Huskies Send Nine To Sacramento For 2003 NCAA Track And Field Championships
June 9, 2003
On the Track: One of the most exciting seasons in Washington track and field history reaches its climax this week, as nine UW athletes head to Sacramento State University for the 2003 NCAA Track and Field Championships. Six school-record holders highlight the Husky contingent, which is more than twice as large as that sent to the national meet just a year ago. Washington's six women's athletes will be seeking the Huskies' top team finish since 1998, while the team's three men's competitors will attempt to put UW on the scoreboard for the fourth-consecutive year. Junior Todd Arnold will get things started for Washington on Wed., June 11, with Husky competition scattered throughout Thursday and Friday's action before an exciting night on finals on Saturday.
Event Schedule: Following is a schedule of those events featuring Husky athletes at this week's NCAA Track and Field Championships. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.hornetsports.com. All times are Pacific.
Wednesday, June 11
11:30 a.m. -- 800m Run, Prelim (M)
8:05 p.m. -- Javelin, Prelim (W)
Thursday, June 12
10:00 a.m. -- Pole Vault,Prelim (W)
11:25 a.m. -- 800m Run, Semi (M)
7:00 p.m. -- 1,500m Run, Prelim (W)
7:15 p.m. -- Triple Jump, Prelim (W)
7:25 p.m. -- 1,500m Run, Prelim (M)
9:00 p.m. -- 10,000m Run, Final (W)
Friday, June 13
7:00 p.m. -- Javelin, Final (W)
Saturday, June 14
6:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault, Final (W)
7:15 p.m. -- Triple Jump, Final (W)
7:40 p.m. -- 1,500m Run, Final (W)
7:50 p.m. -- 1,500m Run, Final (M)
8:30 p.m. -- 800m Run, Final (M)
Meet Results: Live results of the 2003 NCAA Track and Field Championships will be available live on the internet at www.hornetsports.com, and www.ncaasports.com. Also, a complete recap of Husky competition will be posted to the official site of UW athletics, www.gohuskies.com, at the conclusion of each day's action.
NCAAs on TV: The 2003 NCAA Track and Field Championships will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by CBS Sports. The two-hour broadcast is scheduled to air on Saturday, May 21st at 3 p.m. EST.
Huskies on the Airwaves: 'On Campus with the Huskies,' a half-hour program featuring Washington's Olympic sports teams, debuted last fall on Fox Sports Northwest. The weekly program, hosted by former Husky athlete Elise Woodward, features event highlights and profiles of Husky athletes and coaches. 'On Campus' airs each Thursday at 6:30 p.m. PT.
How They Got Here: Six of Washington's nine NCAA-bound athletes qualified for the meet on the strength of outstanding performances at last month's West Regional Championships at Stanford, one was an automatic-qualifier in the 10,000 meters and two were at-large additions to the field. Junior Brittiny Roberts, who will compete in the triple jump, placed third in the event at the regional, as did senior Courtney Inman in the 1,500 meters. Sophomore Kate Soma notched an eight-and-a-half inch personal best in the pole vault to finish second, posting the sixth-best mark in Pac-10 history. Juniors Eric Garner and John Russell ran 4-5 in the 1,500 meters to qualify, while junior Todd Arnold - not even a Pac-10 qualifier entering the postseason - placed fourth in the 800 meters to earn his first-ever NCAA trip. Senior Sabrina Monro has known since March that she'd be going as an automatic qualifier at 10,000 meters, while 10,000-meter ace Kate Bradshaw and javelin thrower Heather Reichmann posted marks during the season that merited at-large additions to the NCAA field.
NCAA Championships By the Numbers: Including Brad Walker's record-breaking win at this year's NCAA Indoor Championships, Husky athletes have earned 25 NCAA individual crowns all-time. Poignantly, the 2003 season marks the 40th anniversary of the Huskies' only other NCAA pole vault championship, won by Brian Sternberg in Modesto, Calif., in 1963. The 2003 season also marked the fifth anniversary of Ja'Warren Hooker's 1998 55-meter title, and the 25th anniversary of the second of three-consecutive indoor weight throw titles earned by legendary Husky Scott Neilson. Neilson was certainly the most prolific titlist in school history, graduating with seven NCAA championships, including the three indoor weight throw crowns, and four-straight NCAA hammer titles from 1976-79. Besides Neilson, two other Huskies earned multiple NCAA titles, including hurdler Steve Anderson, in 1929 and 1930, and Gus Pope, who captured both the discus and shot titles 1921. Interestingly, of the 21 Husky athletes to win titles prior to Walker (list includes the three multiple-time champions and one relay), eight went on to compete in the Olympic Games, including three Olympic medalists.
Last Year at the NCAA Championships: Washington sent four athletes to the 2002 NCAA Championships in Baton Rouge, two each on the men's and women's sides. Pole vaulter Brad Walker foreshadowed his outstanding performances at the 2002 USA Nationals and 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships with a second-place finish, clearing a then-school-record height of 18 feet, 2 1/2 inches. Courtney Inman also showed that she was ready for the big stage with a 10th-place finish in 4:19.12, a two-spot improvement over her national ranking entering the meet. Pole vaulter Kate Soma made her first-ever NCAA Championships appearance, placing 16th overall, a finish matched by senior steepler Mike Hill.
Rankings Report: Washington's men's and women's squads placed 27th and 16th, respectively, in the final edition of the 2003 U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings, which simulate head-to-head competition between the nation's elite collegiate squads. The Husky women finished with a school-record 340.09 points, while North Carolina ended the year atop the rankings with an unprecedented score of 400.45. Tennessee held on to the top spot in the men's rankings with 375.48 points, while Washington finished at 328.06. Neither UW team was ranked in last week's release of the Trackwire 25, which predicts team scoring at the NCAA Championships.
