Seven Huskies Set to Make Trek to NCAA Track Championships in Oregon

May 25, 2001

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This Week: Seven members of the Husky track team will represent Washington at the 2001 NCAA Championships May 30-June 2 in Eugene, Ore., after accepting invitations to the event. Ten Huskies reached either NCAA provisional or automatic qualifying marks in their respective events this season. The four automatic qualifiers--seniors David Bazzi (5,000 and 10,000m) and Anna Aoki (5,000 and 10,000m), along with sophomores Kate Bradshaw (10,000m) and Gillian Palmer (5000m)--were guaranteed a spot in their respective events, while six other Huskies had to await the NCAA's announcement Thursday. Senior Ja'Warren Hooker (100, 200, 400m), juniors Kelsey Sheppard (400m hurdles) and Jason Fayant (5,000m), and sophomores Megan Spriestersbach (Javelin), Brad Walker (Pole vault) and Kate Spigel (Steeplechase) were Washington's provisional qualifiers. Hooker, Spriestersbach and Walker were all named to the NCAA field of competitors.

Washington's 2001 NCAA Outdoor Championship Competitors

Event Mark NCAA Rank Yr. Hometown (High School/JC)


Anna Aoki 5,000 meters 16:01.20 7th Sr. Vancouver, Wash. (Fort Vancouver HS)

Anna Aoki 10,000 meters 34:04.77 10th Sr. Vancouver, Wash. (Fort Vancouver HS)

Kate Bradshaw 10,000 meters 33:35.51 5th So. Issaquah, Wash. (Issaquah HS)

Gillian Palmer 5,000 meters 16:10.94 18th So. Helensburgh, Scotland (Edinburgh Univ.)

Megan Spriestersbach Javelin 156-4 19th So. Tacoma, Wash. (Bellarmine Prep)


David Bazzi 5,000 meters 13:40.61 5th Sr. Seattle, Wash. (O'Dea HS)

David Bazzi 10,000 meters 28:34..54 4th Sr Seattle, Wash. (O'Dea HS)

Ja'Warren Hooker 200 meters 20.57 11th Sr. Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg HS)

Brad Walker Pole vault 17-7 15th So. Spokane, Wash. (University HS)

Watch out for Falling Records: Three Washington records were broken or set this year. Senior David Bazzi broke his own school record in the 5,000-meter run, shaving seven seconds off his previous mark set in 2000 with a 13:40.61 at the Mt. SAC Relays, April 20. Bazzi also shattered Curt Corvin's 15-year-old 10,000 meter record by 24 seconds, clocking a 28:34.54 at the Stanford Invitational March 31. Sophomore Kate Spigel also put her stamp on Husky track history, becoming the first UW women's steeplechaser. Spigel set the current Washington record in the steeple, a 10:58.84 at the Pac-10 Championships, May 19. The mark placed her among the top 75 women in the country in the event, raising the bar for future Husky steeplers.

Home Grown: Six of the Huskies' seven NCAA competitors are originally from the state ofWashington. The lone exception is European import Gillian Palmer, who hails from Scotland. Of the eight UW athletes competing at the NCAAs in Eugene, Ore., five have previous NCAA experience. Leading the pack is Anna Aoki, who is making her fourth-straight NCAA outdoor appearance in the 10,000 meters. Aoki was ninth in the event in 2000, 19th in 1999, and 17th in 1998. She also earned All-American honors at Indoor NCAAs in the 5000 meters in 1999 and 1997 finishing ninth and 13th respectively. Senior Ja'Warren Hooker is making his fifth overall NCAA appearance, including two previous outdoor competitions. An eight-time All-American, Hooker has finished as high as third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100-meter (1998) and sixth in the 200 (2000). He also won the NCAA 55-meter indoor in 1998. David Bazzi is making his second appearance at the Championships. He took 12th in the 5000 meters at the 2000 NCAAs. Sophomore Brad Walker earned All-America status during the 2001 Indoor season with a seventh place finish at the NCAA Indoor meet in Fayetteville, Ark.

