Record Hunt Continues For Husky Track Squads

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Feb. 7, 2002

On the Track: Washington hosts the fifth of six collegiate indoor track and field meets at Dempsey Indoor this weekend with the UW Invitational, Sat., Feb. 9 at Dempsey Indoor. Making their third appearance at the new facility will be the women of the University of Oregon,to be joined by the University of Hawaii, UNLV, Sacramento State, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, UC-Davis, Cal State-Northridge, Dempsey regulars Portland and Western Oregon, and women's teams from UC-Irvine and Occidental College, along with selected members of the Seattle Pacific University track and field team. The women's teams of Washington and Oregon will be looking to settle a three-meet series evened at one apiece by the Ducks' victory in Seattle last weekend. Washington's men, meanwhile, seek to improve upon a stellar 7-1 record in dual meets, including a pair of victories each against Portland and Western Oregon squads out for revenge in the last week of scored team competition at home in 2002.

UW Invitational Event Schedule
9:00 a.m. -- Weight Throw (Women/Men)*
9:00 a.m. -- Weight Throw (Women/Men)*
9:00 a.m. -- Shot Put (Men/Women)
9:30 a.m. -- Long Jump (Women/Men)
9:30 a.m. -- High Jump (Men/Women)
10:00 a.m. -- Pole Vault (Women/Men)
10:00 a.m. -- 60m Hurdles Prelim (Women)
10:25 a.m. -- 60m Hurdles Prelim (Men)
10:45 a.m. -- 60m Dash Prelim (Women)
11:05 a.m. -- 60m Dash (Men)
11:25 a.m. -- Mile Run (Women)
11:45 a.m. -- Mile Run (Men)
12:05 p.m --60m HH Consol. Final (W)
12:15 p.m. -- 60m Hurdles Final (Women)
12:30 p.m. -- Triple Jump (Women/Men)
12:30 p.m. -- 60m HH Consol. Final (M)
12:40 p.m. -- 60m Hurdles Final (Men)
12:55 p.m. -- 400m Dash (Women)
1:15 p.m. -- 400m Dash (Men)
1:35 p.m. -- 60m Dash Consol. Final (W)
1:45 p.m. -- 60m Dash Final (Women)
1:55 p.m. -- 60m Dash Consol. Final (M)
2:05 p.m. -- 60m Dash Final (Men)
2:15 p.m. -- 800m Run (Women)
2:35 p.m. -- 800m Run (Men)
2:55 p.m. -- 200m Dash (Women)
3:15 p.m. -- 200m Dash (Men)
3:35 p.m. -- 3000m Run (Women)
3:50 p.m. -- 3000m Run (Men)
4:05 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (Women)
4:15 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (Men)
4:25 p.m. -- DMR (Women)
4:40 p.m. -- DMR (Men)
* -- Weight Throw conducted outdoors

Last week: A total of 20 NCAA qualifying marks and one school record were set in the most star-studded meet in Dempsey Indoor's inaugural season. Washington sophomore Eric Garner electrified the crowd with a stunning, come-from-behind victory in the mile run, overtaking Oregon's Simon Kimata 200 meters from the finish line and pulling away down the stretch to finish in 4:03.04, the 13th-fastest time in the nation in 2002 and a Washington indoor school record. The women's competition was highlighted by the performance of UCLA senior and American collegiate record holder Tracy O'Hara in the pole vault. O'Hara's winning vault of 14-3 1/2 ranked second in the world in 2002, and was one of five auomatic-qualifying marks for March's NCAA Indoor Championships set by Bruin athletes at the meet. The Husky women went 4-1 in dua-meet competition, with Oregon's women's squad taking the second of three scheduled meets between the Pac-10 foes, earning revenge for a January defeat by the Huskies at Dempsey Indoor. Washington's men, meanwhile, swept all four of its duals, improving its record to 7-1 in dual meet competition in 2002.

USA's Top Dawg: As a reflection of the high esteem in which he is held by track and field coaches and administrators around the country, Husky head coach Orin Richburg was elected 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, directing 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. Richburg was an All-American sprinter at Kent State, and has mentored four Olympic athletes in his 17-year tenure at Washington.

