25th-Ranked UW Women Take on Nation's Best at Notre Dame

Oct. 1, 2003

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On the Course: Washington's 25th-ranked women's cross country team takes its undefeated record on the road Friday for the first time this season, traveling to South Bend, Ind., to face the nation's top teams at the Notre Dame Invitational. Joining Washington in the Women's Blue Division race, scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. PDT, are many of the nation's top-ranked teams, including No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 17 Penn State, No. 20 Wake Forest, No. 35 California and No. 37 Duke.

Notre Dame Invitational Meet Schedule
Women's Gold Race: 2 p.m. PT
Men's Gold Race: 12:45 p.m. PT
Women's Blue Race: 2:15 p.m. PT
Men's Blue Race: 3:00 p.m. PT

Expected to Run: Following is a list of 11 runners, of whom 10 will compete at Friday's Notre Dame Invitational. Runners are listed in order of finish from last weekend's Sundodger Invitational:

Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Amy Lia, Fr., Bothell, Wash. (Bothell)
Lindsey Egerdahl, Jr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn)
Laura Hodgson, So., Spokane, Wash. (North Central)
Marie Foushee, Fr., Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue)
Brianna McLeod, Fr., Jenks, Okla. (Jenks)
Dallon Williams, Fr., Turlock, Calif. (Turlock)
Laura Halverson, Jr., Mica, Wash. (Freeman)
Kathryn Touran, Jr., Petoskey, Mich. (Petoskey)
Camille Connelly, Jr., Marysville, Wash. (Marysville)
Kira Harrison, Fr., Bellingham, Wash. (Meridian)
Jamie Gibbs, Jr., Arvada, Colo. (Arvada)

Meet Results: Complete results of the Notre Dame Invitational will be posted online at the official site of Notre Dame athletics, www.und.com. A full recap of the Women's Blue Race, featuring the University of Washington, will be posted online to www.gohuskies.com no later than 6 p.m. PDT.

Meet History: Washington's women will be making their second trip to Notre Dame in as many years. Last year, senior Courtney Inman led the UW women to an impressive fourth-place finish, trailing only Stanford, Wisconsin and Notre Dame, two of whom ranked among the nation's top-five at the time of the race. Inman placed 11th in the race, and was joined in the top-25 by seniors Kate Bradshaw and Kate Spigel, who placed 21st and 22nd, respectively. Of the athletes who will be returning to South Bend with the UW squad this season, junior Lindsey Egerdahl was the top finisher, crossing the line 32nd overall, and fourth among Huskies.

Peak Performer: Her 34th-place finish may not have made the headlines of the local papers, but Sayaka Yoshinaga's run at Saturday's Sundodger Invitational was among the most impressive of the day for Washington. The sophomore shaved a remarkable 44 seconds off of her 5K cross country PR by crossing the line in 18:33. That's a significant improvement from 2002, when Yoshinaga placed 75th at the Sundodger, in 19:23.

Sundodger Success: For the first time since the 2000 season, Washington's cross country teams swept the team titles at Saturday's Sundodger Invitational at Lincoln Park. Former Husky Margaret Butler ran away with the women's invitational title in 16:52, while the Husky women placed nine runners in the top-20 to earn a meet-low 41 points, ahead of Idaho (58), Portland (62) and Oregon (92). Freshman Amy Lia was the UW's top finisher, placing seventh in 17:26, while junior Lindsey Egerdahl was one second behind, in eighth. The Husky men, meanwhile, easily handled their competition, matching the UW women with nine runners in the top-20 while earning 27 points, well ahead of Eastern Washington (96) and Portland State (100). Senior Eric Garner assumed the lead for the Huskies, placing third in 24:10, while redshirt freshman Travis Boyd was fifth in 24:23.

Rankings Report: Victories at the Sundodger Invitational moved both UW squads up in this week's national rankings, with the women climbing five spots to 25th, and the men gaining 12 positions to rank 32nd. The top-25 ranking is the first for the UW women this season, who were last ranked in the top-25 entering the 2002 NCAA Championships. Washington's women earned 82 points in the FinishLynx Women's Cross-Country Rankings, up from 30 a week ago, and trail only No. 4 Arizona State, No. 7 UCLA and No. 9 Stanford among West Region teams. BYU held on to the top spot with 385 points and 10 first-place votes, but Notre Dame closed in, taking three first-place votes away from the Cougars to move up to second with 373 points. The Husky men improved 23 points to 24 in this week's MONDO Men's Cross-Country Rankings, leaping 12 spots to 32nd, its highest ranking since early in the 2002 season. Stanford earned 14 of a possible 16 first-place votes for a score of 478 and the No. 1 ranking overall, while Wisconsin garnered the remaining No. 1 votes and a No. 2 national ranking, scoring 466 points.

Captains: Seniors Todd Arnold and Ben Koss, and juniors Camille Connelly and Lindsey Egerdahl will serve as captains in 2003. The honor is the second in a row for Arnold, and the first for Koss, Connelly and Egerdahl.

