Cross-Country Welcomes Fresh Faces for Emerald City Invite

Sept. 5, 2003

Following is the third in a three-part series previewing the 2003 Washington cross-country season, leading up to Saturday's debut at the Emerald City Invitational at Woodland Park.

Wednesday: Men's captains Todd Arnold and Ben Koss preview the 2003 UW men's season.
Thursday: Women's captains Lindsey Egerdahl and Camille Connelly preview the 2003 UW women's season.
Friday: A closer look at the athletes comprising what head coach Greg Metcalf calls perhaps the top recruiting class in UW history.

When Washington's cross-country teams make their debuts on Saturday at the annual season-opening Emerald City Invitational at Woodland Park, fans of Husky cross-country may not recognize some of the faces at the front of the pack.

Entering his second season as head coach of track and field and cross-country, Greg Metcalf has assembled perhaps the finest collection of talent ever to arrive at the University of Washington in the same year.

Metcalf and assistant coach Kelly MacDonald's recruiting talents focused heavily on the women's team, where only three of the top-seven runners from 2002 return. Among those who must be replaced are 1,500-meter school-record holder Courtney Inman, 2000 Pac-10 10,000-meter champ Kate Bradshaw and steeplechase school-record holder Kate Spigel.

The tone in recruiting was set early for Washington, however, when three-time Oklahoma state cross-country champion Brianna McLeod (Jenks, Okla./Jenks HS) announced that she would be running in purple and gold this fall. Named All-American by Nike, Verizon and Harrier Magazine, McLeod followed up her commitment with an outstanding senior track season, giving Husky fans a glimpse of what they can expect from the talented freshman. McLeod captured her fifth state championship and took third in the 3,000 meters at the U.S. Junior National Championships, a distance at which she ranked sixth in the nation among prep females in 2003.

Joining McLeod on the front lines for Washington will be sophomore transfer Ingvill Makestad (Odda, Norway/Odda Vidaregaende Skole), the reigning Norwegian national champion at 800 meters. After capturing her nation's crown in the half-mile this year, Makestad traveled to Poland for the European Under-23 Championships, taking fourth in the 1,500 meters in a career-best time of 4:13.58. Add to that a career-best 800-meter mark of 2:04.99, and Makestad already boasts bests in two events that would rank among the top-three in UW history.

Metcalf and McDonald searched far and wide for McLeod and Makestad, but had only to look across Lake Washington for their next outstanding catch, Bellevue (Wash.) High School grad Marie Foushee. Foushee captured the 2002 class 3A state cross-country title, and swept the 1,600- and 3,200-meter events at the 2003 state track championships. In four years, Foushee never finished below sixth in an individual event at the state track meet, was never below 10th in cross-country.

California native Dallon Williams (Turlock, Calif./Turlock) likewise dominated the prep ranks, earning cross-country All-American honors in 2002 before sweeping through the 2003 track regular season undefeated at 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters. She has also found success in the triathlon, with two national age-group titles to her name.

Those four are joined by a super-talented group of women including two-time state 1,600-meter champion Kira Harrison (Bellingham, Wash./Meridian HS), two-time KingCo cross-country champ Amy Lia (Bothell, Wash./Bothell) and four-time all-state cross-country honoree Kelsey McCallum (Edmonds, Wash./Edmonds-Woodway).

While the graduation of so many outstanding seniors may have caused the coaches to focus much of their attention on the women's team, the men's team certainly did not go neglected.

In Auburn, Wash., native Carl Moe (Auburn-Riverside HS), Metcalf landed the type of talent that can make or break an entire class. The nephew of former Husky distance runner Marjan Howard, Moe won the 2002 state 4A cross-country championships before embarking on one of the most impressive track seasons in state history. Moe won all but one race in which competed in 2003, sweeping through the regular season en route to a state title at 1,600 meters, in a time of 4:05.09 that was just one second shy of the state record. Moe made up for that near-miss at the Arcadia Invitational, shattering the state record at 3,200 meters with a time of 8:48.04, the third-fastest by any prep runner in the nation in 2003. Moe's exploits earned him state Athlete of the Year honors from Gatorade, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Tacoma News-Tribune.

While Moe is the only freshman expected to compete right away, transfer Stig Ellingson (Oslo, Norway/B.I. Norwegian School of Management) could be in the mix as well. Norway's reigning 800-meter champion, Ellingson boasts a best mark of 1:49 in the event that would rank among the fastest in UW history.

Moe and Ellingson are joined by native Washingtonian Tim Freeman (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge Island HS). Freeman won the 800-meter run at the state 3A championships this spring, and was the runner-up in the event in 2002. Last March, Freeman competed against some of the nation's top collegiate athletes at the NCAA Last Chance Qualifier at Dempsey Indoor, taking 11th in the 800 meters in a career-best time of 1:52.16.

Another in the talented pool of newcomers competing for starting spots will be Californian Brad Liber (San Diego, Calif./University City HS), the CIF champ at 3,200 meters in 2002. Liber placed eighth at the 2002 CIF Cross Country Championships, and was the 1,600- and 3,200-meter titlist at the 2003 San Diego Section Championships.

Rounding out the list of men's signees are third-generation Husky Curtis Easton (Kenmore, Wash./Inglemoor HS), 2002 state cross-country runner-up Adam Shimer (Edmonds, Wash./Meadowdale) and 2002 state cross-country champion Ryan Thomas (Marysville, Wash./Lakewood), all of whom boast the talent to be major contributors for the Huskies down the road.

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