Top-15 UW Track Squads Head to Mt. SAC, Pullman
April 14, 2004
On the Track: Washington's 11th-ranked women's and 14th-ranked men's track and field teams will mark the midpoint of the 2004 regular season with competition on two fronts this weekend, including one of the nation's most historic track and field competitions, and another meet being contested for the first time in state history. A 14-athlete contingent, including record-setting freshman hurdler Ashley Lodree and two-time pole vault All-American Kate Soma, will travel to Los Angeles for the 46th-Annual Mt. SAC Relays at Mt. San Antonio College. Events at Mt. SAC begin Wednesday and Thursday with the multi events (hosted by Azusa Pacific University), before the main body of the meet Friday through Sunday. Remaining members of the UW track contingent will join forces with Eastern Washington and Washington State on Saturday to challenge Idaho's best in the First-Annual State Challenge Cup in Pullman, which in addition to the three state schools will feature regional rivals Idaho and Boise State.
Walker Joins Historic Mt. SAC Field: When Mt. San Antonio College's Hilmer Lodge first floated the idea in 1959 of a major West Coast track and field meet to rival the established Penn and Drake Relays, he could not possibly have conceived of the spectacle which has become the Mt. SAC Relays. Hundreds of the world's top Olympic, collegiate and prep athletes have graced the competition over the years, helping the Relays live up to its reputation as a meet 'Where the World's Greatest Athletes Compete.' This year's field is no exception, with entries from Olympic luminaries Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, Maurice Greene, Ato Boldon, Allen Johnson and John Godina, among others.The meet will also feature the post-collegiate debut of two-time NCAA champion pole vaulter Brad Walker, who will battle fellow U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers Russ Buller, Toby Stevenson and Tommy Skipper.
Event Schedule: Following is a schedule of events including UW athletes at the 2004 Mt. SAC Relays. All times are Pacific and subject to change. For a complete Mt. SAC event schedule, visit www.mtsac.edu/relays. For a complete schedule of events for Saturday's State Challenge Cup in Pullman, visit www.wsucougars.com.
Wednesday, April 14
9:30 a.m. -- Heptathlon (W)
Thursday, April 15
9:30 a.m. -- Heptathlon (W)
Friday, April 16
3:40 p.m. -- 5,000m Run (M)
4:25 p.m. -- 5,000m Run (M)
4:45 p.m. -- Steeplechase (W)
5:50 p.m. -- Steeplechase (M)
10:45 p.m. -- 5,000m Run (W)
Saturday, April 17
7:00 p.m. -- 800m Run (M)
9:06 p.m. -- 1,500m Run (M)
Sunday, April 18
9:45 a.m. -- Javelin (W)
10:20 a.m. -- 100m Hurdles (W)
1:15 p.m. -- Pole Vault (W)
Meet Results: Fans can follow the results of the Mt. SAC Relays live at www.mtsac.edu/relays, and can check GoHuskies.com for a full recap of UW action each day. Results of the 2004 State Challenge Cup will be posted to www.wsucougars.com immediately following Saturday's meet, with a UW recap posted to GoHuskies shortly thereafter.
Monster PR of the Week: Lost in the bustle of last week's oustanding performances was a remarkable six-pack of results from junior Grace Vela. The Toronto, Ont., native competed in five individual events and one relay, and had a hand in scoring 30 of Washington's 169 points in a second-place team effort. Chief among Vela's results were a wind-aided PR of 14.16 in the 100-meter hurdles, just .03 off the UW's all-time top-10, and a clearance of 5-3 in the high jump, nearly six inches beyond her previous 2004 best.
Rankings Report: Despite the additions this week of many of the nation's elite squads to the U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings, Washington's men and women continued to hold their own. Outstanding performances at last week's Pepsi Invitational in Oregon boosted the UW women's power ranking score to 324.38, a 50-point improvement from last week and 11th-best in the USTCA ranking, which simulates head-to-head competition between the nation's top squads. Nebraska debuted No. 1 with 382.50 points, while UCLA was second at 377.35. Defending NCAA champ LSU (62 points) remained No. 1 atop the Trackwire 25, which predicts team scoring at the NCAA Championships; the UW fell just below the top-25 with one point. The Husky men, meanwhile, remained among the USTCA's top-15 for the second-straight week, their 315.23-point total good for 14th. ASU was No. 1 at 377.67, followed by Tennessee at 373.96. Trackwire, however, favors LSU atop its rankings, the Tigers' 51 points edging Arkansas (44) and Florida (43). The UW's men earned three points from Trackwire, just shy of the top-25.