Monster PR of the Week: In what was perhaps the most impressive personal-best performance at the entire NCAA West Regional Championships, sophomore Kate Soma cleared 13 feet, 10 inches in the pole vault, well beyond her own school-record outdoor best of 13-1 1/2. The mark was the sixth-best in Pac-10 Conference history, and would have won every Regional except the West, where Oregon's Becky Holliday set a collegiate record. Soma enters the NCAA Championships ranked fifth overall.
New NCAA Format: For the first time ever, the NCAA used Regional Championship meets this season to determine qualifying for the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Stating a desire to place an emphasis on competition, rather than best marks, the NCAA Championships drew the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relay teams from each of the four Regionals contested nationwide on May 30-31. Athletes qualified for the Regional meets by meeting pre-determined NCAA standards, or by winning their conference championship. The NCAA then rounded out the Championships field by selecting the highest-ranking individuals (approximately six per individual event and five per relay) from the national collegiate performance lists, provided those athletes competed at their respective Regional meets and were not among the finishers to earn automatic NCAA berths. The lone exceptions to the Regional qualifying system were the 10,000-meter and multi-events, which were no subject to Regional competition. Athletes continued to qualify for the NCAA Championships in those events as they have in the past, by meeting pre-determined provisional and automatic-qualifying standards.
Where No Husky Has Gone Before: At the season-opening Ken Shannon Invitational, five Husky throwers became the first UW athletes ever to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships, which were contested for the first time May 30-31 at Stanford. The list included four spear specialists, headlined by four-time top-10 Pac-10 finisher Heather Reichmann. Joining Reichmann as Washington's first-ever NCAA Regional qualifiers were freshman Tiffany Zahn, a prep All-American in the javelin, sophomore javelin throwers Rigel Wise and Juan Romero, and senior discus competitior Mat Schwinn. The following week, however, the five learned they'd have some company at the Regional meet, as no fewer than 21 Huskies achieved NCAA qualifying marks, including marks in the 10,000 meters by Sabrina Monro and Kate Bradshaw which qualified them directly for the NCAA Championships. Four Husky men qualified in the 5,000 meters, spearheading the most prolific NCAA-qualifying day in UW history. In all, 31 Huskies qualified for NCAA competition in 2003, including 30 NCAA Regional and two NCAA Championships qualifiers.
Washington's 2003 NCAA Regional Championships Qualifiers*
Name, Event, Mark, Regional Finish, National Ranking
Todd Arnold, 800m, 1:50.00, 4th, 26th
Eric Garner, 1,500m, :44.37, 4th, 23rd
John Russell, 1,500m, 3:44.65, 5th, 24th
Mat Schwinn, Discus, 187-3, 6th, 23rd
Sean Williams, 400m Dash, 47.19, 10th, 95th (tie)
Rigel Wise, Javelin, 205-9, 20th, 82nd
Andy Fader, 5,000m, 14:23.88, 21st, 143rd
Fumi Nagahisa, Pole Vault, 16-0 3/4, 22nd, 102nd (tie)
Andy Fader, 1,500m, 3:48.64, 23rd, 109th
Jeremy Park, 5,000m, 13:54.07, 24th, 17th
Sam Roberts, Pole Vault, 16-0 3/4, 25th, 102nd (tie)
Jesse Fayant, Steeplechase, 8:58.81, 28th, 51st
Brad Walker, Pole Vault, 18-6 1/2, DNC, 1st
Jeremy Park, 1,500m, 3:46.58, DNC, 57th
Eric Garner, 800m, 1:50.74, DNC, 109th
Seth Jens, Javelin, 201-6, DNC, 101st (tie)
Eric Garner, 5,000m, 14:13.26, DNC, 65th
Juan Romero, Javelin, 201-1, DNC, 105th
Jon Hickey, 1,500m, 3:49.18, DNC, 135th
Jesse Fayant, 5,000m, 14:19.02, DNC, 101st
Name, Event, Mark, Regional Finish, National Ranking
Kate Soma, Pole Vault, 13-10, 2nd, 5th
Courtney Inman, 1,500m, 4:15.14, 3rd, 6th
Brittiny Roberts, Triple Jump, 41-4 1/2, 3rd, 27th
Heather Reichmann, Javelin, 159-2, 7th, 18th
Sabrina Monro, 10,000m, 33:32.28, N/A, 7th
Kate Bradshaw, 10,000m, 34:43.47, N/A, 28th
Lindsey Egerdahl, 1,500m, 4:23.87, 6th, 43rd
Kameko Gay, Hammer, 189-9, 8th, 32nd (tie)
Tiffany Zahn, Javelin, 155-2, 11th, 26th
Kate Spigel, Steeplechase, 10:35.31, 12th, 31st (tie)
Cherron Davis, Shot Put, 47-9 3/4, 13th, 80th (tie)
Carly Dockendorf, Pole Vault, 12-11 1/2, 13th, 31st (tie)
Cambrielle Jensen, 400m Hurdles, 1:00.51, 19th, 87th (tie)
Brynne Steward, 100m Hurdles, 14.05, 21st, 125th (tie)
Camille Connelly, Steeplechase, 10:52.47, 22nd, 82nd
Sidney Brown, High Jump, 5-7, NH, 86th (tie)
Brittiny Roberts, High Jump, 5-7, NH, 86th (tie)
Sabrina Monro, 5,000m, 15:56.90, DNC, 11th
Courtney Inman, 800m, 2:05.97, DNC, 17th
Sidney Brown, Triple Jump, 40-1 1/4, DNC, 109th (tie)
* National rankings for NCAA competitors reflect seeding in declared NCAA Championships field; all others are rankings entering Regional competition.
