Track Teams Head to Midwest for Nebraska Invitational

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This Week in Husky Track & Field
Jan. 25:
at Nebraska Invitational, Bob Devaney Sports Center, Lincoln, Neb.

On the Track: Washington's indoor track and field teams take to the road for the first time in 2002, joining Stanford, Oklahoma, Colorado State, Iowa State and the host Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Neb. for the Nebraska Invitational. Both of the Cardinal's squads are ranked in the top-10 of this week's Trackwire 25, while Oklahoma boasts the nation's 16th-ranked men's squad. Competition begins at 3 p.m. CST, with results available at shortly after 10 p.m. CST, and at shortly after that.

Last week: The Huskies celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday with three-conecutive days of competition at Dempsey Indoor. Saturday's meet featured NCAA competition from throughout the Northwest, with the Huskies posting a 7-1 record in men's and women's duals against Oregon, Portland, Portland State and Western Oregon. The Husky women benefitted from event victories by LeTesha Moore (200m), Courtney Inman (800m), Lindsey Egerdahl (Mile), and the 4x400m and distance medley relay squads in an 82-46 rout of Oregon, while the Ducks used NCAA qualifying marks by hurdler Micah Harris and 800m runner Simon Kamata to edge UW, 69-64. Sunday's meet featured top high school athletes from throughout the Northwest, with 16-year old Darren Woods eclipsing his week-old state record in the 400m with a mark of 48.42 seconds. Monday's Small College Invitational was highlighted by performances in the pole vault, where Sandy Erickson equaled the second-best mark in school history with a vault of 11-11 3/4. and former Husky great Matt Phillips just missed qualifying for the U.S. National Championships, faulting on three attempts at 18-0 1/2.

Huskies in the Polls: Washington's men's and women's squads each went unranked in this week's Trackwire 25 rankings. 2001 indoor national champion Tennessee retained the the top spot on the men's side, while Florida edged last week's leader, South Carolina, by a 58-56 margin to take over the No. 1 spot in the women's rankings. The Trackwire 25 uses individual event rankings to predict team scores at the 2001 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Mar. 8-9 in Fayetteville, Ark.

Leading the Pac: Already this season, five Husky veterans have guaranteed a return trip to the Pac-10 Championship meet in May, while one freshmen will be making her conference meet debut. Junior pole vaulter Sandy Erickson bested the Pac-10 standard by more than a full foot with an 11-foot, 11 3/4-inch mark at the Small College Invitational, a mark equaled by freshman Kate Soma at the Husky Scoring Meet. Also in the pole vault, sophomore Alexis Jaime, a 17th-place conference finisher in 2001, earned a bid to the 2002 meet with a career-best of 11-6 1/4, the fourth-best in school history. Joining the terrific vault trio will be triple jumpers Brittiny Roberts and Marcus Kelly, both top-10 finishers in the event in 2001, and junior shot-putter Kameko Gay, who threw the javelin in conference competition last season.

Biting the Injury Bug: Several Huskies expected to play key roles for the squad in 2002 are currently sidelined with various ailments. Still nursing an foot injury from the Pac-10 Cross-Country Championships is stellar junior Sabrina Monro. Monro's return is expected near the end of the indoor season, while junior Kate Bradshaw, an NCAA competitor in 2001, is on a slightly longer rehabilitaion schedule with an IT band injury. Also out but expected to return are senior Jason Fayant and freshman Lisa Gibbs, Washington's top men's and women's runners, respectively, at the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional cross-country meets.

Fab Freshmen: The early returns from Washington's class of 2004, who made their Husky debuts this month at Dempsey Indoor, are promising. No fewer than five Husky freshmen earned event victories in the team's first three competitions, including a pair of wins by freshman Cherron Davis, competiting unattached, in the shot put. Davis, distance runners Lindsey Egerdahl (mile) and Jamie Gibbs (3000m) and sprinters Sean Williams (200m) and Eric Pedersen (400m) have each notched victories in 2002. Additionally, three Husky freshmen currently lead the squad in their event, including Gibbs, Pedersen and high-jumper Sidney Brown.

USA's Top Dawg: Husky track and field head coach Orin Richburg was elected by fellow coaches and U.S.A. Track and Field administrators to head the U.S. National Team at the 2001 World Track and Field Championships, the most prestigious honor for a track-and-field coach in a non-Olympic year. Richburg capitalized on the opportunity, leading the U.S. to a meet-high 19 medals, including nine golds. In his 17th year at UW, Richburg is responsible for molding the Husky track squad into one of the nation's elite dual-meet teams, as evidenced by both teams' top-10 finishes in the 2001 U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings.

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