Track Athletes Climb National Rankings With Wins at Pepsi Invite
April 10, 2004
EUGENE, Ore. - Three top-10 all-time marks, two NCAA qualifiers and a mark among the best in the nation this year lifted Washington's women's and men's track and field teams to respective second- and third-place finishes Saturday in the Pepsi Invitational at Oregon's Hayward Field.
For the second-straight season, the host Ducks swept the four-way meet, which also included Minnesota and Colorado. Oregon's men won eight events to edge Washington for the 61st time in 93 all-time meetings in the series, which began in 1900. The Ducks totaled 191 points, while Minnesota managed 169 for second, Washington was third at 144, and Colorado fourth with 101. On the women's side, Oregon won seven events to hold off a surging Washington by a 184.5-169 score, with Minnesota (160.5) and Colorado (100) rounding out the standings.
Perhaps no Husky was as important to the men's success as junior Sean Williams, who had a hand in scoring 22 of Washington's 144 points. After anchoring the Huskies' winning 4x100-meter relay in the meet's first event on the track, the Kirkland, Wash. native blazed to a Pac-10 qualifying mark in just the second 400-meter hurdles race of his UW career, placing third in 52.93 seconds..
Barely 45 minutes later, Williams was back on the track to run the third leg of Washington's 4x400-meter relay, which earned an NCAA Regional qualifying berth with a winning time of 3:09.14, the fifth-fastest in UW history and fourth-fastest in the West Region this season. The top three relays, and top-five individuals, at May's West Regional in Northridge, Calif., will earn automatic berths to the 2004 NCAA Championships.
Joining the relays on the victory stand were sprinter Patrick Davidson (100 meters, 10.66w) and two-time All-American Eric Garner, whose convincing win in the 1,500 meters led three Huskies among the event's top four finishers. After the Husky senior crossed the line in 3:44.76, more than half a second elapsed before Colorado's Brett Schoolmeester came across, followed closely by Husky senior John Russell and freshman Carl Moe. Moe's time of 3:46.97 was just a second over Russell's freshman record, but was good enough to earn the Auburn-Riverside graduate a berth at next month's regional, where he will join Russell and Garner.
Events on the track only tell half the story, however, as Washington boasted record performances in the field events.
Chief among those was an impressive win by two-time All-American and UW school record holder Kate Soma, who earned the second-best mark of her career with a clearance of 13 feet, 5 3/4 inches. A Portland, Ore., native, Soma was cheered on by friends and family as she vaulted past ninth-ranked Kirsten Larwin of Oregon into sixth in the national rankings. Larwin cleared 13-1 3/4 for second.
Freshman thrower Martin Bingisser, competing for just the third time in his UW career, also made his mark with a hammer toss of 197-7, second-best by a collegiate freshman this season and seventh all-time at Washington. The Interlake High School grad, who attended Cal State Sacramento in 2003 but did not compete athletically, soared into fourth in the 2004 Pac-10 rankings, and is the seventh-ranked thrower in the NCAA's West region.
With the season's first scoring meet under their belts, several UW athletes will head to Los Angeles next weekend for the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays, a meet that will also mark the outdoor season debut of former Husky-turned Olympic hopeful Brad Walker, the two-time NCAA pole vault champion.
For complete results of the 2004 Pepsi Invitational, visit www.goducks.com.