Huskies in the Polls: Washington's men's squad earned 231.97 points in this week's rankings - up from a score of 221.06 last week - but fell six spots to No. 16 in this week's U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings, which simulate dual meet competition between the nation's top collegiate track and field squads. The Husky women also slipped six spots, from No. 12 to No. 18, despite increasing their weekly point total to 230.64, a nine-point improvement from the Jan. 29 rankings. Upsets occurred at the top spots as well, with Nebraska knocking defending national-champion Tennesee out of No. 1 spot with 262.7 points, and the University of Florida overtaking former No. 1 South Carolina with a score of 294.06.The Gamecocks were also upset by Florida in this week's Trackwire 25, which ranks teams on the basis of expected performance at the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The Gators totaled 52 points, while South Carolina slipped into a second-place tie with Arizona at 44. Tennesee's men's squad remained atop the Trackwire rankings for the fifth-consecutive week, though a once vast lead was trimmed to just five points, 54-49, by a hard-charging University of Arkansas squad. Both Husky teams remained unranked by Trackwire.

Leading the Pac: Already this season, five Husky veterans have guaranteed a return trip to the Pac-10 Championship meet in May, while one freshman 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 bested the following week by freshman Kate Soma, who went 12-5 1/2 at the Husker Invite. 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. 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 at the Pac-10s in 2001.

Washington's 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships Qualifiers
Eric Garner
Mile Run
Kelso, Wash. (Kelso HS)
* Boasts a provisional-qualifying mark of 4:03.04 in the mile run that currently ranks 13th in the nation in 2002.
* Set a school record in the indoor mile with a 4:03.04 at the UW Quad Classic on Sat., Feb. 9, besting the previous record by more than two seconds.
* Placed 13th in the steeplechase at the 2001 Pac-10 Championships in 9:09.39.

Kate Soma
Pole Vault
Portland, Ore. (Grant HS)

* Achieved provisional-qualifying mark with a vault of 12-5 1/2 that currently ranks 42nd in the nation in 2002.
* Set an indoor school record in just her second collegiate competition, vaulting 12-5 1/2 at the Husker Invite on Jan. 25 to best thre previous record by five inches.
* Won the pole vault at the 2001 Junior Olympics in Eugene, Ore.

Pole Results: No unit in the Husky arsenal has been more effective in 2002 than the women's pole vaulters. Junior Sandy Erickson, sophomore Alexis Jaime and freshman Kate Soma have already combined to post three of Washington's top-four all-time indoor marks, including Soma's NCAA provisional and school-record mark of 12-5 1/2 at the Husker Invite, eclipsing the previous record of 12-0 3/4 set by MerryJane Bendico in 2001. Additionally, each member of the vault trio has qualified for May's Pac-10 Championships. Erickson, UW's outdoor record holder in the event at 12-11 1/2, placed fourth at the Pac-10s in 2000, while Jaime was 17th in the conference in 2001.

Fab Freshmen: The early returns from Washington's class of 2005, which made its Husky debuts last month at Dempsey Indoor, are promising. Portland, Ore., native Kate Soma earned an NCAA provisional-qualifying mark in the pole vault at the Husker Invite, while no fewer than four 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 sprinter Sean Williams (200m) have each notched victories in 2002. Additionally, four freshmen currently lead the squad in their event, including Davis, Gibbs, Soma, high-jumper Sidney Brown and shot-putter Jeff Wallis.

Fighting the Injury Bug: Several Huskies expected to play key roles for the squad in 2002 are currently sidelined with various ailments, including a pair of All-Americans and five Huskies boasting NCAA experience in either track or cross-country. Still nursing an foot injury from the Pac-10 Cross-Country Championships is stellar junior Sabrina Monro. Monro,who was undefeated in 2001 at the time of the injury, is expected to return near the end of the indoor season, while junior Kate Bradshaw, the Pac-10 10,000-meter champion in 2000, is on a slightly longer rehabilitaion schedule with an IT band injury. Also out but expected back for outdoor competition 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. Junior pole vaulter Brad Walker, an All-American indoors and outdoors, has competed just once in 2002 while recovering from offseason foot surgery, while the Huskies were without the services of Pac-10 triple-jump competitor Brittiny Roberts and UW sprints leader LeTesha Moore at last week's Quad Classic, each nursing minor injuries.

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