Indoor Track & Field Opens Season

Jan. 11, 2002

LET THE SEASON BEGIN: Washington State University's indoor track and field teams opens the 2002 season at the Eastern Washington University Early Bird Open Saturday, Jan. 12, at Cheney...the Early Bird Open features limited events and since the spring classes don't being at WSU until Monday, Jan. 14, the Cougars will send a small squad...field events begin at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse at 9 a.m. with running events at 11:30 a.m.

POLE VAULT SUMMIT: Freshman Tamara Diles (Bellevue, Wash.) will compete at the 2002 Pole Vault Summit, Jan. 11-12 at the Hilton Hotel, Reno...the two-day summit features seven pole vault runways for 1,000 athletes to compete in 44 levels (high school through Olympians)...Diles set the WSU freshman vault record last month when she cleared 13-feet, 2 1/4 inches (4.02m) at the Long Beach Winter Carnival outdoor meet.

TEAM HISTORY: Because the Pacific-10 Conference does not sponsor indoor track and field competition, Washington State University competes in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation for indoor track season joining teams from the Pac-10, Mountain West, Western Athletic, West Coast and Big West Conferences...the Cougar men's team won the MPSF Indoor Championships last year while the women were team champs in 1999 and 2000...Cougar coach Rick Sloan was named West Region Men's Indoor Coach of the Year by the US Track Coaches Association.

ABOUT THE COUGAR COACHES: Head coach Rick Sloan is in his 29th season with the Cougar track program (eighth year as a head coach, seventh year as mentor to the combined men's and women's program)...he is joined by associate coach Debra Farwell, and assistant coaches Dr. James Li, Mark Macdonald, Kris Grimes, and Francesca Green...volunteer coaches are Dan O'Brien and Bernard Lagat.

ABOUT THE COUGAR WOMEN: The Cougar women are anchored by outstanding returnees including junior All-Americans Whitney Evans and Ellannee Richardson and senior captain Randi Smith...Evans will primarily compete in the high jump coming off last spring's third place NCAA finish but also get prepared for the outdoor heptathlon events...Richardson owns the school record in the 400m (54.14i) and will also compete in events pertaining to the heptathlon...Smith is a versatile hurdler in both the highs and the intermediates as well as running in some sprints and on relays...last year seven Cougar freshmen set 11 indoor records and all return for the 2002 season - Erin Reed (sprints), Tamara Gulley (hurdles), Karla McGee (pole vault), Blessing Ufodiama (triple jump), Shannon Rance (shot put), and Bree Skinner and Angelita Green as relay members...freshmen expected to make an immediate impact include Schquay Brignac (North Hills, Calif.) in the jumps, Tamara Diles (Bellevue, Wash.) in the pole vault, and Brittany Hinchcliffe (Olympia, Wash.) and Marie Muai (Tacoma, Wash.) in the throws...missing from indoor competition will be All-Americans Cicely Clinkenbeard (triple jump) and Megan Maynard (distance) who have already used their four seasons of indoor eligibility.

ABOUT THE COUGAR MEN: Senior All-American intermediate hurdler and team captain Eric Dudley returns after posting a fifth-place finish last spring at the NCAA Outdoor Championships...sprinters with NCAA experience returning include sophomore Anthony Buchanan and senior Anson Henry, both set school records last season will be joined by steady sophomore Dan Brink and transfer Bennie Chatman (Barton CC, Houston, Texas)...distance specialists Oscar Franco-Parra (senior), Jon Welsh (senior), and Ian Johnson (RS-sophomore) will find support from freshmen Mike Heidt (Selah, Wash.), Justin Ireland (Issaquah, Wash.), and Dan Wolf (Reno, Nev.) and in the middle ranges, freshman Jon Manthey (Federal Way)...newcomers with immediate impact will be jumpers Piero Vojvodic (RS-junior, Peru), Jamil Smith (freshman, Palmdale, Calif.), and Patrick Harrigan (freshman, Reno, Nev.)...freshman Darion Powell (Kirkland, Wash.) is a prep All-American decathlete with a hurdles specialty who is ready for the collegiate competition...redshirt sophomores Tim Gehring, Sam Lightbody and Rien Long will anchor the throws.

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