Track Squads Renew Long-Time Rivalries at West Coast's Oldest Indoor Meet

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Feb. 14, 2002

On the Track: Washington's track squads leave the friendly confines of Dempsey Indoor - site of three school records in a two-week span - for the familiar surroundings of the University of Idaho's Kibbie Dome, site of Friday's Vandal Indoor. The Vandal meet, the oldest of its kind on the West Coast, is stocked with talent both collegiate and otherwise. Highlighting the women's University competition at the meet will be squads from Washington and Washington State, both ranked in the top-25 in at least one of the two major polls. The Husky men, meanwhile, will be challenged by 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dan O'Brien, as well as some of the world's top-ranked competitors in the sprints and distance events.

Vandal Indoor Event Schedule
3:00 p.m.* -- Pentathlon 60m hurdles
3:45 p.m. -- Pentathlon Long Jump
4:45 p.m. -- Pentathlon Shot Put
5:45 p.m. -- Pentathlon High Jump
6:00 p.m. -- Weight Throw (Women)
6:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault (Men)
6:00 p.m. -- 60m dash prelims (Women)
6:10 p.m. -- 60m dash prelims (Men)
6:25 p.m. -- 400m prelims (Women)
6:35 p.m. -- 400m prelims (Men)
6:45 p.m. -- 60m dash finals (Women)
6:50 p.m. -- 60m dash finals (Men)
6:55 p.m. -- Mile Run (Women)
7:00 p.m. -- Weight Throw (Men)
7:05 p.m. -- Mile Run (Men)
7:15 p.m. -- Pentathlon 1000m Run
7:25 p.m. -- 3000m Run (Women)
7:30 p.m. -- High Jump (Women)
7:40 p.m. -- 60m hurdles prelims (Women)
7:50 p.m. -- 60m hurdles prelims (Men)
8:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault (Women)
8:00 p.m. -- Shot Put (Women)
8:05 p.m. -- 800m Run (Women)
8:15 p.m. -- 800m Run (Men)
8:25 p.m. -- 60m hurdles final (Men)
8:30 p.m. -- 60m hurdles final (Women)
8:30 p.m. -- High Jump (Men)
9:00 p.m. -- Shot Put (Men)
9:00 p.m. -- 3000m (Men)
9:20 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (Women)
9:30 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (Men)

* -- All Times PST

Last week: Records fell left and right at Dempsey Indoor on Feb. 9 as Washington rolled to 10 dual-meet victories in the UW Invitiational. A week after establishing the school's top indoor mile mark (since 1980), Husky sophomore Eric Garner ran the 3,000 meters in 8:02.76 to shatter the school record of 8:06.57 set by David Bazzi in 2001. Garner finished just behind unattached Canadian speedster Graeme Hood, who qualified for the Canadian National Championships with a time of 7:53.60, the best-ever at Dempsey Indoor. Garner's performance helped lift the Huskies to a sweep in four dual meets against Northwest rivals, upping the squad's overall record to 12-5 in 2002. On the women's side, freshman Kate Soma broke her own school record with a mark of 12-11 1/2 in the pole vault, leading the Husky women to a 6-1 record in duals, including a tightly-contested 78-70 victory over Oregon in the rubber match of a three-meet set during the 2002 indoor season. Washington's lone loss was to eighth-ranked Cal State-Northridge.

Huskies in the Polls: For the second-consecutive week, both the Husky men's and women's squads saw their point totals increase but their rankings slip in the U.S. Track and Field Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings, which projects dual-meet scoring between the nation's top collegiate squads. The Husky men fell one spot, from 16th last week to 17th, despite increasing their point total from 231.97 in the Feb. 7 rankings to 239.87 this week. Nebraska, which had passed defending national champion Tennesse for the No. 1 position last week, fell to third, while Alabama leapfrogged both schools into the top spot on the men's side with a point total of 285.71. In the women's rankings, Washington increased its score by five points, to 235.32, but fell three spots to No. 21. No. 1 Florida increased its lead over second-ranked Louisiana State to 27 with a score of 307.43. Both of the USTCA's second-ranked teams earned revenge in the Trackwire 25, which ranks teams based on expected performance at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Tennessee was tops on the men's side with 59 points, while LSU took over the women's lead with a score of 51. Both Husky teams remained unranked in the Trackwire poll.