Just Dandy, Thank You: Much of the reason for Washington's lofty rankings is the success of an outstanding set of individuals. Seniors Courtney Inman and Sabrina Monro each earned top-12 individual rankings in this week's Trackwire Dandy Dozen, which predicts individual order of finish at the NCAA Championships. Factoring in seed marks, injury history, and past performance in major competitions, Trackwire ranks Inman 12th in the 1,500 meters and Monro 10th overall in the 10K. Also, pole vaulter Brad Walker was ranked No. all season before breaking his hand two weeks ago.
Two-Time Champs: Senior Brad Walker earned his second-consecutive Pac-10 title this season, joining javelin thrower Darryl Roberson (1988-89) and decathlete Mike Ramos (1983-84) as the only UW athletes to win consecutive conference crowns since the Pac-8 expanded to 10 teams in 1979. Prior to 1979, six Husky athletes earned consecutive conference titles, including hammer thrower Scott Neilson (1976-78), javelin throwers Duncan Atwood (1977-78), Rod Ewaliko (1975-76) and Cary Feldman (1970-71), and vaulters Kirk Bryde (1971-72) and John Cramer (1961-62).
L.A. Story: Washington's women tried to steal the show at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, improving to sixth from a ninth-place finish a year ago. The Huskies' 64 points were the most by a UW women's team since 1998, and were just five points fewer than the team's total from 2001 and 2002, combined. No Husky influenced the scoring more than senior Courtney Inman, who placed third in both the 800- and 1,500-meter runs. Inman's time of 4:15.14 in the 1,500 meters was more than two seconds below the Pac-10 meet record, was the seventh-fastest in Pac-10 history, is the fastest time by a Canadian woman this year, and would have won every previous Pac-10 1,500-meter final. Her time of 2:05.97 in the 800 meters, meanwhile, was the second-fastest in UW history, and ranks third on the 2003 Canadian performance list. Also scoring in multiple events for the UW women were seniors Kate Bradshaw and Sabrina Monro, while steepler Kate Spigel lowered the school record in a fourth-place finish. Top-ranked UCLA ran away with its seventh-consecutive women's title, scoring 155 points. Stanford was second, followed by ASU, USC, Washington State, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Cal. On the men's side, senior Brad Walker brought home his second-consecutive Pac-10 title in the pole vault with a clearance at 18 feet, 2 1/2 inches, but the Husky men managed just 37 points in a ninth-place finish. Performances of note included a massive personal-best in the discus for senior Mat Schwinn, who placed third; a fourth-place finish in the steeple by freshman Jesse Fayant; and a trio of scorers in the 1,500 meters, including Eric Garner, John Russell and Andy Fader. Host USC edged Stanford, Oregon and USC for the title, each of the runners-up finishing within 16 points of the Trojans.
Pac-10 Prowess: While UW's teams have never claimed a Pac-10 title outright, the 2003 Huskies extended a string of four-consecutive seasons with at least one individual titlist. Brad Walker earned the 2003 title in the pole vault, matching his finish from 2002, when both Walker and steepler Mike Hill left the conference meet with championship trophies. That was the third time in the last six years that the UW had at least two Pac-10 champs. The Huskies' longest-ever streak of individual champions was a seven-year run from 1974-1980, highlighted by Scott Neilson's four titles in the hammer.
Surprise Scorers: Not all of Washington's points at the Pac-10 meet came from the Huskies' highest-ranked competitors. In fact, 15 of the 37 points scored by UW men came from athletes ranked outside the top-10 in their respective events. Such clutch scorers included junior Todd Arnold, who went from 16th to seventh at 800 meters; sophomore Andy Fader, 15th to seventh at 1,500 meters; and senior Mat Schwinn, who entered the meet ranked 11th in the discus but achieved a massive season-best mark to finish third. Three Husky women improved their standing by nine places at the Pac-10 meet, including sophomore Lindsey Egerdahl, who went from 16th to seventh in the 1,500 meters; senior Kate Bradshaw, who placed eighth in the 5,000 meters after entering the meet ranked 17th; and redshirt freshman Carly Dockendorf, who improved from 17th to 8th in the pole vault. Other Husky scorers to overcome double-digit rankings included Cherron Davis in the shot put (from 12th to eighth) and freshman Jesse Fayant in the steeple (10th to fourth).
Senioritis: While the Huskies' surprise scorers made an impact in the final league standings, it was the team's seniors that led Washington's womens' squad to its best Pac-10 finish in five years. Forty-two of Washington's 64 points at the meet were scored by women who will not be competing in 2004, a departing corps that includes five school-record holders and one Pac-10 champion. Chief among the losses will be senior Courtney Inman, who holds UW indoor records in the mile and 800 meters, and two weeks ago ran times of 2:05.97 and 4:15.14 in the 800- and 1,500 meters, respectively, at the Pac-10 Championships that are the second-fastest times in UW history. Sabrina Monro, the UW record-holder indoors in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters, will also be missed, having notched top-four finishes in both the 5K and 10K events at the conference meet this season. Steeplechase record holder Kate Spigel will forgo her fifth year of eligibility, joining 2000 Pac-10 10,000m champ Kate Bradshaw on the graduation podium in June. Also departing will be hammer thrower Kameko Gay and javelin star Heather Reichmann, each of whom boast school records in their events and were among the top-six finishers at the Pac-10 meet. 'Those women will be hard to replace,' says head coach Greg Metcalf, 'but they've laid the foundation upon which this program will rebuild.'