Just Dandy, Thank You: The Huskies' lofty team rankings can be credited to the performances of several outstanding individuals, two of whom were recognized this week in Trackwire's Dandy Dozen. The list, which predicts the top-12 finishers in each event at the NCAA Championships, slots freshman Ashley Lodree into 12th in the 100-meter hurdles - two spots better than her 14th-place NCAA finish indoors. Senior Eric Garner also merited Trackwire's mention at No. 6 in the 1,500 meters, a ranking which, if matched, would earn Garner his third All-America honor.
NCAA Championships By the Numbers: When Brad Walker won his second-straight NCAA pole vault title in March, the senior joined an elite class. Only four Huskies, including Walker, have earned more than one NCAA title, including just two - Walker and seven-time champion Scott Neilson - since 1930. Neilson, one of only four athletes in NCAA history to win four-straight NCAA titles in the same event, was certainly the most prolific titlist in school history, with three indoor weight throw crowns, and four-straight NCAA hammer titles from 1976-79. The remaining Huskies to earn multiple NCAA titles did so in the NCAA's infancy, including hurdler Steve Anderson, in 1929 and 1930, and Gus Pope, the shot and discus champion in 1921. Twenty-two Husky athletes have combined for 27 NCAA titles overall, a total which ranks 22nd among NCAA institutions all-time. Interestingly, of the 21 Huskies to win titles prior to Walker, eight competed in Olympic Games, including three Olympic medalists.
New NCAA Format: For the second-straight season, the NCAA in 2004 will use Regional Championship meets to determine qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The NCAA Championships will draw the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relay teams from each of the four Regionals nationwide, to be contested May 28-29. Athletes will qualify for Regional meets by meeting pre-determined NCAA standards, or by winning their conference title. The NCAA will then round 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 will be the 10,000-meter and multi-events, which will not be subject to Regional competition. Athletes will continue to qualify for the NCAA Championships in those events as they have in the past, by meeting pre-determined provisional and automatic-qualifying standards.
Beating the System: Washington took full advantage of the new regional-qualifying system in 2003, with six Huskies earning automatic NCAA berths at the West Regional, including four who entered the meet ranked 30th or lower nationally in their events, and likely would not have qualified under the old format. A total of 30 Huskies qualified for last year's regional championships, and already 25 are qualified in 2004, including four in the javelin and five at 1,500 meters. For a complete list of Washington's 2004 NCAA West Regional Championships qualifiers, see the box above.
Walker Watch: If the Huskies are to capitalize on an outstanding indoor season in 2004, they'll have to do it without four-time All-American Brad Walker, who finished his collegiate career in March by winning his second-straight NCAA indoor pole vault title. The four-time All-American will begin his campaign for the 2004 Olympic Games this week at Mt. SAC. There's no reason to think Walker doesn't belong among America's elite. In 2003, the Husky led all American vaulters indoors and tied for third in the world with a Pac-10 record mark of 19-0 1/4 that equaled the winning height at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. Walker has matched up twice against America's best this season and has stepped up to the challenge both times, placing second at the U.S. Pole Vault Summit, and fourth at the U.S. Indoor Championships. Already an Olympic 'A' qualifier, Walker needs to finish among the top-three at July's U.S. Olympic Trials to earn a trip to Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, with the fourth-place finisher traveling as an alternate.
Olympics History: Washington has qualified at least one athlete for all but four of the 19 Olympic Games held since 1924, with a record four Huskies - including head coach Ken Shannon, a U.S. assistant -participating in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Of the 36 Huskies who have competed in Olympic Games all-time, four have earned medals, and 18 have placed among the top-five in their events. Only once, in 1928, have two Huskies medaled at the same Games, with hurdler Steve Anderson and shot-putter Herman Brix earning matching silver medals in Amsterdam. The two would go on to set World Records in their events later that same year.
The Road to Athens: Walker is far from the only Husky seeking Olympic glory this summer. Chief among Washington's Olympic hopefuls is former Husky Aretha Hill, who is automatically qualified for July's Olympic Trials as the reigning U.S. discus champion. Hill, a 1996 U.S. Olympian, is one of three former Huskies - including Swiss steepler Christian Belz and Ellensburg, Wash., native Ja'Warren Hooker - seeking return trips to the Games. Both Olympians in 2000, Belz was Switzerland's top-ranked steepler in 2003, while Hooker will be among a field of 10-15 runners competing for six spots in the U.S. 400-meter pool. Should any of the three qualify for the 2004 Games, they would become just the fifth Husky to qualify for multiple Olympics. Thrower Gus Pope threw the discus at both the 1924 and 1928 Games, earning a bronze in 1924. Hurdler Terry Tobacco also competed twice, in 1956 and 1960, while thrower Adam Setliff tossed the discus at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, placing fifth in Sydney. Former javelin All-American and current UW volunteer assistant coach Duncan Atwood is the fourth Washington athlete to have qualified for multiple Olympics, having done so in 1980 and 1984, but competed only in the latter Games, missing the 1980 Olympics in Moscow as a result of the U.S. boycott.
