Pac-10 Title Up For Grabs in Pullman
Oct. 28, 2003
On the Course: Washington's cross country squads officially begin postseason competition Saturday with the Pac-10 Championships in Pullman, Wash., the first of three meets in three weeks to cap an exciting 2003 cross country season. Washington's hard-charging men's team, led by No. 1 runner Eric Garner, will compete first at 12 p.m. on the 8,000-meter Washington State Golf Course, while the UW women, who follow the lead of junior Lindsey Egerdahl, will race the 6,000-meter course at 1 p.m. Both squads will have to contend with prestigious fields, headlined on both sides by No. 1 Stanford, which has dominated the men's ranks all season and claimed the top spot in the women's rankings last week after placing six runners in the top-10 at the elite Pre-National Meet in Waterloo, Iowa. The Cardinal men will be seeking their seventh title in the past eight seasons, while the women bid for their eighth-straight conference crown. The Huskies' four senior men will attempt to improve upon the team's fourth-place finish of a year ago, while a women's squad featuring five new faces hopes to equal its third-place finish in 2002.
Pac-10 Championships Meet Schedule (All Times Pacific)
Men's 8,000m Race: 12:00 p.m
Women's 6,000m Race: 1:00 p.m.
Expected to Run: Following is a list of those UW runners likely to make the trip to Pullman, Wash., for Saturday's Pac-10 Championships:
Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Lindsey Egerdahl, Jr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn)
Marie Foushee, Fr., Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue)
Jamie Gibbs, Jr., Arvada, Colo. (Arvada)
Laura Halverson, Jr., Mica, Wash. (Freeman)
Laura Hodgson, So., Spokane, Wash. (North Central)
Amy Lia, Fr., Bothell, Wash. (Bothell)
Ingvill Makestad, Jr., Odda, Norway (Odda Vidagaerde Skole)
Brianna McLeod, Fr., Jenks, Okla. (Jenks)
Kathryn Touran, Jr., Petoskey, Mich. (Petoskey)
Dallon Williams, Fr., Turlock, Calif. (Turlock)
Alternates: Kira Harrison, Alison Tubbs, Camille Connelly
Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Todd Arnold, Sr., Westport, Wash. (Ocosta)
Travis Boyd, RFr., Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak)
Andy Fader, So., Everett, Wash. (Cascade)
Eric Garner, Sr., Kelso, Wash. (Kelso)
Ben Koss, Sr., Olympia, Wash. (Capitol)
Mark Mandi, So., Everett, Wash. (Mariner)
Carl Moe, Fr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn-Riverside)
John Russell, Sr., Mica, Wash. (Freeman)
Mike Sayenko, RFr., Bellevue, Wash. (Sammamish)
Matt Topping, Jr., Kennewick, Wash. (Kennwick)
Alternate: Matt Owen
Meet Results: Complete results of the 2003 Pac-10 Championships will be posted online at www.gocougars.com and www.pac-10.org immediately following the races. A full recap of Husky action, including results, will be posted to www.gohuskies.com no later than 4 p.m. PDT.
Pac-10 History: While neither UW team has won a Pac-10 title since 1993, both squads do have impressive streaks on the line this Saturday. Washington's women will be looking to extend a streak of 14-consecutive top-five Pac-10 finishes, dating back to the team's conference title in 1989, while the UW men will seek their fourth-straight top-five finish, and 15th in the last 18 years. Those streaks are impressive given the annual strength of the Pac-10 Conference, which currently boasts five men's teams and three women's teams among the national top-30, including defending national men's champion Stanford. Another streak the Huskies hope to continue is that of placing a women's runner among the top-10 finishers in each of the past nine, and 14 of the past 15, Pac-10 Championships. 1981 AIAW 3,000-meter Champion Regina Joyce is the only UW runner, male or female, to win a conference title, having taken first place at the 1982 NorPac Championship meet in 1982. No Husky men's runner has ever placed higher than fourth, a feat accomplished on four occasions, most recently by Jason Fayant in 2001. For a complete listing of Pac-10 Championships results from years past, see the chart on page three of this release.
Last Year at the Pac-10 Championships: Led by seniors Courtney Inman and Kate Bradshaw, Washington's women took third overall at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships in Los Angeles, besting all but conference champ Stanford and runner-up Arizona State. Inman placed seventh at the meet, extending a string of nine-straight seasons with a UW woman among the top-10 conference finishers. Bradshaw, in 13th, was the next Husky to cross the line, while 14th-place finisher Lindsey Egerdahl was the highest-placing UW underclassman. Also returning from last year's top seven at the conference meet will be 28th-place runner Laura Halverson, 30th-place finisher Camille Connelly and 31st-place finisher Jamie Gibbs. For the men, Eric Garner led four Huskies to top-30 finishes to spark a fourth-place team finish, UW's best since 1995. Garner ran 19th overall, just ahead of 20th-place finisher Matt Topping. Both will return for this year's meet, as will 26th-place runner Todd Arnold, 27th-place finisher Ben Koss and 36th-place runner Mark Mandi.
