Next Stop NCAA's for Husky Track Stars
March 13, 2008
On the Track: Eight Washington athletes will sport the purple and gold at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships this weekend in Fayetteville, Ark, challenging the nation's best at the University of Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center. The final indoor rankings have the Husky men ranked 11th and the UW women ranked 18th.
A total of 568 participants will compete in the championships, which are contested over this Friday and Saturday, Mar. 14-15. Student-athletes qualified for the championships by reaching the automatic and provisional standards established for each event.
Last season, the Husky men's squad finished a program-best seventh, scoring 22 points, while the women tied for 34th with six points.
Frederick is the No. 1 seed in the long jump with a mark of 26' 7 3/4' set at the MPSF Championships at UW's Dempsey Indoor that ranks as the sixth-best jump in the world this year. Frederick is also seeded fifth in the high jump, where he has cleared 7' 3'. The five-time All-American is seeking his first NCAA Championship after a sixth-place long jump finish at last year's NCAA Indoors and third-place long jump finish at NCAA Outdoors in June of 2007.
Frederick is UW's best bet to extend its streak with at least one NCAA individual titlist to six years in a row, including the outdoor meet. Former Husky Ryan Brown won the NCAA Indoor title at 800-meters last year, while UW's Brad Walker was the NCAA Indoor Champion in the pole vault in 2003 and 2004.
Boase is a two-time All-American in the 4x400-meter relay, and is making his first solo national meet appearance. He boasts the nation's sixth-best 400-meter time, a school-record of 46.37 set in winning the MPSF conference title two weeks ago.
Roth will be making his third NCAA appearance in the pole vault, having qualified for every national meet thus far in his career. He placed 11th in his NCAA Indoor debut last year, then finished eighth at the NCAA Outdoor meet, earning All-American status both times.
'Our men are not bringing the numbers we have in past years but we are very high on quality,' said head coach Greg Metcalf. 'Norris, Scott and Jordan have all been to nationals before and know what to expect. They all expect to score big and will each be in contention for a national championship.'
On the women's side, the Huskies will feature a stunning three milers in the field of 17. No other school has more than one entrant. Sophomore Katie Follett and senior Amanda Miller both achieved automatic qualifying times in the same race back at the Husky Classic, then senior Michelle Turner joined them with a time of 4:40.08 at last weekend's UW Last Chance Meet. Follett is seeded fourth, Miller is ninth, and Turner 11th. The trio are now the three top women's milers in school history, having each broken the previous record.
Follett, Miller, and Turner will also make up three-fourths of Washington's distance medley relay, with junior sprinter Falesha Ankton rounding out the team. The Huskies are the No. 10-seed, having run a school-record time of 11:12.77 earlier this season.
Joining the four will be senior Kelley DiVesta who is seeded sixth in the pole vault. DiVesta competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2005 and 2006, and will be making her first trip to the indoor meet.
'Placing three women in one mile field is a jaw-dropping accomplishment,' said Metcalf. 'Especially in this year where so many women posted auto marks. It continues to be a record-breaking year for our women's distance runners. They should all be able to give each other loads of confidence on the track. Kelley DiVesta also has all the ability needed to go out and win the pole vault, it's just a matter of executing under the pressure. We're also very excited to bring our women's DMR after our men placed fifth in that event the past three years. Falesha gets to make her first trip to nationals, and anything can happen in a relay. We shaved 10 seconds off the school record this year already and think we can run faster.'
Miller is no stranger to NCAA competition. She finished ninth in the mile at last year's NCAA Indoors, earning her second All-American honor after picking up the distinction in the 800-meters as a freshman in 2005. Turner has twice participated in the NCAA Outdoor meet as a member of the BYU track team, running the 800-meters both times. She transferred to Washington last summer.
Follett and Ankton will be making their first NCAA track appearances, however Follett led the UW women's cross country team to an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in the fall, and earned her first All-American honor for her 19th-place finish. Miller ran third for the Huskies in that race.