Huskies at the NCAAs: Washington's last NCAA outdoor titles came in 1986 and 1988. Jennifer Ponath won the women's shot put crown in 1988, while Mike Ramos was tabbed NCAA Champion in the decathlon in 1986. Ramos set the collegiate record in the decathlon with 8,322 points, a record which stood for 13 years before being broken in 1999 by Tennessee's Tom Pappas (8,463). All told, the Huskies have garnered 22 NCAA titles, 20 men's and two women's in their 80-year history. The best team finish for the UW women's squad was 10th-place in 1988 ... The best finish in recent history for the Husky men was a sixth-place effort in 1979. Since then, the UW men have cracked the national top-20 twice, finishing 15th in 1985 and 18th in 1983.

Washington NCAA Competitor Time Schedule & Pronunciation Guide

(Pacific Times Listed)

Competitor Pronunciation Event Trials Semifinal Final

Anna Aoki ay-OAK-ee 10,000m (w) none none Thurs., 7:50p.m.

5,000m (w) none none Sat., 7 p.m.

David Bazzi BAH-zee 10,000m (m) none none Wed., 7:50 p.m.

5,000m (m) none none Fri., 8 p.m.

Kate Bradshaw 10,000m (w) none none Thurs, 7:50 p.m.

Ja'Warren Hooker juh-WAR-ren 200m (m) none Wed., 7:10 p.m. Sat, 6:35 p.m.

Gillian Palmer JILL-ee-uhn 5,000m (w) none none Sat., 7 p.m.

Kelsey Sheppard KELL-see SHEP-urd 400 hurdles (w) none Wed., 5:25 p.m. Fri., 5:20p.m.

Megan Spriestersbach SPREE-stir-bach Javelin (w) none none Fri., 6 p.m.

Brad Walker Pole Vault (m) none none Wed., 4 p.m.

Results: Results will be available daily on both the University of Oregon and NCAA Championships web sites, at and respectively.

Meet the Coaches The Husky men's and women's track teams are coached for the fourth year by Orin Richburg, who will serve as head coach of the U.S. National men's track and field team at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. In 16 years as head coach of the Washington women's team, he has compiled an impressive 76-30-1 dual-meet record. The UW women's team ranked among the top-10 dual meet squads in the nation every year during the 1990s. Richburg's 1988 Husky women's team finished 10th at the NCAA championships, the best national finish in the school's history. In all, his Washington teams have produced 12 conference and two national individual champions. Richburg is not the only Husky coach with international experience, as former 400-meter world record holder and 1968 Olympic gold medallist Lee Evans joined the staff as an assistant coach two years ago. Evans, who works primarily with the UW sprinters and relay teams, won the gold medal in the 400m with a time of 43.86 at the 1968 Games in Mexico City. That record stood for 20 years until being eclipsed in 1988 when Butch Reynolds ran 43.29. Evans earned a second gold medal in 1968 as part of the United States' 4x400-meter relay team that clocked a time of 2:56.1 that also stood as a world record for 20 years. The Washington distance corps are in the hands of former Husky All-American steeplechase competitor Greg Metcalf, a 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials finalist. Metcalf has coached the women's cross country team to an unprecedented four-straight NCAA championship berths. New to the Husky staff this year are Chad McKinney, the UW's first new throwing coach in 32 years, and J. Micheal Johnson, who works with the jumpers. McKinney, an All-American javelin thrower in his own right, is working to build the Husky throwing corps back up to the level that produced UW's first women's NCAA champion, javelin thrower Helena Uusitalo, and Olympians Adam Setliff and Aretha Hill.

