark as the Ducks' senior. For a complete list of UW's Regional entries, including current regional and national rankings, see the box on page three of this release.
2006 Regional Redux: Senior Shane Charles won the 400m hurdles and helped UW to a win in the 4x400m relay, leading the Huskies to a team-record 14 automatic-qualifying performances at the 2006 NCAA West Regional. Charles' hurdles win earned UW's third individual Regional title in the last two years, while the 4x4's victory was the first by a UW relay in the postseason since the 1975 NCAA Championships. Other notable performances included those by Norris Frederick, who became the first Husky ever to qualify through the Regional system in two events with runner-up finishes in the high- and long jumps, and a school-record run of 13.04 seconds (after altitude adjustment) in the 100-meter hurdles for junior Ashley Lodree. Washington's men placed fourth in the event --- best-ever for a UW men's or women's team -- while the Huskies women were seventh.
Did You Know?
In four years of Regional Championships competition, 13 of Washington's 30 total automatic qualifiers entered the regional meet ranked sixth or lower in their event, including a best-ever 14th-to-3rd improvement in the 5,000 meters last year by sophomore Anita Campbell.
2007 Pac-10 Championships Redux: Senior Ryan Brown won his second-career Pac-10 title and led Washington's 4x400-meter relay to a second-place finish, keying the Husky men to a sixth-place team finish at the 2007 Pac-10 Track and Field Championships at Stanford. Brown's performances scored 18 of Washington's 89 points, a total just three points shy of fourth and 27 shy of No. 11 Oregon's winning score (116). Brown was one of five Husky men or women to earn first- or second-place finishes Sunday, and one of a team-record 18 to earn top-five conference finishes over the meet's two days. Washington's high men's team score -- its second-best since 1998 -- was impressive when considering that the Huskies were without four key scorers in sophomores Jeremy Mineau and Mart Israel, and juniors Austin Abbott and Dave Nyland, each of whom boasted marks in 2007 that would have ranked among the top-five in their events and would likely have put UW in the mix for the Pac-10 title. The UW women, meanwhile, were led by the 23 points of junior Ashley Lodree, who for the second time in her career scored in the 100-meter dash (fourth), 100-meter hurdles (second) and long jump (third), a feat accomplished just four times, total, in Pac-10 history. Reigning NCAA indoor champ ASU won its second-straight conference women's crown, downing host Stanford by a 154-134 1/3 margin, while UW was ninth with 49.
Pac-10 Prowess: While UW's teams have never claimed a Pac-10 title outright, Ryan Brown's win in the 800 meters in 2007 did extend an impressive string of eight straight years with at least one individual titlist. That streak now marks the UW's longest-ever run of individual champions, besting a seven-year run from 1974-1980, highlighted by Scott Neilson's four titles in the hammer. Washington athletes have combined for15 Pac-10 titles over the eight years of the streak, including a high of three in 2006.
Two-Time Champs: In winning his second-career Pac-10 individual title earlier this month, senior Ryan Brown became just the 11th Husky -- and just the second UW runner -- to win multiple conference crowns. Besides Brown, who also won the Pac-10 800-meter title in 2005, and five-time Pac-10 champion sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker ( 1998-2000), each of the Huskies' other nine multiple-time winners competed exclusively in field events -- including vaulters Brad Walker (2003-04), Kirk Bryde (1971-72) and John Cramer (1961-62), javelin throwers Darryl Roberson (1988-89), Duncan Atwood (1977-78), Rod Ewaliko (1975-76) and Cary Feldman (1970-71), decathlete Mike Ramos (1983-84) and hammer star Scott Neilson (1976-78). Also of note: Brown and Hooker are the only two to win titles in two non-consecutive years; each of the other nine winners earned their Pac-10 crowns in back-to-back campaigns.
Monster PR of the Week: Perhaps no Husky has come as far this season as sophomore Syreeta Martin. The Tacoma native -- who entered the year having only broken 60 seconds in the 400-meter dash on four occasions as a freshman, clocked a 59.60 in the Pac-10 400-meter hurdles last weekend to take fifth place overall and move to ninth on UW's all-time list. That time was a three-second improvement over Martin's hurdles time at the Pac-10 meet in 2006, and was more than a half-second faster than she had ever run over hurdles in her collegiate career. Martin -- 12th in last year's Pac-10 final -- ranks 11th in the West Region entering this weekend's meet, and boasts one of the top-50 times in the nation this year.