Olympics Hopefuls: The Olympic veterans are joined by a banner crop of current and former Huskies of legitimate Olympic-caliber who are seeking their first Games invitations. In addition to Walker - the fourth-place finisher at the 2004 U.S. Indoor Championships - Husky sophomore Ingvill Makestad boasts a good shot of toeing the line in Athens for her native Norway, needing only to lower her 1,500-meter PR from 4:13 to the Olympic 'B' standard of 4:07 to likely earn a bid. That's also the time being targeted by former Husky Courtney Inman - currently Canada's fourth-ranked women's miler - who could make the Games with an impressive outdoor campaign. Vaulters Kate Soma and Carly Dockendorf will also be seeking to bring their personal bests in line with Olympic standards, though the challenge is steep. For Soma, the magic number is the U.S. Trials standard of 14-8 - 10 inches beyond her career best - while for Dockendorf, the target mark is the Canadian 'A' standard of 14-5 1/4, which would be an 18-inch PR.
The 'Lo' Down: It only took Ashley Lodree one collegiate outdoor meet to crush the Huskies' 100-meter hurdles record. But then, everything the Husky freshman does is fast - whether breaking the UW's freshman record in the 60-meter hurdles in her first collegiate race, or reaching the NCAA Championships just five weeks after her first college meet. So, it should be no surprise that in her first collegiate 100-meter hurdles final, Lodree blazed to a wind-aided time of 13.43 seconds, breaking the UW record of 13.55 set by Claudine Robinson in 1994. After Robinson's record stood for 10 years, Lodree's stood for only eight days, as the freshman lowered it again, to a wind-aided 13.39, in the finals at the Texas Relays. Currently ranked No. 2 in the West Region, Lodree finds herself running out of records to set. On Mar. 6, the Richmond, Calif., native lowered her 60-meter hurdles best to 8.19 seconds, knocking Robinson off the top of the UW indoor charts while qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships. One of just two freshmen in the NCAA field, Lodree earned 14th-place overall and closed the indoor season as America's top-ranked collegiate freshman hurdler. Lodree, however, isn't one to be fazed by national acclaim. Last year, she ranked among the top-five preps nationally in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, and placed third in the former at the U.S. Junior Nationals. Lodree is also making an assault on the UW's long jump records, having climbed to sixth all-time indoors with a Pac-10 qualifying best of 19-6 1/4. With seven records (either freshman or school) in her first nine collegiate hurdles races, Lodree has established herself as one to watch over the next three-plus years. Who are likely to be Lodree's chief rivals? Following is a list of 2004's top collegiate freshman hurdlers:
2004 NCAA 100-Meter Hurdles Freshman Rankings
Name, School, Mark
1. MaKeatha Cooper, Texas Christian, 13.24
2. Ashley Lodree, Washington, 13.39
3. Jacquelyn Johnson, Arizona State, 13.53
4. Ronetta Alexander, South Carolina, 13.64
5. Fatmata Fofanah, Pittsburgh, 13.83
6. Tiffany McDonald, Arizona, 13.87
7. Lisa Maurer, Kansas State, 13.88
8. Jessica Czaikowski, West Virginia, 13.90
9. Chiquita Martin, South Carolina, 13.92
10. Candice Davis, USC, 13.93
Garnering Acclaim: When hunting for breaking news, it can be easy to overlook those for whom success is routine. By earning his second-career All-America honor with an eighth-place finish in the mile at March's NCAA indoor meet, and debuting outdoors with the school's sixth-fastest 1,500-meter time, senior Eric Garner has ensured that his name will come up in any future 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 mile ever by a Husky on Washington soil. Garner earned All-America honors with a 13th-place finish in the mile that season at the NCAA indoor meet, and returned in 2003 to become the UW's most prolific postseason qualifier. Garner placed third in the 1,500 meters at the 2003 Pac-10 meet, and earned an NCAA berth with a fourth-place finish at the Regional. Garner already owns the all-time UW indoor marks in the mile and distance medley relay, ranks second in the indoor 3,000m and is sixth all-time indoors at 800m, and outdoors at 1,500m. At the 2004 MPSF Championships, Garner accounted for more than a quarter of the UW's 47.5 team points, winning the mile in an NCAA-qualifying 4:00.53 just 24 hours after taking sixth in the 3,000m. In addition to ranking among the team leaders in nearly every distance event, Garner is also the UW's top cross country competitor, having led UW at all but one varsity meet over the previous two seasons.