Event Schedule: Following is the schedule for the events featuring Washington athletes at this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships. All times are Central. For a complete schedule, visit www.ladyback.com.
Friday, March 14
5:00 p.m. Long Jump (M)
5:40 p.m. 400m Dash Prelim (M)
7:05 p.m. Mile Run Prelim (W)
7:15 p.m. Pole Vault (M)
9:35 p.m. DMR (W)
Saturday. March 15
4:45 p.m. High Jump (M)
5:00 p.m. Pole Vault (W)
6:25 p.m. Mile Run Final (W)
6:55 p.m. 400m Dash Final (M)
HOW THEY GOT HERE: All athletes who meet the NCAA's automatic-qualifying standards in their events are guaranteed inclusion in the NCAA Championships field. In the event that there are not enough automatic qualifiers to provide full fields, athletes are selected in descending order of performance from those who have met the provisional standard in each event, creating fields of approximately 14-18 per individual event and 10-12 per relay. Two of UW's 12 total entries came from automatic-qualifying performances (see chart at right), with the remaining 10 selected from the provisional-qualifying list.
MEET COVERAGE: The University of Arkansas will be providing live video and live results from the meet. Visit www.ladybacks.com to find the link to the main NCAA webpage. Meet highlights will also be broadcast on ESPN2 next Thursday, March 20 from 1-2:30 p.m. PT.
Senior Norris Frederick was named the West Region Field Athlete of the Year this past Monday by the U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association. It is the second year in a row Frederick won the award.
Washington has sent a total of 64 athletes to the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championship since 2005, the most prolific stretch in team history. Those 64 have returned home with 51 All-America honors, also obliterating all previous three-year records.
Freshman Elisa Bryant is only halfway into the first season of her Husky track and field career, and yet she is already a school record-holder ... by a long shot. At the UW Invitational on Feb. 2, Bryant smashed the 10-year-old school record in the 20-lb weight throw held by former Olympian Aretha Hill. Bryant's throw of 59-7 3/4 was well past Hill's 1999 mark of 55-2, which in turn was three feet farther than Soozie Shanley's former second-place mark. Bryant has since expanded her record up to 61-1 1/2.
Washington's No. 2 preseason men's ranking marked the highest ever ranking for a UW track program, surpassing last season's No. 4 indoor ranking. The ranking was based on returning athletes from last season's final descending order list.
In both 2006 and 2007, Washington boasted at least one NCAA competitor in every event area -- sprints, hurdles, middle distance, long distance, relays, horizontal jumps, vertical jumps, pole vault and throws.
The UW men's seventh-place finish at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships was the team's best-ever indoors, and equaled its third-best NCAA finish overall since 1930.
In 2006-07, the Husky men were one of only four teams that finished in the Top-15 in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.
Washington has boasted at least one Pac-10 champion in eight-straight years, and at least one NCAA champ for five-straight seasons. Senior Ryan Brown extended both streaks in 2007, winning NCAA indoor and Pac-10 800m crowns.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: For the second straight week, both of the Husky men's and women's squads are ranked in the USTFCCCA poll. The rankings are now an accurate reflection of how the team scores would break down if all the seedings held in each event at NCAA's. Following the MPSF Championships on March 1, the Husky men's team made the second-largest jump in the country, going from 31st to 11th, their highest regular season ranking this year. They held that ranking this week. The men were the preseason No. 2, but dropped out of the rankings as certain key returners worked themselves back from injuries. Big improvements at MPSFs from Norris Frederick, Scott Roth, and Jordan Boase fueled the men's rise. The Husky women, meanwhile, climbed two spots to 18th in this week's rankings helped by adding another miler to their NCAA contingent in Michelle Turner. The women were unranked in the preseason, but jumped to a season-high 16th following automatic qualifier times in the mile from Katie Follett and Amanda Miller, and a Top-10 pole vault from Kelley DiVesta. Washington is one of only 11 schools with both teams ranked in the Top-20, with the Pac-10 and SEC leading the way with four each.