Brown On A Roll: Senior Ryan Brown is closing in on a full calendar year since his last defeat in a collegiate 800-meter final, an eight-race winning streak which includes victories at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships, 2007 MPSF Indoor Championships, 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships and 2007 Pac-10 Championships. In fact, Brown has not been defeated in a collegiate 800-meter final since last year's NCAA West Regional, when USC's Duane Soloman and Raphael Asafo-Agyei outran the Husky senior to the finish line by just six tenths of a second. The only blemishes on Brown's record during the streak came in national-team competition at the 2006 USATF Outdoor Championships, and the 2006 NACAC Championships. For more on Brown, see page three of this release.
Lodree Jumps Into Exclusive Club: It's been well-documented that junior Ashley Lodree was a one-woman force at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships, scoring in the 100-meter dash (fourth), 100-meter hurdles (second) and long jump (third), in total accounting for 23 of the 49 points scored by Washington's women's team. What hasn't been as publicized, however, is the rarity of Lodree's feat. In the 21 years of Pac-10 Championships history, only two women have ever scored in those three events at a single Pac-10 meet -- Lodree, who accomplished the feat both this year and as a freshman in 2004, and American track legend Gail Devers, who swept all three events at the first two Pac-10 Championship meets in 1987 and 1988. In fact, only three women in Pac-10 history have achieved the triple in any sprint, hurdles and jumping event at the Pac-10 meet, with Stanford heptathlete Tracye Lawyer scoring in the 200 meters, 100-meter hurdles and high jump in 1999. For more on Lodree, see page four of this release.
Rankings Report: A strong performance at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships lifted the Washington men back into the top-20 of the Trackwire 25 for the first time in over a month last Tuesday, while Washington's women fell out of the `also receiving votes' category for the first time in nearly five years. Trackwire, which predicts team scoring at June's NCAA Championship meet, ranked the Huskies' men 19th this week with 14 points, a six-point increase over its eight-point total in rankings published before the conference meet. On the flipside, though, the magazine failed to rank a single UW female in a scoring position for the first time since January of 2003, after having the Huskies on the cusp of the top-25 with a nine-point total three weeks ago. Both LSU's women and Florida State's men retained tenuous grips on the No. 1 rankings, with the Lady Tigers holding a 58-56 edge over No. 2 and reigning indoor champion ASU, and the defending champion Seminoles boasting a 54-51 advantage over second-ranked LSU. The coaches' poll, meanwhile, slotted the UW men 17th and left the Huskies' women outside its top-20, while crowning Florida State (men) and ASU (women) as its respective No. 1s entering the regional weekend.
Just Dandy, Thank You: In addition to their lofty team rankings, several Huskies are currently ranked by Trackwire in their weekly Dandy Dozen event rankings, the individual NCAA predictions from which the team rankings are generated. Two-time NCAA champion Ryan Brown vaulted to No. 1 in the 800 meters after his win at the Pac-10 meet, while freshman pole vaulter Scott Roth jumped to No. 5 in his primary event. Washington also boasts top-12 individual rankings from junior James Fredrickson (currently listed No. 9 in the 400m hurdles), senior All-American Martin Bingisser (No. 9, hammer), senior Stevie Marshalek (No. 9, pole vault), sophomore Anita Campbell (No. 10, 5,000m) and five-time All-American Ashley Lodree (No. 11, 100m hurdles).
Road to Eugene 2008: In addition to qualifying for collegiate postseason championships, several Huskies have even loftier goals this season -- qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. Three have already guaranteed their spots at the Trials by meeting the USATF's 'A' qualifying standard in their event, while six others boast provisional 'B' qualifying marks. Chief among UW's 'A' qualifiers is junior Mike Sayenko, who surprised many with a 2-hour, 19-minute, 45-second time in the California International Marathon in December, his first-ever marathon attempt. He'll be joined at the Trials by two of America's pre-eminent competitors in their events -- former Husky, UW volunteer assistant coach and three-time U.S. pole vault champion Brad Walker, and current UW assistant coach Kelly Strong. Both boast 'A' qualifying marks in their events (the pole vault and steeplechase, respectively) and are each among the top-10 competitors in U.S. history. Trials 'B' qualifiers include seniors Ryan Brown (800m) and Martin Bingisser (hammer), juniors Amy Lia (1500m), Norris Frederick (long jump), Alex Harcourt (400m dash) and James Fredrickson (400m hurdles), sophomore Jeremy Mineau (10,000m), freshman Scott Roth (pole vault) and 2005 UW alum Sean Williams (400m hurdles).