Freshmen Gems: Perhaps it's fitting that Washington debuted its freshman class at the Sept. 6 Emerald City Invitational, because the newcomers certainly proved themselves jewels. With a victory in her UW debut, Brianna McLeod became just the third true freshman ever to win a race at Washington, while redshirt freshman Travis Boyd ran away with the men's event. Prior to McLeod, the only Huskies ever to win a race in their first season at Washington were 2002 Emerald City champ Laura Hodgson and 1981 NCAA Champion Regina Joyce, who won the 1980 NCWSA Region IX Championship. A native of Jenks, Okla., McLeod earned prep All-America honors as a senior in both track and cross country, ranking as high as sixth in the nation at 3200m. Boyd, a Mukilteo (Wash.) High School grad, redshirted the 2002 cross country season at UW but was terrific on the track, clocking the 10th-fastest indoor 5000m time in UW history. The two were joined in the top-10 at the Emerald City by true freshmen Kira Harrison (8th) and Brad Liber (5th), and redshirt freshman Matt Franck (10th). Just three weeks later, freshman Amy Lia led all UW finishers with a seventh-place performance at the Sundodger Invitational, while first-year runner Carl Moe ran seventh on the men's squad. As many as seven freshmen could conceivably run in Washington's top-seven this fall, including McLeod, Harrison, Lia, Marie Foushee and Dallon Williams on the women's side, and Boyd and Moe for the UW men.

Scandinavian Invasion: If you happened to be at the Norweigian Track and Field Championships this summer, you may recognize some of the new faces on the Husky roster this season. Washington boasts the odd coincidence of having both of Norway's reigning 800m champions competing in purple and gold this fall, including women's champ Ingvill Makestad and men's champ Stig Ellingson. Makestad, a junior, followed up her 800m national title with a fourth-place finish in the 1500m at the Under-23 European Championships in Poland, clocking a career-best time of 4:13.58. That time, if duplicated, would rank third all-time at Washington, behind only Courtney Inman and Regina Joyce. Both Makestad and Ellingson, a native of Oslo, have competed for several years on the European amateur circuit, and will have at least two years of collegiate eligibility remaining.

Swiss Miss: While most Huskies wrapped up their cross country seasons last fall, sophomore Laura Hodgson carried hers over into the spring, first at the U.S. Junior National Championships in February, and later at the World Junior Championships in March. Joined by then-frosh Travis Boyd, Jon Hickey and Mike Sayenko at the U.S. meet in Houston, Texas, Hodgson covered the muddy 6,000-meter course in 24:10, second only to Duke's Clara Horowitz. The top-six finish earned Hodgson a trip to Lausanne, Switzerland in March, where she led the U.S. team to a fourth-place finish at the World Junior Championships. Hodgson's 58th-place individual finish was the highest by a Husky at the junior worlds since Neil Panchen placed 26th for Great Britain in 1988, and is UW's second-best overall. A native of Spokane, Hodgson last season became the first UW freshman ever to win her debut race at Washington with a victory in the Emerald City Invitational, and excelled on the track with a top-10 all-time UW indoor mark at 5000m, and a 15th-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the Pac-10 Championships.

Seniors (Or Lack Thereof): When talking about the keys to Washington's men's and women's cross-country seasons, it all comes down to seniors. The Husky men return five seniors from a team that has at times suffered from a lack of leadership over the last decade, and has not reached the NCAA Championships since 1994. For the women, who have ridden strong senior leaders to the NCAAs in each of the past six seasons, the question will be whether a strong corps of juniors can make up for the lack of a single senior on the roster. The group of returning seniors for the UW men is impressive: Eric Garner led all UW finishers at four of five meets last season, while Ben Koss was the leader at the team's lone 10K competition. John Russell and Dustin Duke combined for Emerald City Invitational wins in 2000 and 2001, respectively, while Russell and Todd Arnold are each coming off of NCAA appearances on the track. On the women's team, departing seniors Kate Bradshaw, Courtney Inman and Kate Spigel leave behind a void of leadership that juniors Chessa Adsit-Morris, Camille Connelly, Lindsey Egerdahl, Jamie Gibbs, Laura Halverson, and Kathryn Touran will be asked to fill. How both teams handle their respective situations will determine whether the women can continue their NCAA streak, and the men can start one of their own.

Meet the Coaches: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf enters his second year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his seventh year overall at the University. In five seasons as a UW assistant, Metcalf guided the women's cross-country team to five-straight NCAA appearances, including a UW-best ninth-place finish in 1998. Metcalf has coached eight All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 63 NCAA qualifiers and 10 school-record setters. A 1993 graduate of Washington, Metcalf was a two-time All-American for the Huskies in the steeplechase. Metcalf is joined on the coaching staff by former All-Americans David Bazzi and Kelly MacDonald, each of whom work closely with UW's distance corps.

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