10,000 Meter Tandems: Seniors Sabrina Monro and Kate Bradshaw this year continued a remarkable Washington tradition that dates back to the 1996-97 season. Both will compete for the Huskies at this week's NCAA Championships, marking the seventh-consecutive year that the Huskies have qualified two women's runners in the event. The tradition began when then-sophomore Deeja Youngquist was joined by a true freshman, Anna Aoki, at the 1997 championship meet. The two teamed at the NCAAs for the next three seasons, with Aoki earning All-American honors with a ninth-place finish in 1998. Youngquist's departure following the 1999 season could have signaled the end of the streak, but then-freshman Bradshaw defeated an experienced field at the Pac-10 meet to better the NCAA's 10,000-meter qualifying mark and keep the streak alive. In 2001, Bradshaw and Aoki performed the double again, and in 2002, Bradshaw was joined on the provisional list by true freshman Lisa Gibbs.
Top Dawgs: Three seniors and one junior were selected captains this season by a vote of their teammates. Distance runner Todd Arnold and pole vaulter Brad Walker are captains on the men's side, while a pair of school-record holders - Kameko Gay in the hammer and Courtney Inman in the mile - lead the women.
Queen of the Mile: It seems impossible, but for the past two seasons, senior Courtney Inman has been setting school records nearly every time she steps on the track. Currently, Inman ranks second among all Canadian women in 2003 in the 1,500 meters, the event in which she will compete at this week's NCAA Championships. Inman, however, also excels at 800 meters, where she is ranked fifth nationally among Canadian women in 2003. At this year's Pac-10 Championships, Inman placed third with a time of 4:15.14 that was two seconds below her personal best, and was the seventh-fastest time in Pac-10 history. Unfortunately for Inman, the race also featured two other record-setting times, all three below the Pac-10 meet record. Just two hours later, Inman rocketed up to third in the 2003 Athletics Canada Rankings in the 800 meters with a third-place time of 2:05.97, becoming in the process just the second UW woman to run the 800m in under 2:06. At last week's NCAA West Regional meet, Inman opted to focus on the 1,500 meters and placed third overall to earn her fourth NCAA Championships invitation of the last two years. That streak includes a pair of NCAA indoor appearances, as the Abbotsford, B.C., native has been just as dominant during the winter season. In 2003, she calmly shaved five seconds off her own school record in the mile, while lowering to 4:40.24 a record which stood as high as 4:48.36 barely a year ago. Inman then focused on Sarah Bolender's indoor 800-meter record of 2:11.06 and, on her first try, lowered that mark to 2:10.56, before taking off another two seconds with a time of 2:08.39 at the Mar. 8 Last Chance Qualifier. Inman placed ninth in the mile at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, was the 14th-place finisher in the event a year ago, and took 10th in the 1,500 meters at the 2002 NCAA outdoor meet. Inman also excels at longer distances, having earned All-Pac-10 cross-country honors in 2002, and led all Husky finishers at the 2002 NCAA cross-country meet. Inman also excels academically, having earned second-team Verizon Academic All-District VIII honors this season. Following are Athletics Canada's 2003 rankings for both the 800- and 1,500-meter runs, updated through events of June 5.
2003 Athletics Canada 1,500-meter Rankings
Name, Location, Mark
1. Lauren King, Atlanta, Ga., 4:14.72
2. Courtney Inman, Los Angeles, Calif., 4:15.14
3. Malindi Elmore, Palo Alto, Calif., 4:17.15
4. Kate Vermeulen, Victoria, B.C., 4:18.09
5. Hillary Edmondson, Columus, Ohio, 4:19.03
6. Carol Henry, Harrisonburg, Va., 4:19.32
7. Megan Metcalfe, Harrisonburg, Va., 4:21.37
8. Rebecca Stallwood, Harrisonburg, Va., 4:22.46
9. Tracy Robertson-Frack, Azusa, Calif., 4:26.40
10. Heather Lee, Durham, N.C., 4:28.13
2003 Athletics Canada 800-meter Rankings
Name, Location, Mark
1. Diane Cummins, Eugene, Ore., 1:59.41
2. Heather Hennigar, Seattle, Wash., 2:02.91
3. Jennifer Kemp, East Fairfax, Va., 2:05.09
4. Vicky Lynch-Pounds, Tuscon, Ariz., 2:05.68
5. Courtney Inman, Los Angeles, Calif., 2:05.97
6. Hilary Edmondson, Madison, Wisc., 2:06.88
7. Malindi Elmore, Los Angeles, Calif., 2:07.00
8. Aimee Teteris, West Lincoln, Neb., 2:07.01
9. Carmen Douma-Hussar, Philadelphia, Pa., 2:07.04
10. Melina Thibodeau, Richmond, B.C., 2:07.06
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight...: ... it's the size of the fight in the dog. Sophomore pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0', but the Portland, Ore., native towers over all UW female vaulters, past and present. Soma is the only Husky woman ever to clear 13 feet in the pole vault, having done so both indoors and outdoors. In fact, only five UW women have ever cleared 12 feet in the event, a feat Soma has accomplished in 24 of her 29-career pole vault finishes, including the 2003 NCAA Indoor meet, where she placed 12th. The meet marked the second NCAA appearance for Soma, who was the 16th-place finisher at the 2002 NCAA outdoor meet. Soma made her biggest mark at last week's NCAA West Regional Championships, clearing 13 feet, 10 inches to break her own Washington record by more than eight inches. The mark was the sixth-best in Pac-10 history, and moved the sophomore nearly a foot ahead of every other female vaulter in Washington history. The sixth-place finisher at the 2003 Pac-10 meet, and second-place finisher at the Regional, Soma enters this week's NCAA Championships ranked fifth nationally. Heading the field of four ahead of Soma is Oregon's Becky Holliday, who set a collegiate record of 14-8 in the pole vault to defeat Soma at the Regional. At the Mar. 1 Pac-10 Invitational, Soma broke her own indoor school record with a clearance of 13-3 3/4 that is also nearly a foot beyond the UW's all-time second-best mark. As a freshman, Soma notched a school-record clearance of 13-1 1/2 outdoors, and added 11 inches to the UW's indoor best with a mark of 12-11 1/2.