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-plus 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 800 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) and led the team's distance medley relay to a third-place finish. Brown has opened the 2007 outdoor postseason in similar style, knocking off national 800-meter leader Duane Solomon of USC for his second Pac-10 crown two weeks ago in his typical come-from-behind fashion, clocking a time of 1:47.51 that ranks No. 5 nationally entering this weekend's meet.
NCAA Championships By the Numbers: Senior Ryan Brown's win in the 800 meters indoors in March 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 over the past two-plus years, Washington also set single-season records in both 2005 and 2006, 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.
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, who enters this week ranked second in the West Region and fifth in the NCAA in the 100-meter hurdles, 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 her final collegiate postseason 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.
Multi-Talented: While senior Ashley Lodree has deservedly earned a reputation as one of the nation's top hurdlers, her contributions aren't limited to just one event. In fact, Lodree will compete at this weekend's Regional in both the hurdles and long jump, and is a two-time Pac-10 scorer in the 100-meter dash as well. The Richmond, Calif., native litters UW's all-time record books, boasting top-10 all-time marks in each of the 11 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, and scored in the dash, hurdles and long jump at the Pac-10 meet to join UCLA legend Gail Devers on the short list of those to accomplish that particular feat.
Just Like High School: It took four years and two very divergent roads, but former Kentridge High School teammates Alex Harcourt and James Fredrickson have been reunited at Washington in 2007, where together they have combined for one of the most outstanding seasons of any sprinter-hurdler combination to grace the Husky Stadium track. Prep unknown Harcourt, who competed just one year at Kentridge in 2003 before enrolling at Seattle's Highline Community College in 2004, burst onto the scene in January with an upset of Olympic 4x400-meter gold medalist Darrold Williamson in the 400 meters at the UW Indoor Invitational, his time of 46.43 seconds at the time the U.S. leader and the fastest ever by a Husky indoors. Fredrickson, meanwhile, left Kentridge after the 2004 season for the sunny climes of Cal State Fullerton, before transferring to Washington prior to the 2007 campaign. After teaming up to put the Huskies' 4x400-meter relay into the top-10 of the NCAA rankings early in the year, Harcourt and Fredrickson exploded at the Pac-10 Championships, taking second in the 400-meter dash and 400-meter hurdles, respectively, while leading UW's 4x4 to another second-place finish. En route to their lofty individual efforts, both clocked times among the nation's 10-fastest in 2007, with Harcourt's 45.87 time in the open 400 ranking third in UW history, and Fredrickson's 50.63 the Huskies' second-best mark all-time. Both enter this weekend's Regional seeded second in the their respective events, and have the UW 4x4 in a second-seeded position as well.
Relay Rewards: There's never been a better time to run on a UW men's 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. Only one other relay in UW history can match that feat -- the Huskies' current distance medley relay squad, which has earned three-straight top-five NCAA Indoor Championships finishes. 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 men's relay for the NCAA Championships since 1998 -- in the two-plus years since Vaughn's hire, seven of the Huskies' 10 men's 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.
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, his the 2007 world leader in the pole vault and ranks among the top-12 vaulters in world history, while both he and Soma are 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. Roth matched Skipper vault-for-vault at the 2007 Pac-10 meet, placing second on misses after both vaulters cleared 17-10 3/4, the nation's fourth-best mark this year. Each of Roth's achievements 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 three-time NCAA qualifiers Stevie Marshalek and Kelley DiVesta. Those two, both currently among the nation's top-16 women's vaulters, will attempt to have their photos placed alongside former teammates Soma, Carly Dockendorf and Ashley Wildhaber on the Huskies' All-American wall.
Jumping Out of His Shoes: Junior Norris Frederick, who captured his third-straight indoor All-America honor in March, 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 -- four months into his junior campaign, Frederick has 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.
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 four-time top-three 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, in which the Bellevue native placed 12th at the 2006 NCAA Championships and ranks 13th in the nation this year. In fact, Bingisser's 2007 hammer best of 217-11 -- which earned the Husky a second-place Pac-10 Championships finish -- is UW's best in nearly 30 years, ranking second in UW history only to seven-time NCAA champion Scott Neilson's school-record 238-7 in 1978. 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.
