Washington Tracksters Travel to Air Force Classic

Jan. 30, 2001

SEATTLE-- After a few weekends of low key competition, the Husky track teams are ready to kick it into high gear as they travel to their first scored meet of the year, the Air Force Classic in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The teams will face off against teams from the Air Force Academy, Texas-El Paso and Colorado State in a quad meet. The meet will mark Washington's first quad meet of theseason and the Huskies' first trip back to Colorado Springs since 1997 when both the men and the women came home with overall wins.

The Huskies also have history at the Air Force Classic. Former Husky Ed Turner set the still standing men's meet records in both the 200m and the long jump in 1997.

The Washington athletes will also be faced with altitude for the first time this season, as Cadet Fieldhouse, the site of the meet, sits at 7048 feet above sea level.

Twenty-six men and 18 women will make the trek to Colorado for the meet.

Head coach Orin Richburg said the Air Force Classic will bring different challenges to the men's and women's teams.

'With the group of men that we have going, we feel pretty good about our chances going into a meet with El Paso, Colorado State and the Air Force Academy, who all have good teams,' Richburg said. 'We feel pretty confident on the men's side that we can go in and run with these three teams. On the women's side, in certain areas we can go in and run with them, but we don't have the numbers in the program right now to be able to do the things that we are capable of doing. We will have to make sure we use our people in the right areas to neutralize some of the strong areas of the other teams because we are short in certain areas due to illness and injury. This is going to be a good weekend for us but we will have our work cut out for us.'

Richburg said the meet will be the first step towards getting the teams ready for the Mountain Pacific Championships that take place three weeks later, Feb. 23-24 in Walnut, Calif.

'We are not at 100 percent in all areas,' Richburg said. 'We have some kids down that are crucial to our program. We have another three weeks in February before we have our indoor championships. We have some kids that are down that haven't lined up on the starting line yet this season. If we are going to be competitive in this conference, we have to make sure all of the people in our program are ready to go.'

Competition at the Air Force Classic will begin at 9 a.m. PST and will commence after the men's mile relay around 2 p.m. PST. Full results will be available on the Air Force Academy website, www.airforcesports.com.

Best in the U.S.?

Husky senior sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker was ranked eighth in the United States in the 400 meters for the year 2000 by Track & Field News. The publication listed the top ten athletes in the world and the U.S. for each event in its February edition.

Keeping up with the Qualifiers

So far, Hooker and sophomore Brad Walker are the only Huskies to reach qualifying marks for the NCAAs.

Hooker notched an automatic qualifying mark in the 55m in his first competition of the season, Jan. 20. His converted qualifying mark in the 60 meter dash ranks him second on the NCAA performance list.

Walker reached the provisional mark in the pole vault at the Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nev., Jan. 20. His mark ties him for eighth on the NCAA performance list.

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