2007 NCAA INDOORS IN REVIEW: In his final collegiate indoor meet, Washington senior Ryan Brown became just the second Husky track and field athlete in the past 38 years to win multiple NCAA titles, coming from 10 meters back on the final lap to win the 800-meter run at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Brown's win helped the Washington men to a tie for seventh in the final team standings, the best-ever performance by a UW men's team indoors. Just bheind Brown in fourth place was current Husky senior Austin Abbott, out this year until the outdoor season. Norris Frederick completed his busy weekend with a tie for 10th in the men's high jump, earning his second All-America honor in as many days and the fourth of his UW career. Frederick also placed sixth in Friday's long jump to earn his third-straight indoor All-America honor in that event. Frederick and Abbott, each earned their third- and fourth-career All-America honors at the meet. Four men's points came from the team's distance medley relay squad of Abbott, James Fredrickson, Brown and Carl Moe, which earned its third-straight fifth-place NCAA Indoor Championships finish. Washington also added an All-American in the pole vault, where freshman Scott Roth - seeded second overall -- tied for 11th overall at 16-10 ¾. Ashley Lodree was the highlight for the Husky women, placing third in the 60m hurdles in a school-record time of 8.01, earning her fifth career All-American honor. Washington also received a history-making performance from junior Amanda Miller, who became the first Husky woman ever to be an All-American in both the 800 meters and mile with a ninth-place mile finish. Miller, who earned All-America honors indoors in the 800 meters as a freshman, grabbed her second-career honor Saturday with a time of 4:49.13. In all, 11 Huskies earned All-America honors at the two-day meet, breaking the Washington single-meet record of 10 set at both the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Indoor Championship meets.
FREDERICK THRILLS WITH WORLD-CALIBER LEAP: Based on his own lofty standards, senior Norris Frederick was having a so-so year. Sure, he ranked in the Top-10 in both the long jump and high jump, but the five-time All-American from Roosevelt High School had yet to give the Dempsey faithful the jaw-dropping show he's known for. That moment came at the MPSF Championships, when Frederick soared into the NCAA lead with a monstrous personal-best long jump of 26-7 3/4. When the length was announced, Frederick treated the fans to a celebratory back flip. The jump broke the UW indoor record, the Dempsey facility record, the MPSF meet reocrd, and what's more ranks as the second-best jump by an American this year, and the sixth-best jump in the world. The next day, Frederick turned in another personal-best, this time clearing 7-3 in the high jump to move into fifth in the NCAA rankings. Prior to Friday, Frederick had only broken the 26-foot mark once before, and that was a wind-aided outdoor mark a full seven inches shorter than his MPSF jump. This season Frederick is going hard after his first NCAA Championship, coming off his third-place finish at NCAA Outdoors in June. He is a three-time All-American indoors but has not finished higher than sixth. Frederick's long list of credential includes a Pac-10 championship, three MPSF championships, an NCAA West Regional championship plus four long jump All-American awards and one All-American high jump honor, but that first title is what drives him. Frederick is seeking UW's first-ever NCAA long jump crown, and to better former world record holder Phil Shinnick's all-time UW best third-place long jump finish (1964).