Peak Performer: With seniors Ben Koss and John Russell both ailing at the Pre-National Meet on Oct. 18, the Husky men needed one of their younger runners to step up and run at the front of the pack if they were to have any chance of a strong finish. In what head coach Greg Metcalf could only refer to as 'the race of his life,' sophomore Mark Mandi answered the call, running second on the team, and 58th overall, in a personal-best 24:32. A graduate of Mariner High School in Everett, Mandi was the team's sixth runner in 2002, but has risen steadily throughout the spring and summer. The 11th-place finisher in the 10,000m at the 2003 Pac-10 Track Meet, Mandi will be especially valuable when racing turns to the longer distance at the NCAA Regional.
Rankings Report: An impressive 13th-place finish at the Pre-National Meet on Oct. 18 lifted the Husky men's squad eight spots, to 27th, in last week's MONDO Men's Cross Country Rankings. The team's 48 points quadrupled their total of a week before, spurring the team to its highest ranking thus far in 2003. Defending national champion Stanford remained a strong No. 1 on the men's side with 479 points and all but one of the 16 possible first-place votes. That remaining vote went to second-ranked Wisconsin, who at 464 points is 32 ahead of surprising No. 3 Iona, a seven-spot gainer in last week's poll. After placing six runners among the top-10 at the Pre-National Meet, Stanford's women stole five first-place votes away from BYU to take No. 1 in the FinishLynx Women's Cross Country Rankings by just one point. The Cardinal notched 384 points, edging the Cougars' 383-point total by virtue of one additional first-place vote, with Stanford earning the top nod on seven ballots and BYU the remaining six. Washington, which has been ranked as high as 25th in 2003, fell out of the rankings for the first time this season.
History Lesson: When the Huskies head to Portland, Ore., for this year's NCAA West Regional Meet, more will be on the line than the automatic berths at this year's NCAA Championships that will go to the top-two finishing teams. The Husky women will be looking to extend a streak of six-straight trips to the national meet, a string dating back to 1997. Interestingly, in only one of those years did Washington earn an automatic bid, having been selected as one of 13 at-large teams in each of the other five seasons. The lone exception? The Huskies placed second to earn an automatic berth at the 1999 NCAA West Regional, held on the same Blue Lake Park Course in Portland that will host this year's West Regional Meet on Nov. 15.
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.
Garnering Acclaim: When hunting for breaking news, it can be easy to overlook those for whom success is routine. Eric Garner has been so succesful over the past two seasons - having led Washington's men at every regular-season 8,000-meter competition since the start of the 2002 season - that his impressive results are too often taken for granted. All the senior has done over the past two years is to ensure that his name will come up for all-time in any discussion of Washington's legendary distance-running tradition. A graduate of Kelso (Wash.) High School, Garner burst onto the scene in 2002 with a school-record 3:58.93 mile at Dempsey Indoor, the first four-minute ever by a Husky on Washington soil. Garner took 13th in the mile that season at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and returned in 2003 to become the UW's most prolific postseason qualifier, boasting NCAA Regional marks at 800-, 1,500-, and 5,000 meters. 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 the event at the Regional. Garner led all UW runners last year with a 19th-place finish at the Pac-10 Cross Country Championships, and ran second only to 10,000-meter specialist Ben Koss at the 2002 NCAA West Regional meet. With one full track season remaining, Garner already owns all-time UW indoor marks in the mile and distance medley relay , ranks second in school history in the indoor 3,000 meters, and is sixth all-time at 1,500 meters.
Leading From the Front: With no seniors on Washington's women's cross country squad in 2002, head coach Greg Metcalf challenged junior Lindsey Egerdahl to be the team's competitive leader. The Auburn, Wash., native has not backed down, leading all UW finishers at each of the last two varsity competitions, including the prestigious Notre Dame Invitational and the Pre-National Meet. Metcalf had good reason to suspect that Egerdahl was the right choice. Since arriving at Washington in 2001, Egerdahl has soared up the UW rankings, with a best mark of 4:23.87 for 1,500 meters that is the ninth-fastest ever by a Husky woman. After being left out of all varsity races in 2001 and running sixth on the squad at the 2002 season-opening Emerald City Invitational, Egerdahl ran third at the 2002 Sundodger Invitational and never looked back, placing among the top-three UW finishers at every remaining varsity competition. The sophomore was key to the team's run to a sixth-straight NCAA Championships appearance, running 14th overall at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships and 20th at the NCAA West Regional, before taking second on the squad at the NCAA meet. When she returns to the track in the spring, Egerdahl will be seeking to improve upon a seventh-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the Pac-10 Championships, and sixth-place finish in the event at the NCAA Regional.
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 800-meter 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 800-meter national title with a fourth-place finish in the 1,500 meters 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 UW, 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 two years of collegiate eligibility remaining. Makestad made her UW debut earlier this month at the prestigious Pre-National Meet. Running cross country for the first time in her 21 years, Makestad placed fourth on the squad, helping UW to 16th-place overall.
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.
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.
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 are currently running 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.
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 six seasons at Washington, Metcalf has guided the women's cross-country team to six-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, Washington's school-record holder at both 5,000- and 10,000 meters, and Kelly MacDonald, a five-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 Champion at Arizona State University.