Back on Track: Senior Sabrina Monro set the national track and field community abuzz with her 2001 cross country season, winning four consecutive races including course-record runs at the Sundodger Invitational and the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis. Leading the pack midway through the 2001 Pac-10 Championship race, Monro suffered a foot injury that forced her to drop out of the race, and allowed her to compete sporadically during the 2002 track season. In her only indoor race of the year, however, Monro showed that even at 75 percent she is better than most, cruising to an indoor UW record of 9:32.28 in the 3,000m. Now healthy for the first time since the fall of 2001, Monro has been on a tear this spring, crushing the UW indoor 5,000-meter record by 11 seconds, and moving up to second all-time outdoors at 5K and 10K. The third-place finisher in the 10,000 meters and fourth-place runner at 5,000 meters at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, Monro enters the NCAA Championships at full strength for the first time since a runner-up finish at the 2000 NCAA Cross-Country Championships. A native of Montana City, Mont., Monro competed for Montana for two years, winning both the Big Sky Conference cross-country title, and the league's 1,500-meter crown.
Garnering Acclaim: While 31 Huskies may have met the NCAA qualifying standards in 2003, only one achieved the feat three times over. Junior Eric Garner, who burst onto the scene in 2002 with a school-record 3:58.93 mile at Dempsey Indoor, was UW's most prolific postseason qualifier, boasting NCAA Regional marks at 800-, 1,500-, and 5,000 meters. A graduate of Kelso (Wash.) High School, Garner placed third in the 1,500 meters at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, and earned an NCAA berth with a fourth-place finish in event at the Regional. It will be the second NCAA appearance for Garner, who placed 13th in the mile at the 2002 NCAA indoor meet.
Russell Rebounds: He may have been out of action for over two years, but if his performances over the past month are any indication, junior John Russell hasn't lost any of the speed that led him to a fourth-place finish as a freshman in the 1,500 meters at the 2000 Pac-10 Championships. Touted as the next great Husky distance runner after that exciting debut season, in which he also cracked the school's all-time top-10 indoors in the mile and placed 13th in the U.S. Junior National Cross-Country Championships, Russell had his 2001 track season wiped out entirely by tendonitis, a condition that also kept him out of action during the 2001 cross-country and 2002 track seasons. The Spokane, Wash., native finally returned to competition during the fall of 2002, and steadily improved throughout the fall and winter seasons. By April's Oregon Invitational, Russell was rolling, clocking a time of 3:44.65 in the 1,500 meters to earn a Pac-10 and NCAA Regional qualifying mark. In addition to setting aside questions of lost speed, the junior showed at the Pac-10 meet that he had lost none of his tenacity, fighting through a physical race to take sixth. Finally, Russell completed his comeback with an outstanding run at the Regional, placing fifth to earn his first-ever NCAA Championships appearance. In all, Russell was off the track for 22 months, missing two full seasons of track, and one full season of cross-country.
Mile Mayhem: Washington's 1,500-meter runners have littered the national collegiate rankings for years, but the group's performance at the Apr. 12 Pepsi Team Invitational may rank as one of the most impressive. Eric Garner, John Russell and Jeremy Park swept the top three spots in the men's event, while Jon Hickey placed seventh, all bettering the NCAA standard. In the women's race, Lindsey Egerdahl earned an NCAA qualifier and Camille Connelly and Kathryn Touran each posted Pac-10 qualifying times. That's seven postseason qualifiers in one event at the same meet. They joined NCAA qualifiers Courtney Inman and Andy Fader, and Pac-10 qualifiers Todd Arnold and Angela Wishaar to form a team of 11 UW 1,500m runners who have already begun to dominate in the postseason. At last week's Pac-10 meet, UW placed three athletes among the top-seven in the men's 1,500-meter run, and scored two runners in women's 1,500, including a third-place performance by Courtney Inman that was seventh-fastest in Pac-10 history.
Husky Greats Give Back: Looking for an explanation for the Huskies' success in the javelin this season? Look no further than 1984 U.S. Olympian Duncan Atwood, who has volunteered his time to his alma mater this season, working with first-year assistant coach Bud Rasmussen. Atwood, however, is just one of the former Husky greats lending their expertise to an eager group of UW collegians. Four-time Pac-10 sprints champion Ja'Warren Hooker has been taking time off from the professional track circuit to mentor Washington's up-and-coming sprinters, volunteering his assistance to first-year assistant coach Dion Miller. The results speak for themselves: so far in 2003, four UW javelin throwers have qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships, while the Husky sprinters have seen improvement across the board. Atwood and Hooker join first-year head coach Greg Metcalf, a two-time steeplechase All-American at UW and a participant at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials, as well as two-time Husky All-American David Bazzi, now a UW assistant coach.
20 Years of Spear Success: From Fred Luke and Duncan Atwood, to Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo, Washington has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the javelin. Since 1982, when women's track and field joined the NCAA, the Huskies have sent at least one competitor in the javelin to all but three NCAA Championships, a span that will be extended to 22 years when Heather Reichmann makes her first throw during Wednesday's preliminary flights. The list of UW javelin greats includes four Pac-10 Champions (Uusitalo -- 1987, Roberson -- 1988-89, Troy Burkholder -- 1996), one NCAA champion (Uusitalo -- 1986) and a U.S. Olympian (Atwood -- 1984). In all, three different Huskies have thrown the javelin for the U.S. at the Olympic Games and three more have earned NCAA titles. In UW history, no event has featured more separate NCAA champions than javelin's three, with only the four hammer throw titles won by Scott Neilson eclipsing the UW's success in the spear. This year's crop is no exception, with four Huskies qualifying for the NCAA Regional Championships at the first meet of the 2003 season, and three scoring at the Pac-10 Championships. Reichmann earned her fourth-straight top-10 Pac-10 finish, owns the school record with the newer implement and will be making her NCAA Championships debut this week. Redshirting senior Megan Spriestersbach boasts NCAA experience, and freshman Tiffany Zahn, an NCAA Regional qualifier this season, placed fourth at the 2003 Pac-10 meet. Junior Seth Jens and sophomores Rigel Wise both boast top-10 career Pac-10 finishes, and were joined by Juan Romero as NCAA Regional qualifiers in 2003.
