Follett, Lawrence Earn All-America Honors As NCAA Track Wraps
June 12, 2010
EUGENE, Ore. - Two of the most decorated Husky distance runners in history added All-America honors to their collections as the NCAA Track & Field Championships wrapped up at Oregon's Hayward Field. Senior Katie Follett wrapped up her UW career with her eighth All-America award while sophomore Mel Lawrence notched her fifth.
The Husky men placed 15th overall, finishing with the 16.5 points they wracked up on Thursday evening, their second-best point total at NCAAs since 1983. The 15th-place finish matches the 2007 team for the highest finish since 1985. Texas A&M swept both the men's and women's titles for the second year in a row.
This makes five consecutive Top-25 finishes for the men's track squad outdoors, and four in a row in the Top-20. Prior to the current run, the Huskies went without a Top-20 finish for 20 years and had just two since 1980. The Husky women tied for 66th-place with one point though they earned three All-America honors.
'One thing I've learned coming to the NCAA Championships is to expect the unexpected, and we had a little bit of that for sure,' said head coach Greg Metcalf. 'All in all our men had a successful weekend. We finish 15th and return all of our scorers and add some big firepower next season so I look ahead to the future with great anticipation.'
Follett (Fort Collins, Colo.) did all the work early for the field in the 1,500-meter final as she led for the first two and a half laps and that perhaps took a toll in the end. She settled into third at the start of the bell lap but could not find her usual kick around the last two turns and fell back to 10th overall in a time of 4:20.19 that was seven seconds slower than her prelim time.
'Katie walked to the track with big-time expectations, the goal for her was to go win. It just didn't work out,' said Metcalf. 'She was right on the lead at the bell, but down the backstretch I think she got hit with too much stress in her own words. All of a sudden she felt like she was running through quicksand. But Katie is as good a middle distance runner as we've ever had at Washington. She's still the collegiate leader at 1,500-meters and she has a bright future from here.'
Still, the senior picks up her eighth career All-America honor and her first ever outdoors. The eight overall honors are the most for any Husky women's track & field athlete. She has three in cross country, four in indoor track, and now one outdoors, joining Lawrence and Amanda Miller (2005-08) as the only Huskies with All-America honors in each sport. Her five in track tie Kate Soma (2002-05) for second-most all-time in school history behind the six of Ashley Lodree (2004-07).
Lawrence fought through an up and down sophomore season to finish off as an All-American for a fifth time overall and third time on the track. Nagged by an achilles issue in the fall and suffering a hip flexor pull during the outdoor season, Lawrence's outdoor season didn't really begin until the Pac-10 Championships in mid-May where she ran the steeple for the first time this year. Just two meets and a month later she was back in the NCAA final where she finished third last year in a Pac-10 record time of 9:40.98.
Today she started out in the middle of the 14-woman pack early, and sat around sixth-place through the first few laps. As the pack started to spread out, Lawrence stuck to the back of a four-person group as the top-eight started to pull away. Lawrence held steady through the finish, taking eighth in 10:10.60 and scoring the first point of the week for the Husky women.
'My plan was just to stay up front and try not to lose contact. I was with one group and it separated a little bit. I felt pretty good, I just wanted to go and stick my nose in it and try to get top-eight and that's what I did, so I'm happy with that,' said Lawrence. 'A year ago I ran 9:40 so it's hard to see (the winning time) and know a year ago I was there. It's understandable, we all have to go through injuries, it's the nature of our sport.'
Now feeling a hundred percent, Lawrence can begin the process of getting back to national title contention.
'It's going to take a good summer, a good fall, a good winter; a healthy one,' Lawrence said. 'I need to get a good base which I don't really have now since I've taken so much time off in the past calendar year. Just a good healthy long year of training.'
'Our women need to reload a bit as we graduate Katie, Anita and Falesha, but we've got some big pieces sitting at home right now that we need to get headed in the right direction,' said Metcalf. 'We'll bring in a lot of young talent and hopefully go to Des Moines next year and deliver on what we're capable of.'
Washington Track & Field
NCAA Outdoor Championships
Eugene, Oregon - Hayward Field
Saturday June 12, 2010 - Day 4 of 4
Husky All-Americans (Unofficial)
Falesha Ankton, 100m Hurdles, 9th
Katie Follett, 1,500m, 10th
Mel Lawrence, 3,000m Steeplechase, 8th
Kyle Nielsen, Javelin, 3rd
Scott Roth, Pole Vault, 3rd (tie)
Joe Zimmerman, Javelin, 3rd