2000 NCAA Recap: Washington sent its second largest contingent of athletes ever to the 2000 NCAAs. Twelve athletes, six men and six women, competed at the national meet for the Huskies in Durham, N.C. Ja'Warren Hooker placed sixth in the 200m dash as well as 13th in the 100m to lead the UW men. Justin St. Clair finished sixth in the javelin, while Jacob Predemore was seventh in the decathlon and Matt Phillips tied for eighth in the pole vault. Ben Lindsey snagged 11th and 14th in the discus and shot put respectively. David Bazzi finished out the men's finishes at 12th in the 5,000 meters. On the women's side, Sesilia Thomas led point scorers, claiming eighth place in the shot put followed by Anna Aoki at ninth in the 10,000m. Cami Matson finished 14th in the 3,000 meters, while Sandy Erickson finished 16th in the pole vault. Margaret Butler and Kelsey Sheppard took 17th and 20th in the 3,000m and 400m hurdles respectively.

High Husky Finishers: The Huskies are seeking the school's first individual outdoor track & field national title since Jennifer Ponath won the 1988 women's shot put crown. The last championship for the Husky men was 1986 when Mike Ramos won the decathlon competition with a total of 8,322 points that stood for 12 years as the collegiate record. The Huskies hope to continue a streak that has seen at least one UW men's athlete post a top-12 NCAA finish each of the last 28 years, dating back to 1974. Three Huskies were top-10 finishers in 1998: then-freshman sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker was third in the 100 meters, Ben Lindsey placed fifth in the discus and Geoff Perry placed 10th in the 1,500 meters. In 1999, the Huskies were led by the 12th-place men's javelin performance of Justin St. Clair. Last year, UW had six finishes of 12th or above. Following is a list of the highest finishes by a Washington men's competitor each year since Ramos' NCAA decathlon title in 1986.

Place Year Athlete Event (mark) Place Year Athlete Event (mark)

1st 1986 Mike Ramos Decathlon (8,322) 7th 1994 Pete Kaligis Shot Put (60-11 1/4)

3rd 1987 Dan Bell Steeplechase (8:36.68) 5th 1995 Ernie Conwell Shot Put (61-1 1/4))

5th 1988 Darryl Roberson Javelin (235-10) 4th 1996 Troy Burkholder Javelin (235-11)

5th 1989 Darryl Roberson Javelin (238-2) 9th 1997 Ben Lindsey Discus (187-2)

3rd 1990 Rick Noji High Jump (7-6 1/2) 3rd 1998 Ja'Warren Hooker 100 meters (10.25)

5th 1991 Todd Wilson Discus (188-8) 12th 1999 Justin St. Clair Javelin (219-1)

10th 1992 Greg Metcalf Steeplechase (8:58.69) 6th 2000 Ja'Warren Hooker 200m (20.67)

5th 1993 Adam Setliff Discus (194-10) 6th 2000 Justin St. Clair Javelin (223-3)

A Look at This Year's Qualifiers

The Zen of Bazzi: Senior David Bazzi (Seattle, Wash./O'Dea) shattered the Washington school record in the 10,000-meter run, recording an automatic qualifying time of 28:34.54 at the Stanford Invitational March 31. The time currently ranks him in the No. 4 spot on the NCAA best list. Last week, Bazzi won the 10,000-meter crown at the Pac-10 Championships in Berkeley, Calif.

Bazzi, who competed in the 5,000-meter run at the 2000 NCAAs, again proved himself to be among the premier Husky distance runners ever by breaking his own Washington record in the 5,000-meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays April 20. The automatic qualifying mark of 13:40.61, which ranks him fifth in the nation in the event, topped his 2000 record-setting time by more than seven seconds. Bazzi also followed up his 10,000m Pac-10 title with a third-place finish in the 5,000-meters a day later.

The Distance Trio: Sophomore Kate Bradshaw (Issaquah, Wash.) and senior Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash.) both reached the automatic qualifying mark in the 10,000-meter run at the Stanford Invite March 31. Bradshaw ran a 33:35.51, which ranks fifth on the NCAA best list, while Aoki's time of 34:04.77 ranks her 10th overall in the event. Aoki claimed the Pac-10 10,000-meter crown at the conference's championships last weekend in Berkeley, Calif.