MILLER A RARE TRIPLE THREAT: Senior Amanda Miller already has proven to be an invaluable weapon in the mid-distances, boasting one All-American honor in the 800-meters from 2005, and another in the mile last year. She now finds herself in position to duplicate both feats in her final indoor season. Miller, who ranks among UW's all-time Top-10 in seven events, posted her first automatic qualifier in the mile at the Husky Classic, running 4:39.93 which would have been a school record had Katie Follett not finished just ahead of Miller in the same race. The Wenatchee native is currently 12th nationally in the mile, but despite only owning a provisional time, Miller ranks 10th in the 800-meters, where she bettered her own school record at the UW Invitational on Feb. 2. In 2005, Miller became UW's first female All-American in the 800-meteres since 1985. This season, Miller decided that excelling at two indoor events just wasn't engaging enough, and she has led UW's distance medley relay into position for a first ever NCAA berth. Miller runs the opening 1200-meter leg of the relay which has slashed over 10 seconds from the school record entering this season. The stage was set for Miller's outstanding season in the fall, when she had her best cross country season to date, running third for the Huskies at the NCAA Championships. Miller placed 108th overall in her first cross country national meet, and the women's team established a new program benchmark with an eight-place finish.
NO RECORD SAFE FROM FOLLETT: Katie Follett had a respectable freshman season by any measure, but the Fort Collins, Colorado native gave little warning for what has become a remarkable sophomore campaign this year. Everything started back in September, when Follett finished second at the Sundodger Invitational, leading head coach Greg Metcalf to praise her offseason work, saying she had simply made herself into a better distance runner. Metcalf proved prescient, as Follett went on to earn her first All-American award in cross country, finishing 19th at NCAA's to lead the women to a program-best eighth-place finish. Following the standard rest period for cross country athletes prior to track season, Follett has spent the past month crushing various school records, and putting her name up near the top of the NCAA rankings in multiple events. At the Husky Classic, Follett crushed UW's mile record by more than three seconds, finishing in 4:37.22 to obtain the automatic NCAA qualifying mark. The run was the third fastest in the NCAA at the time, and 12th-best by an American. Follett has not run the mile since, but still ranks seventh in the NCAA. Running as the anchor leg of UW's distance medley relay, Follett has finished off two school-record runs on the only two occasions the Huskies have ran their DMR. After cutting three seconds off the school record the first time out, the Huskies demolished that record once again at MPSFs, running 11:12.77 to move into the Top-10 of the NCAA this season. The time is over 10 seconds faster than the previous school record entering 2008. Also at the MPSFs, Follett went out and ran the 3,000m for the first time this season, and shattered that indoor record by more than seven seconds as well. Follett placed second to Stanford's Arianna Lambie in a time of 9:25.09 that gave her three NCAA qualifying marks, and three school records in less than three weeks. She will look to add track All-American distinctions to her cross country award in a week's time in Fayetteville.
ROTH MAKES UP FOR LOST TIME: Sophomore Scott Roth had the best freshman season for a Husky pole vaulter in history last year, and when the competition for that distinction includes current World Champion Brad Walker, it becomes clear just how good Roth was. Injuries prevented Roth from picking up right where he left off--an eighth-place NCAA Outdoor finish and second All-American award--but since making his season debut at the Husky Classic, Roth has shown that he is back at full strength. In his first meet, Roth cleared 17-1, then all but sewed up an NCAA Indoor berth with a 17-8 1/4 vault at the MPSF Championships where he finished second behind NCAA leader Graeme Hoste of Stanford. If Roth qualifies as expected, it will make three NCAA appearances in three chances for the Granite Bay, Calif. native. At the 2007 Last Chance Meet, Roth posted an outstanding 18-1 3/4 clearance, good for second among collegiate vaulters during the 2007 indoor season. That Roth succeeded right from the start is little surprise. He led all U.S. prep pole vaulters in 2006 and 2007, and boasted a prep-best clearance of 17-4 that was among the best in U.S. prep history. 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.
