Distance Stars Highlight UW Invitational
Jan. 29, 2009
ON THE TRACK: One of the biggest and best track meets of the year is set to go off in the Dempsey Indoor this weekend, with the Husky track and field teams out in full force for the UW Invitational. The two-day meet begins Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. with multi-events and distance runs, then picks up at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning and continuing throughout the day. The marquee sections in the running events are scheduled to start at approximately 1 p.m. Admission is free for all spectators.
The Huskies will have their largest contingent of the season competing over the weekend, including many members of the 2008 NCAA Champion women's cross country team making their track season debuts. All-Americans Christine Babcock and Katie Follett are entered in the distance medley relay on Friday evening along with top sprinter Falesha Ankton and Kailey Campbell. Follett will also run the mile on Saturday, along with Mel Lawrence, the UW's No. 3 finisher at cross country NCAA's.
The women's 3,000-meter run is also loaded with talent, including 2008 Olympian Jenny Barringer of Colorado, who represented the U.S. in the steeplechase in Beijing, placing ninth and setting the American record. Former U.S. champion Lisa Galaviz is also entered alongside top Huskies Anita Campbell, Lauren Saylor, and Kenna Patrick.
In addition to the Buffaloes of Colorado, several top teams will be heading to Seattle including the current No. 1-ranked men's team Arkansas. One Razorback to watch for is Dorian Ulrey, who turned heads last week by running a 3:57.60 mile time. Ulrey is entered in the 3,000-meters on Saturday along with UW's Jake Schmitt and Jordan Swarthout, two of the top-three Husky finishers at NCAA Cross Country. Also in the field is Washington alum Mike Sayenko, now one of the top marathon runners in the nation.
Also at the Dempsey will be teams from Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, BYU, Cal St. Northridge, SMU, Hawaii, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, Oral Roberts, Portland, Portland State, San Francisco, SMU, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and Seattle Pacific.
Five-time All-American Austin Abbott will run the 800-meters for the first time since placing seventh in the event at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Abbott will also lead off the men's distance medley relay, which features Regional qualifier Jeff Gudaitis on the 400-leg, Brian Govier on the 800, and Kelly Spady on the 1600. They will challenge top DMR entries from Oregon, Stanford, BYU, UCLA, and Arkansas, which currently has the nation's top time.
The Huskies will have a strong entrant in the 4x400m relay with Gudaitis, Pac-10 4x1 champ Joe Turner, and Sam Rucker, with freshman Adam Long anchoring. Long is one of three UW football players currently bolstering the men's sprints group. Jordan Polk and Alvin Logan will also be running in the 60m dash on Saturday. Syreeta Martin in the 200m and Falesha Ankton in the 60m hurdles are two noteworthy women's entrants.
In the field events, school record-holder Elisa Bryant will compete in the weight throw alongside 2008 U.S. Olympian Loree Smith. Duke transfer Lara Jones and Andrea Peterson will head the women's pole vault, while Husky All-Americans Jared O'Connor and Scott Roth headline the men's vault. In the first full multi-event competition of the season, Andrew Ferleman and Jeremy Taiwo will lead the men's effort, while Daria Amiad-Pavlov and freshman Kelly McNamee put their all-around talents on display in the women's pentathlon.
MEET RESULTS: Results of all UW home indoor track and field meets are posted throughout the meet to the official site of UW athletics, www.GoHuskies.com. A link to a complete event schedule and live results will be posted on the track and field sport page the morning of each meet, allowing fans the opportunity to follow along with the action as events conclude. Simply go to GoHuskies.com, and click on 'track' from the 'sports' pull-down menu to find the live results link on each meet day.
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY TAKES NCAA BY STORM: This past fall, the Husky women's cross country team grabbed the national spotlight, dominating every race they entered en route to the program's first National Championship. At the start of the season, the women were given a No. 3 national ranking, but quickly jumped up to No. 1 after dominating wins at the Sundodger and Tiger Invitational. UW confirmed its top billing with a huge win at Pre-Nationals. The Huskies then headed for a showdown with second-ranked Oregon at the Ducks' home course for the Pac-10 Championships. Washington turned the expected battle into an historic route, sweeping the top six places to record a perfect 15 points and snap Stanford's 12-year run of conference titles. Freshman Kendra Schaaf won the race by 30 seconds in a conference record time, becoming UW's first individual champion since 1982. After another routine win at West Regionals, the women went to NCAA's as the overwhelming favorite and did not disappoint, defeating Oregon once again by 52 points to win the national title. Freshman Christine Babcock led the way with a 7th-place finish, followed by Schaaf (12th-place), sophomore Mel Lawrence (25th), junior Katie Follett (26th), senior Amanda Miller (35th), sophomore Lauren Saylor (41st), and senior Anita Campbell (51st). The top five all earned All-America honors, with Saylor just missing out by one-tenth of a second. Schaaf was named Pac-10 Athlete of the Year, a first ever for Washington, and Babcock was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. Head coach Greg Metcalf swept the coaching awards, as he was named the Pac-10, West Regional, and National Coach of the Year. Now with the track season picking up steam, UW's distance stars will look for an encore performance. Follett had the greatest success on the track last season, winning the Pac-10 1500m title and earning All-America honors in the mile. She and Babcock both competed in the 1500-meters in the U.S. Olympic Trials, while Babcock was just out of high school. Campbell redshirted last track season but is a former NCAA competitor, while Lawrence and Saylor have made huge strides in the last year and should make major impacts. Miller's NCAA run was the last of her career, as she leaves as a five-time All-American spread out over 800-meters, the mile run, 1500-meters, and cross country.