Aoki sliced 35 seconds off of her season-best mark to surpass the automatic qualifying standard in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:01.20 at the Mt. SAC Relays April 20. Her time puts Aoki seventh on the NCAA Best List in the 5,000. One day after winning the Pac-10 conference 10K title, Aoki finished third in the 5000m.

Sophomore Gillian Palmer (Helensburgh, Scotland) joined the duo as a qualifier in the 5,000-meter run, clocking a provisional mark of 16:22.91 at the Mt. SAC Relays April 20. Palmer, who finished fourth in the 5,000 at the 2000 United Kingdom Olympic Trials, then improved her time by nearly 12 seconds, registering a 16:10.94 at the Oregon Twilight meet Saturday in Eugene. The mark ranks her 18th on the NCAA best list.

The Need for Speed (Takes 1, 2, and 3): Senior Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg, Wash.), an eight-time All-America, made himself a three-event NCAA qualifier recording a provisional time of 45.96 in the 400-meter dash in his first effort of the season, at the Mt. SAC Relays April 21. The time is good enough to put him in 23rd place on the NCAA best list. Hooker had already clocked provisional times in both the 100 (10.33) and 200-meter dashes (20.57) in his first outdoor outing of the 2001 campaign at the Cal Quad Meet March 17. He then improved his 100-meter mark to 10.27 at the Stanford Invitational, March 31. His 200-meter time ranks him 11th on the NCAA best list, while his 100-meter mark ranks 28th overall. Hooker was an alternate on the eventual gold-medal winning Olympic 4x400-meter relay team. Despite reaching provisional qualifying marks in all three events, Hooker only received an invitation to compete in the 200-meter dash at the NCAAs.

Superior Spear-er: Sophomore Megan Spriestersbach (Tacoma, Wash.) bettered her season-best mark by more than five feet en route to a provisional qualifying throw in the javelin competition at the Stanford meet March 31. Spriestersbach then improved that throw by an inch, recording a 156-4 at the Ohio Quad meet that ranks her 19th on the current NCAA best list. Spriestersbach finished third in the Pac-10 javelin competition.

Going Higher: Sophomore Brad Walker (Spokane, Wash.), who earned All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor meet March 10, reached the provisional mark in the pole vault, clearing his career-best height of 17-4 1/2 at the Cal Quad, March 17. He then tacked on another two and a half inches to improve his qualifying height to 17-7 at the Mt. SAC Relays April 21. The mark ranks Walker 15th on the NCAA best list.

Last Week (Pac-10 Championships Recap): The Huskies added a pair of conference crowns to their list of season accomplishments at the Pac-10 Championships last week. Fifth-year seniors David Bazzi and Anna Aoki finished out their Husky conference careers with a bang. The duo garnered their respective 10,000-meter titles back to back to end Saturday's competition. The two seniors continued to show their leadership skills, contributing more points to Washington's team efforts with twin third-place finishes in the 5,000-meter run events. Also aiding the Huskies' cause on the men's side was junior Marcus Kelly's third-place finish in the triple jump and Ja'Warren Hooker's fourth-place 100-meter dash finish. Jason Fayant added a fourth-place mark in the. steeplechase as did Joel Perry in the high jump. The UW men finished eighth at the Pac-10s. On the women's side, other point scorers besides Aoki were Megan Spriestersbach, third in the javelin, Kate Bradshaw, sixth in the 10,000 meters, and Heather Reichmann, seventh in the javelin. The Washington women finished in ninth place, just two points behind eighth-place Oregon.

Final Men's Scores: 1. Stanford, 142, 2. USC, 136, 3. UCLA, 115.5, 4. Arizona State, 109.5, 5. Oregon, 86.5, 6. California, 85, 7. Washington State, 67.5, 8. Washington, 42, 9. Arizona, 32.

Final Women's Scores: 1. UCLA, 155, 2. USC, 153, 3. Stanford, 120.5, 4. Washington State, 101.5, 5. Arizona State, 89, 6. Arizona, 77, 7. California, 54, 8. Oregon, 35, 9. Washington, 33.

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