HUSKIES TAKE FIVE AT MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Washington men's and women's track teams each turned in solid fifth-place finishes at the MPSF Championships in the Dempsey Indoor Facility. Five Husky records went down over the two-day meet. Senior Norris Frederick broke through with the second-farthest long jump by an American this year. Frederick, who had never broken 26-feet indoors, turned in his best jump of the season on his second attempt with a mark of 25'-10', but then flew past that by more than nine inches on his next attempt, registering 26' 7 ¾' to assume the new NCAA lead. It is Frederick's third-consecutive MPSF long jump crown. The mark was also a Washington indoor, MPSF meet, and Dempsey facility record, and ranks Frederick sixth in the world this year. Junior Jordan Boase captured the men's 400-meter dash title in a school record time of 46.37. Boase's win followed up his second place finish in the 200-meters on Friday. Coupling that with his No. 3 leg on UW's fourth-place 4x400-meter relay, and Boase was a major factor in 23 of Washington's 66.5 total points. Even more impressive was the fact that his winning time came out of the seventh out of nine heats, and two of his competitors got tangled up and did not finish, leaving Boase to come around the final turn and down the straightaway virtually by himself. The 12th-ranked Oregon men won the MPSF title with 90 points, followed by Cal with 84.5, No. 24 Stanford with 83, No. 1-ranked Arizona State with 77, and then the Huskies. It is the first MPSF title for the Ducks, who snapped the UW men's streak of conference titles at two. Second-ranked Arizona State held off No. 3 Stanford to take the women's crown for the second year in a row. No. 20 Oregon was third with 72 points, Cal placed with with 65.5, and 16th-ranked Washington was right behind in fifth with 61.5. The two days of competition produced 17 NCAA Automatic qualifying marks, 103 NCAA Provisional marks, eight MPSF Championship records, and five Dempsey Indoor facility records. Katie Follett's 3k time of 9:25.09 is a school record by more than seven seconds, despite being her first attempt at the distance this season. It is also an NCAA Provisional mark. With the Dempsey still buzzing about his 26' 7 ¾' long jump, Norris Frederick put on an impressive encore in the high jump. For the second-straight day, the Roosevelt High product turned in a career-best performance, clearing 7' 3' to finish second. Additional NCAA times were turned in by Michelle Turner in the 800, who ran 2:08.97, and Scott Roth in the pole vault, who took second place with a season-best clearance of 17' 8 ¼', which ranks the sophomore No. 5 in the NCAA this season.
Dempsey Indoor: Having now completed seven full seasons, Washington's Dempsey Indoor has solidified its 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 20 top-10 world marks, 27 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. Following is a list of all the new facility records set during the 2008 season:
2008 Dempsey Indoor Records
Men's 200m 20.93, Brent Gray, Long Beach St., 2/29/08
Men's Mile 3:56.00, Steve Sherer, Athletic Performance, 2/2/08 (No. 2 in the world)
Men's DMR 9:31.52, Stanford, 2/29/08
Men's High Jump 7-6 ½, Michael Mason, UBC, 1/19/08
Men's Long Jump 26-7 3/4, Norris Frederick, UW, 2/29/08 (No. 6 in the world)
Men's Shot Put 70-5 1/4, Ryan Whiting, Arizona St., 3/1/08 (No. 8 in the world)
Men's Weight Throw 76-5 1/2, James Parker, Team XO, 2/16/08
Men's Heptathlon 5,784, Josh Hustedt, Stanford, 3/1/08
Women's High Jump 6-1 1/2, Ebba Jungmark, Wash. St., 2/16/08
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his sixth year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross country, and his 11th 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 2008 continues on the same track as his banner 2007 campaign, where Brown added another NCAA title, and the UW men and women combined for three seven conference crowns and the men made it back-to-back MPSF Conference titles. In his first five seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women and men to four top-25 finishes at the NCAA Championships per team, including the aforementioned seventh-place finish indoors in March and a 15th-place outdoor finish by the men in June. Individually, 19 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with three earning NCAA titles and 12 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 nine of his first 11 years at the helm, and is coming off a program-best eighth-place finish, with two women earning All-American honors for the first time in history. Metcalf guided the UW men to a 12th-place NCAA cross country finish in 2006. In 11 years atop Washington's distance program, Metcalf has coached three NCAA champions, six Pac-10 champions, 24 All-Americans, 15 school-record setters and 88 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.