Triple Threat: Junior triple jumper Brittiny Roberts entered rare air on Feb. 15 when she leapt 41-4 1/4 at the UW Invitational, nearly 10 inches farther than the Huskies' previous indoor best. She did herself one better, though, at March's Stanford Invitational, clearing 41-4 1/2 to leapfrog Michele Davis into second on the UW's all-time outdoor list. Roberts' success should come as no surprise, given that her cousin, U.S. track legend Ralph Boston, won the gold medal in the long jump at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Maybe Roberts learned a thing or two from Boston - in addition to the triple jump, she leads all Huskies outdoors in both the high and long jumps. At last week's NCAA West Regional meet, the Fresno, Calif., native earned a return trip to her home state with a third-place finish in the triple jump that guaranteed Roberts a spot at the 2003 NCAA Championships. The junior, who finished just 3/4 of an inch out of the lead with a mark of 41-4 1/4 at the Regional, is making an assault on the school outdoor record of 41-7 3/4 set by Tara Davis in 1995. Prior to 2003, Roberts had already joined an elite class of triple jumpers, clearing 40-8 3/4 in a fourth-place finish at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships to rank third all-time at UW. Roberts is one of just six Huskies - including teammate Sidney Brown - to cover 40 feet in the triple jump outdoors, and one of just three to accomplish the feat indoors.
Triple Double: Teammates Brittiny Roberts and Sidney Brown are, in 2003, the first UW women's tandem ever to triple-jump 40 feet in the same season, with Roberts' best of 41-4 1/2 ranking second all-time at Washington, and Brown's 40-1 1/4 the UW's sixth-best mark. For perspective, only three UW women in the entire decade of the 1990s ever reached 40 feet in the event, and only six (including Roberts and Brown) have done it at Washington all-time.
Arnold Steps Up: To say that junior Todd Arnold went from not qualifying for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships to instead qualifying for the NCAA Championships is remarkable, but does not tell the whole story. One of the Huskies' top runners throughout the 2002 cross-country and 2003 indoor track and field seasons, Arnold seemed poised for a breakout campaign this spring. Needing a mark of 1:51.44 to qualify for the postseason at 800 meters, the Ocosta, Wash., native lowered his half-mile best consistently, from 1:56 at the season-opener, to 1:52 and 1:51.68. Amazingly, Arnold was able to lower his mark yet again, to 1:51.50 at the season-ending Ken Foreman Invitational, but was still unable to crack the Pac-10 standard. Recognizing his consistent improvement, head coach Greg Metcalf designated Arnold one of two 'wildcard' selections for the Pac-10 Championships, given to each team to bring athletes who did not otherwise qualify. Arnold rewarded his coach's faith with a personal-best in the 800-meter prelim, clocking 1:50.00 to not only earn a spot in the finals, but also a berth at the 2003 NCAA West Regional. A seventh-place finish in the Pac-10 final could have been a well-deserved reward for Arnold's determination, but the junior had bigger plans. Seeded 10th overall in the event at the Regional, Arnold qualified for the final but was shuffled back of the pack after starting in the outside lane. As was the case all season, however, Arnold refused to give up, charging to fourth on the backstretch and holding on for the automatic NCAA berth. A team captain in 2003, Arnold will make his NCAA debut Wednesday.
Ridiculous Records: Washington's track and field athletes in 2003 rendered the indoor school records section of the Huskies' Track and Field Media Guide completely obsolete, posting no fewer than 38 marks among the top-10 in school history. Included among the top-10 marks were a whopping eight school records, or one more than Husky athletes set in 2001 and 2002, combined. Senior Jeremy Park had a hand in two such records, as did senior Courtney Inman. Inman was one of twelve Huskies to post top-10 marks in multiple events, with sophomore Sean Williams notching five top-10 marks, including relays.
Resourceful Recruiting: Washington's coaches in 2003 found a creative way to add numerous elite athletes to the squad without having to give up any scholarships - cull the most talented athletes from the UW's other sports. This season's Husky roster, therefore, features nine players from the Husky football team, one UW gymnast, and one better known for her exploits on the basketball court. Four of the UW football players led the team in their events and three - freshman tailback Shelton Sampson, sophomore cornerback Roc Alexander and safety James Sims- were Pac-10 qualifiers, in the sprints and jumps, with Sampson a double-qualifier. Former Husky basketball player and school-record javelin thrower Heather Reichmann qualified for the NCAA Championships, while redshirt freshman gymnast Carly Dockendorf placed eighth in the pole vault at the 2003 Pac-10 meet, just her third-ever UW competition. Those five are joined on the UW roster by wide receivers Reggie Williams and Matt Williams, cornerbacks Matt Fountaine and Derrick Johnson, tailback Chris Singleton and former UW linebacker Will Conwell, the latter of whom is redshirting the 2003 season.