BOASE READY FOR ENCORE: Few could have predicted the season that awaited Jordan Boase heading into 2008, when the two-time All-American in the 4x400m relay returned to the team after a year off from the sport. Even after Boase started the year by breaking the indoor school record in the 400-meters, and placing third at the NCAA Indoor Championships, he still remained something of an unknown nationally. That all changed at the Sun Angel Classic in April in Tempe, when Boase took over the NCAA lead with a school record 44.82, which was the second-fastest run in the world at the time. Boase would go on to battle USC's senior sprinter Lionel Larry, with Larry getting the edge for the Pac-10 title as both went under 45-seconds. The Bothell, Wash. native also ran the lead-off leg for UW's 4x100m relay, which won the Pac-10 title for the first time in program history, and qualified for nationals. At the national meet, Boase placed fourth in an extremely fast final, running 44.83 despite having been limited in training by a leg injury. Boase went on to make the semifinals of the U.S. Olympic Trials, before a painful blister stopped him one race short of the final. But a fully healthy Boasse will head into his senior season as one of the clear favorites for the NCAA 400m title and will be invaluable on either the 4x400 or 4x100m relays.
ABBOTT IN PERFECT POSITION FOR FINISHING KICK: The most decorated current Husky in terms of All-American honors this season is senior Austin Abbott, a native of Chehalis, Wash. who could go down as one of the greatest mid-distance runners in school history with a strong final season. Abbott has five All-America awards to his name, three coming as part of UW's distance medley relay, which placed fifth at NCAA's in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Abbott also took fourth in the 800-meters in 2007, overshadowed somewhat by teammate Ryan Brown, who won the title. But following his best individual finish, Abbott was hampered by injury and only competed once on the track over the next year. It was not until the 2008 Pac-10 Championships that Abbott would get back to his old form, as he broke a longstanding personal-best in the 800, running 1:48.14 for a fourth-place finish. Abbott went on to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, and in each of the qualifying rounds found himself trailing on the last lap, but dug deep and passed several runners on the final stretch to continue moving on to the final, where he placed seventh to earn his fifth All-American honor and first more than a year. Abbott is also one of the top milers in school history, and one of just three Huskies to have broken the four-minute barrier. With his added value in the DMR, having Abbott for a full year in top form will point to some fantastic finishes for the men.
2008 INDOOR IN REVIEW: Washington track and field was put front and center before the indoor season even began, as the Husky men earned a No. 2 preseason ranking from the USTFCCCA. An all-time high for the program, the Huskies spent the early part of the season recovering from an assortment of injuries, and never quite reached full strength. But when NCAA's rolled around, senior Norris Frederick and junior Jordan Boase were enough to propel the men to a 10th-place finish. Frederick took second in the long jump and sixth in the high jump, and Boase was third at 400-meters, scoring 17 points total. Sophomore Scott Roth also made his third NCAA appearance, taking 10th in the pole vault. On the women's side, the Huskies broke into the Top-20 late in the season, thanks in large part to the women's dominant middle-distance corps. Seniors Amanda Miller and Michelle Turner and sophomore Katie Follett all earned All-American honors in the mile, making UW the only team at NCAA's to earn three All-American awards in one event. Miller was fifth, Follett sixth, and Turner ninth. Senior Kelley DiVesta also earned points at the national meet with her seventh-place pole vault finish. DiVesta set a new personal record at NCAA's with a 13-9 1/4 clearance to earn her first All-American award. The women's mile and pole vault added up to nine points for the Huskies, placing them in a tie for 22nd, the third-best finish all-time for the women. All told, the Husky men and women combined for seven All-America honors. Seven new indoor school records were set during the 2008 campaign, including three by Follett (mile, 3000m, DMR). The Dempsey Indoor was a hotbed for worldclass talent once again, and nine facility records were smashed during the season, including eight on the men's side. Norris Frederick provided one of the most thrilling facility records when he long jumped 26-7 3/4 to win the MPSF Championship on Feb. 29. Frederick's mark was a personal-best and sixth-best in the world at the time.
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
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
Men's Shot Put 70-5 1/4, Ryan Whiting, Arizona St., 3/1/08
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 the midst of his seventh season as head of Washington's track and field program, and his 12th year overall on the staff, and remains the driving force behind UW's rise to national prominence. A native of Ephrata, Wash., Metcalf is just a few months away from capturing the program's first ever national team championship, as the 2008 Husky women's cross country team went undefeated to with the NCAA title. Metcalf earned Pac-10 and National Coach of the Year honors for his efforts, and also guided the men's cross country squad to 18th at nationals, its second Top-20 finish in the past three years. The track and field squads have also enjoyed a prolonged period of unprecedented success the past several years. The men have finished in the Top-25 at the last six NCAA Championship meets, including consecutive Top-10 indoor finishes in 2007 and 2008. At the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships, UW placed 16th with its most points since the 1983 season. The men also won the MPSF Championships in both 2006 and 2007, and Metcalf was named conference coach of the year on both occasions. The women have also had four Top-25 NCAA finishes since 2005, and sent three team members to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 1500-meters. Husky track and field individuals in Metcalf's tenure have combined for six NCAA titles, nine Pac-10 crowns and 133 NCAA Championships appearances, while breaking school records on 60 separate occasions. In addition to their athletic prowess, Metcalf's teams have been among the brightest at a school renowned for its high academic standards. His teams are eight-time recipients of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic honor, including the men's team being named the 2008 Outdoor Scholar Team of the Year, and six UW individuals have earned Academic All-America. Washington is the second head coaching position for Metcalf, who served in 1996-97 as the head cross country and assistant track coach at Auburn University. A four-time Academic All-Pac-10 honoree at Washington, Metcalf earned All-American honors at the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Championships. His best collegiate mark of 8:41.17 ranks fourth all-time among Husky steeplers. He also was a steeple finalist in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.