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.

Washington's 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships Qualifiers:

Eric Garner
Mile Run, 3000m
Kelso, Wash. (Kelso HS)

Boasts a provisional-qualifying mark of 4:03.04 in the mile run that currently ranks 18thin the nation in 2002.

Set a second NCAA provisional mark with a time of 8:02.56 in the 3,000m that currently ranks 19th nationally in 2002.

Set a school record in the 3,000m with an 8:02.56 at the UW Invitational on Sat., Feb. 9, besting the previous record by more than four seconds.

Qualifying time of 4:03.04 in the mile, run at the UW Quad Classic on Sat., Feb. 2, ranks second all-time at Washington, and is the best mark by any Husky in more than a quarter-century.

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 12-11 1/2 that currently ranks 24thin the nation in 2002.

In just five weeks of competition, has raised the school pole vault record by nearly a foot, from 12-0 3/4 to 12-11 1/2, achieved at the UW Invitational on Feb. 9.

Won the pole vault at the 2001 Junior Olympics in Eugene, Ore.

Garner-ing Acclaim:With several of UW's top distance runners nursing injuries this winter, many of those traditionally out of the spotlight have been asked to step up. No member of the Husky squad has filled the void better than sophomore Eric Garner, who in the past two weeks has established himself as not only the Huskies' man to beat in 2002, but one of the school's top distance competitors of all-time. A 2000 graduate of Kelso High School, Garner battled injuries through his first year and a half at Washington, running competitively for the first time in February of 2001. Since then, Garner has steadily improved, capping his two years of effort with a dramatic 4:03.04 mile win at the UW Quad Classic on Feb. 2, Washington's fastest indoor mile since Greg Gibson ran 3:59.1h in 1974. The following week, Garner added the school record in the 3,000 meters to his resume finishing in 8:02.56, a full four seconds ahead of David Bazzi's mark of 8:06.57 in 2001.

Pole Results: No unit in the Husky arsenal has been more effective in 2002 than the women's pole vaulters. Four women's vaulters have met or exceeeded the Pac-10 qualifying standard, while 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. Soma's NCAA provisional and school-record mark of 12-11 1/2 at the UW Invitational eclipsed her own school record of 12-5 1/2 set just two weeks prior at the Husker Invite. In just five weeks of competition, the Portland, Ore., native has raised the school's indoor pole vault record by nearly a foot, from the previous record of 12-0 3/4 set by MerryJane Bendico in 2001. 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.

Leading the Pac: Already this season, eiuht Huskies have earned berths at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships. Freshman pole vaulter Kate Soma bested the Pac-10 standard by more than two feet with a school-record vault of 12-11 1/2 a the UW Invitational, while fellow vaulters Sandy Erickson (11-11 3/4), Alexis Jaime (11-6 1/4) and Tayler Wilkins (10-11 3/4) have all bested the Pac-10 standard. Joining the terrific vault quartet will be triple jumpers Brittiny Roberts and Marcus Kelly, both top-10 Pac-10 finishers in the event in 2001, high jumper Frank Remund, the ninth-place conference finisher in 2001, and shot-putter Kameko Gay, who threw the javelin at the 2001 conference meet.

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 UW Invitational, while no fewer than four Husky freshmen currently lead the squad in their event, including Soma, Cherron Davis (shot put), Jamie Gibbs (3000m), 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. Nursing a foot injury from the Pac-10 Cross-Country Championships is stellar junior Sabrina Monro. Monro is expected to return near the end of the indoor season, while senior Jason Fayant, Washington's top men's runner at the NCAA West Regional cross-country meet, has also been inactive. Junior pole vaulter Brad Walker, an All-American indoors and outdoors, has competed just once in 2002 while recovering from offseason foot surgery. There has been good news, however, as 2000 Pac-10 10,000-meter champion Kate Bradshaw and 2001 Cross-Country All-American Lisa Gibbs each made their 2002 track debuts at last week's UW Invitational.

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