You Might Recall: While the 11 athletes on the roster from sports other than track or cross-country are more than Washington has had in recent years, the practice of mining athletic talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for the Husky track and field squad in the past. In fact, a glance at Washington's career top-10 charts reveals numerous outstanding two-sport performers, including 110m hurdles record-holder Spider Gaines, a tailback for the UW football team in the 1970s, and sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, the UW record-holder at 100m, 200m, and 400m and a Husky wide receiver from 1997-98. Other names which highlight the list include football players Ernie Conwell (No. 5, shot put), Dana Hall (No. 3, 110m HH), Sterling Hinds (No. 3, 100m/200m), Pete Kaligis (No. 6, shot put), Orlando McKay (No.2, 400m), Brent Merritt (No. 5, 400m) and Tony Parrish (No. 5, triple jump). That's not to say that multi-sport success is limited just to the football team. Former UW All-American volleyball star Makare Desilets boasts the school's fifth-best high jump mark, while basketball standout Tara Davis is the school-record holder in the triple jump, and ranks second all-time in the long jump. And, of course, current Husky and former hoopster Heather Reichmann is the school's all-time record-holder in the javelin (new implement). This list doesn't even include Huskies Herman Brix and Paul Jessup, who starred for Washington's football teams in the 1920s before establishing world records in the shot put and discus, respectively.
Fast Facts: Washington's nine competitors traveling to the 2003 NCAA Championships are more than double the four Husky athletes who competed at the 2002 meet ... only three of the nine boast previous NCAA outdoor experience, including senior Courtney Inman, senior Kate Bradshaw and sophomore Kate Soma.
World-Class Walker: A broken hand two weeks ago ended the 2003 season for Husky senior Brad Walker, but it also brought to a a close one of the most remarkable 12-month spans by any U.S. collegian. The year started when the two-time Pac-10 champion cleared 18-6 in a sixth-place finish at the USA Senior Nationals last June. After his performance at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, however, one had to go beyond the collegiate ranks to find anyone who could compete with the Spokane, Wash., native. Walker's clearance of 19-0 1/4 at the NCAAs was better than all but two indoor marks in the world in 2003, and equaled the winning mark at the 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Walker, who won the NCAA title by nearly nine inches, finished the indoor season tied for third in the world with American Derek Miles and Romain Mesnil of France, and tied Miles for the U.S. best. Walker crushed his own UW record by more than six inches, and became the first Pac-10 vaulter ever to clear the 19-foot mark, shattering by three inches the Pac-10 record of 18-9 1/4 set by Stanford's Toby Stevenson.
2003 IAAF World Rankings (Through 6/1)
Name, Country, Mark
1. Tim Lobinger, Germany, 19-1
1. Derek Miles, United States, 19-1
3. Adam Ptacek, Czech Republic, 19-0 3/4
4. Brad Walker, United States, 19-0 1/4
4. Okert Brits, South Africa, 19-0 1/4
4. Romain Mesnil, France, 19-0 1/4
7. Timothy Mack, United States, 18-10 1/4
7. Rens Blom, Netherlands, 18-10 1/4
7. Russ Buller, United States, 18-10 1/4
7. Aleksandr Korchmyd, Ukraine, 18-10 1/4
7. Toby Stevenson, United States, 18-10 1/4
7. Michael Stolle, Germany, 18-10 1/4
All-Time Collegiate Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Lawrence Johnson, Tennessee, 1996, 19-7 1/2
2. Istvan Bagyula, George Mason, 1991, 19-5
3. Jacob Davis, Texas, 1998, 19-4 1/4
4. Bill Payne, Baylor, 1991, 19-2 3/4
5. Joe Dial, Oklahoma State, 1985, 19-2 1/4
6. Brad Walker, Washington, 2003, 19-0 1/4
6. Russ Buller, Louisiana State, 1999, 19-0 1/4
6. Jim Davis, Fresno State, 2000, 19-0 1/4
9. Doug Fraley, Fresno State, 1986, 18-11
10. Jeff Buckingham, Kansas, 1983, 18-10 1/2
Walker's Steady Climb: Walker initially enrolled at Washington as a non-scholarship athlete who never cleared 17 feet at University High School in Spokane. He blossomed during his sophomore season, improving by more than a foot en route to an All-American indoor campaign. An undiagnosed foot injury hampered Walker outdoors, but he still finished 12th at the NCAA Championships before undergoing surgery. After redshirting the 2002 indoor season, Walker posted one of the top outdoor seasons in UW history, shattering the UW pole vault record and earning Washington's first Pac-10 pole vault title in 30 years. A second-place finish at the NCAA Championships and the sixth-place finish at the USA Senior Nationals followed. This season, Walker upped the school record again, to 19-0 1/4 with his performance at the NCAA Indoor meet, broke his own outdoor record in his first competition, and won his second-straight Pac-10 title. Walker has exhausted his outdoor eligibility, but will return to Washington for the 2004 indoor season.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: Freshman football/basketball star Nate Robinson may be Washington's most celebrated two-sport athlete in 2003, but even he didn't try to compete in two sports at once. That's was the feat accomplished by Port Moody, B.C., native Carly Dockendorf, a star for the Husky gymnastics team who in just four official UW competitions pole vaulted her way to second all-time at Washington, and fourth in all of Canada this season. A redshirt freshman, Dockendorf has improved weekly, culminating with an eighth-place finish at this year's Pac-10 Championships, in 12-11 1/2, that trails only Kate Soma in Husky history. The weekend of Mar. 1, though, may have marked the most impressive display of Dockendorf's athletic ability. On Friday, Feb. 28, with the gymnasts needing a big performance from Dockendorf to extend an undefeated home season, the redshirt freshman scored a perfect 10 on the floor exercise, just the sixth perfect 10 in UW history. Barely 12 hours later, Dockendorf pulled on her track spikes and soared 12-feet, zero inches in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Indoor Track Invitational, a mark which would have ranked fifth all-time in UW history. This season, she established herself as one of Washington's top gymnasts, earning All-America honors while tallying three perfect 10s on the floor, including at the Pac-10 Championships, where she shared the conference crown. A provincial pole vault champion as a prep, Dockendorf's 2003 best of 12-11 1/2 is tied for fourth by a Canadian woman this season, remarkable given that the redshirt freshman has only officially vaulted three times in her UW career. Following is a list of the top-10 pole vault performances by Canadian women this season, through June 5:
2003 Athletics Canada Women's Rankings
Name, Location, Mark
1. Stephanie McCann, Los Angeles, Calif., 13-11 1/4
2. Dana Ellis, Walnut, Calif., 13-9 1/4
3. Kelsie Hendry, Saskatoon, Sask., 13-7 3/4
4. Simona Kovacs, Columbus, Ohio, 13-2 1/4
5. Carly Dockendorf, Los Angeles, 12-11 1/2
5. Jackie Honey, Tampa, Fla., 12-11 1/2
7. Karla McGee, Pullman, Wash., 12-5 1/2
8. Kristin Hagel, Saskatoon, Sask., 12-1 1/2
8. Tanya Krynen, Windsor, Ont., 12-1 1/2
10. Theresea Wiebe, Saskatoon, Sask., 12-0 1/2
10. Karolina Nieznalska, Saskatoon, Sask., 12-0 1/2
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's coaching staff in 2003 is in no way short on accolades. Seventh-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed three All-Americans, including Pac-10 and NCAA champion Brad Walker. First-year throws coach Bud Rasmussen founded the prestigious Iron Wood Thrower Development Camp, and in seven years at North Idaho College mentored 82 NJCAA All-Americans, 18 national champions and five NJCAA record holders. First-year sprints/relays coach Dion Miller last year led Texas Tech sprinters to 13 All-America accolades, and a Big 12 title in the 4x100-meter relay. Second-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is first-year distance coach Kelly MacDonald, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles. The full-timers are joined by UW legends and volunteer coaches Duncan Atwood and Ja'Warren Hooker.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his first year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his sixth year overall on the UW coaching staff. In five seasons as a Husky assistant, Metcalf led the women's cross-country team to five-straight NCAA appearances, including a Husky-best ninth-place finish in 1998. Metcalf has coached eight All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 13 school-record setters and 62 NCAA qualifiers. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeplechase, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic trials.
2003 NCAA Indoor Championships Recap: Without a doubt, the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships were nearly a perfect finish to an outstanding indoor season for the University of Washington track and field teams. Senior Brad Walker backed up his No. 1 ranking in the pole vault, earning Washington's 25th-ever NCAA individual title with a vault of 19-feet, 0 1/4 inches that is the best-ever by a Pac-10 vaulter, third-best in the world in 2003, and tied for sixth-best in NCAA history. Senior Jeremy Park earned All-American honors with a 13th-place finish in the 3,000 meters, helping lead the Husky men to a tie for 20th overall at the meet. Senior Courtney Inman placed ninth overall in the mile, and sophomore Kate Soma was the 12th finisher in the pole vault, each improving their finishes from the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Top-ranked Arkansas ran away with the men's title, while LSU defended its indoor crown on the women's side.
2003 Indoor Season Recap: The 2003 indoor season will long be remembered as one of the most exciting in UW history, with school records, American records, and top-10 world marks falling left and right. In all, eight school records were set during the team's five weeks of competition at Dempsey Indoor, including a pair of records by Courtney Inman in the 800m and mile runs. At the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, Inman was a top-10 finisher in the mile, Jeremy Park earned All-American honors at 3,000 meters, and pole vaulter Brad Walker won his first NCAA title, crushing the competition by nine inches. Walker's mark of 19 feet, 0 1/4 inch was three inches beyond the Pac-10 record, and tied for third in the world during the 2003 indoor season. In fact, a glance at the 2003 IAAF World Rankings reveals dozens of marks set on the Dempsey Indoor track. As many as 2,500 spectators packed the facility each week, creating a highly-charged atmosphere that attracted such luminaries as two-time Olympic medalist John Godina, and fellow Olympians Seilala Sua, Bolota Asmeron, Michael Stember and Ja'Warren Hooker. Also, a pair of Masters' Division athletes, Tony Young and Harold Morioka, combined for three all-time U.S.-best marks, while the Northwest's top preps filled the facility on three weekends.
Dempsey Indoor: The 80,000-square foot home of Husky indoor track opened in September of 2001 to rave reviews. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. Already in 2003, Dempsey Indoor has played host to five former Olympians and witnessed five top-10 world marks, three top all-time U.S. marks (though not officially records), eight UW indoor school records and dozens of NCAA-qualifying marks. In addition to its competitive use, the building is utilized as an indoor practice facility for Washington's football, softball, baseball and men's and women's soccer teams, and is considered one of the premier indoor facilities on the West Coast. The facility is named for California businessman Neal Dempsey, a 1964 Washington graduate. Dempsey and his wife, Janet, made the largest individual contribution ever to the University in January of 2001. The Dempseys announced a gift of $10 million to be split between the School of Business' 'Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation' and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Dempsey Indoor Draws World's Best: If Washington's home indoor meets this season seemed to shimmer in gold, it was likely due to the numerous current and former Olympians who highlighted the fields at Dempsey Indoor. The Feb. 1 Husky Invitational featured four Olympic athletes, including former Husky and 2000 U.S. Olympian Ja'Warren Hooker, who set a facility record in the 60m dash with a time of 6.63 seconds. Hooker was joined by fellow U.S. Olympians John Godina and Seilala Sua, and distance runner Bolota Asmeron, who competed in 2000 for his native Eritrea. Godina, a two-time Olympic medalist, heaved the shot 65-6 3/4 in a winning effort, while Sua took the women's shot with a throw of 56-8, besting her own facility record. Asmeron, however, highlighted the competition, clocking the world's sixth-fastest indoor 3,000-meter time of the 2003 season with a mark of 7:49.68 which, at the time it was run, was the world's best this season. Also, 2000 Olympian Michael Stember set a facility record in the mile at the UW Invitational.
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