Huskies Soma, Hill Open NCAA Track Competition With 16th-Place Finishes

May 29, 2002

BATON ROUGE, La. - Pole vaulter Kate Soma and steepler Mike Hill each placed 16th in their event today to open Washington's competition at the 2002 NCAA Track and Field Championships at Louisana State University's Bernie Moore Stadium.

Georgia's men jumped out to the Day One lead with 15 points, while Pac-10 champion UCLA scored 15 points to take a five-point lead over Clemson and North Carolina State in the women's standings.

Hill, running his final race as a collegian, finished his preliminary heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8 minutes, 53.39 seconds, the third-best time ever in the event for the Bellevue, Wash, native. Florida's Chris Duncan earned the 12th and final spot in Friday's final with a time of 8:45.99.

A senior, Hill last week became Washington's first Pac-10 steeplechase champion since 1987, winning the conference race in Pullman in 8:54.19.

True-freshman Soma, competing in her first NCAA Championships, cleared the opening height of 12-feet, 3 1/2 inches on her first attempt, but missed all three attempts at 12-9 1/2, a height the Portland, Ore., native cleared twice during the 2002 regular season. Collegiate record holder Tracy O'Hara of UCLA earned the individual title with a clearance of 13-5 1/4.

Soma qualified for the championships on the strength of a school-record vault of 13-1 1/2, a mark that if equaled would have placed the freshman fourth in Wednesday's competition. She also set Washington's indoor school record in March, clearing 12-11 1/2 at Dempsey Indoor.

The Huskies return to the track Thursday, with junior Courtney Inman making her NCAA Championships debut in the preliminary heats of the 1,500 meters. Junior pole vaulter Brad Walker, the last of the four Huskies to make an appearance at this year's meet, competes Friday.

Full schedules and results of NCAA Track and Field Championships action can be found online at, or

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