Long-Range Talent: Those who only follow UW track and field outdoors may not have heard of sophomore Anita Campbell entering the spring of 2006, but they certainly have now. Campbell entered last spring as a household name to fans of UW's cross country and indoor track and field squads, having earned top-100 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in each of her first two years, and having set a UW freshman record indoors with a 16:33.27 posting in a second-place effort at the 2006 MPSF Championships. The Vancouver, B.C., native was an unknown quantity to UW's outdoor fans, however, before the NCAA Regional meet, where her surprising third-place finish (improving upon a No. 14 seed) placed the freshman in the NCAA Championships field. Campbell's subsequent 21st-place NCAA finish -- in a UW freshman-record 16:29.91, no less -- sent notice that she will be a strong contender for Washington through at least the 2009 campaign. Campbell already has her 2007 season on a roll, having shaved a stunning 29 seconds off of her outdoor 5K personal best with a 16:00.03 posting at Stanford -- UW's fourth-fastest ever and the No. 7 mark nationally among athletes entered in this weekend's Regionals -- and having placed third in the 5K at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships.
Mid-Distance Madness: Few teams in the nation have dominated a single event area in the last 12 months like Washington has dominated the middle distances. Husky athletes have won three of the eight NCAA titles awarded in the 800 meters, 1,500 meters and mile since last June, swept three of four middle-distance titles at the 2007 MPSF Indoor Conference Championships in February, and earned one Pac-10 title and three top-four finishes at the Pac-10 Championships in May. Since 2004, Washington's middle-distance unit -- defined to include those athletes in the 800 meters, 1,500 meters, mile and the three middle-distance legs of the distance medley relay --have combined for three NCAA titles, two outdoor conference title, six indoor conference titles, one regional title and 18 All-America honors. Washington middle-distance runners earned six All-America honors at the 2007 NCAA Indoor meet, including senior Ryan Brown's 800-meter win, junior Austin Abbott's fourth-place 800-meter finish, a ninth-place finish in the mile for junior Amanda Miller, and a third-place effort for the distance medley relay team of middle-distance runners Brown, Abbott and junior Carl Moe, along with sprint/hurdler James Fredrickson.
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 followed up her outstanding spring with a first-team All-Pac-10 and All-West Region performances in the fall, and made her 1,500-meter debut in March at Stanford in 4:17.93 -- second-fastest of her career, and good for ninth in the national track rankings.
Two-Sport Studs: Washington's current roster includes four athletes currently on scholarship in other sports, including football players Chris Stevens, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, and Cameron Elisara, and volleyball star Janine Sandell. The latter three have all achieved regional qualifying standards already, including a throw of 157-1 in the discus by Sandell that is UW's best this century. 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 56-4 ½ , while two-time state champion Elisara, who ranked 10th in the nation among U.S. preps in 2006, is also over the regional standard with a best of 55-2. 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.
National Records Abound: Several Huskies have recently established themselves as players on the national scene by setting national records in their home countries, including the U.S. and abroad. Washington's track and field fans have been treated to two such performances this season, including a U.S. record in the 2,000-meter steeplechase by assistant coach Kelly Strong and a Canadian junior record in the pole vault by freshman Ryan Vu. Strong, already ranked seventh in U.S. history in the more-commonly-run 3,000-meter steeple, moved to No. 1 in U.S. history at the 2K distance with a time of 6:25.98 at the UW Outdoor Preview meet in March, breaking the American record of 6:29.2 set by Ann Gaffigan in 2005. Bellevue native Vu, meanwhile, who boasts dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada, broke the Canadian junior national pole vault record with a clearance of 16-6 at Washington's indoor season-finale in March. Last year, senior Shane Charles broke the senior national 400-meter hurdles record in his native Grenada, while in 2005, both Charles and former Husky Christian Belz (10,000m, Switzerland) set national records in their home countries.
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.
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.
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 returned 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. Not even Walker, however, can match the accolades of Big W Club Director Aretha (Hill) Thurmond, who trains at her alma mater alongside husband and UW throwing coach Reedus 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.
Ridiculous Records: Washington's athletes 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 -- three 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.
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 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. In addition to the outstanding full-time staff, Washington's athletes are able to train alongside some of the world's top athletes, including former Huskies Aretha (Hill) Thurmond and Brad Walker. Thurmond, who trains with her husband, UW coach Reedus Thurmond, while directing Washington's Big W Alumni Club, and Walker, a UW volunteer assistant coach, are both 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.