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight: Two-time All-American pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0', but the Husky junior towers over UW female vaulters past and present. Currently ranked seventh in the nation with a best mark of 13-5 3/4 from last week's Pepsi Team Invitational, Soma has put herself into position for a rare All-America double in 2004. In March, Soma earned her second-straight NCAA All-America accolade with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA indoor meet, backing up her seventh-place performance outdoors in 2003. One of just two Husky women ever to clear 13 feet in the vault, Soma is the only Husky female ever to have done so both indoors and out, owning school records in both. The Portland, Ore., native cleared 13-5 1/2 at June's NCAA outdoor meet, and might have gone higher if not for a broken pole that lacerated her right hand on her third attempt at 13-10. The meet marked the third NCAA appearance for Soma, who was the 12th-place finisher at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, and 16th-place finisher outdoors in 2002. Soma vaulted herself in the Pac-10's all-time elite at last year's NCAA West Regional Championships, clearing 13 feet, 10 inches to break her own Washington outdoor record by more than eight inches and climb to eighth in Pac-10 history. The sixth-place finisher at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, Soma was bested at the Regional only by Oregon's Becky Holliday, who set a collegiate outdoor record of 14-8 in her Regional win. Soma's has broken UW's indoor and outdoor records in all five of her collegiate 'seasons,' including three indoors and two outdoors, a tradition she began as a freshman by setting UW benchmarks of 13-1 1/2 outdoors, and 12-11 1/2 indoors. Soma entered the UW with a best of 12-0 at Grant High School, but improved that mark by more than a foot in 2002.
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2003, 14-3 1/4
6. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
6. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
8. Kate Soma, Washington, 2003, 13-10
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
10. Erica Hoerning, UCLA, 2001, 13-7
Multi-Talented: When Toronto native Grace Vela decided to transfer to Washington from Chicago's Lewis University in 2004, the UW coaches knew they were getting a talented multi-eventer. What they may not have known, however, is that in addition to her ability to compete with America's top collegians, Vela ranks among the top women in all of Canada. No fewer than five of Vela's personal bests in 2004 would rank among the top-three in Athletics Canada's season rankings, were Vela a paid member of the organization. At last week's Pepsi Invitational, Vela recorded three such marks, including PRs of 14.16 in the 100-meter hurdles and 5-3 in the high jump that have each been bettered by only one other Canadian woman this season. The junior's Pac-10 qualifying best of 19-6 1/2 in the long jump, set in March, is Canada's second-best this season, while her bests of 25.10 for 200 meters and 38-3 1/2 in the triple jump each rank third. Vela's outdoor success was previewed indoors, where the junior climbed the UW's all-time top-10 in the long jump and pentathlon. The Vaughan High School graduate was an NCAA Division-II All-American in 2003 in the 4x100-meter relay, and earned top-12 national finishes in the long jump and triple jump. Even more impressive, however, was her performance at the 2003 Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships, where the Zimbabwe-born Vela won five events to earn GLVC Athlete of the Year honors. Following is a list of events in which Vela's marks challenge those of Canada's leaders in 2004:
Event -- Vela's 2004 Best, National Ranking; 2004 Canadian Leader
100m Hurdles -- 14.16w, 2nd; Angela Whyte, 13.31
Long Jump -- 19-6 1/2, 2nd; Alice Falaiye, 21-2 1/2
High Jump -- 5-3, 2nd; Pam Klundert, 5-6
200m Dash -- 25.10, 3rd; Danielle Kot, 24.12
Triple Jump -- 38-3 1/2w, 3rd; Simidele Adeagbo, 42-5 1/2
20 Years of Spear Success: From Fred Luke and Duncan Atwood to Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo, the UW 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 javelin thrower to all but three NCAA Championships, including Heather Reichmann's All-America performance in 2003. The list of UW javelin greats includes four Pac-10 Champions (Uusitalo, '87; Roberson, '88-89; Troy Burkholder, '96), one NCAA champion (Uusitalo, '86) and a U.S. Olympian (Atwood, '80, '84). 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. Already this year, four Huskies have have qualified for NCAA Regional competition in the spear, including senior Megan Spriestersbach's school-record effort of 164-2 at the Stanford Invite. Of the four, only Spriestersbach boasts NCAA experience, having placed 18th in 2001.
Husky Greats Give Back: Looking for a reason for the Huskies' remarkable javelin success in 2004? Look no further than former U.S. Olympian Duncan Atwood, now in his second year volunteering his time to his alma mater as a throws coach, working with assistant coach Bud Rasmussen. The results speak for themselves: in 2003, four UW javelin throwers qualified for the NCAA Regional, and Heather Reichmann earned All-America honors with a throw of 159-6 that was 10th-best by a U.S. woman in 2003. Atwood joins two fellow Huskies on the UW staff, including second-year head coach Greg Metcalf - a two-time steeplechase All-American at UW and a participant at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials - and two-time Husky All-American David Bazzi, now a UW assistant coach.
Spree's Spear Superiority: Maybe we all should take a year off. That's what Husky senior Megan Spriestersbach did in 2003, and it doesn't seem to have slowed her one bit. On Mar. 26, in just her second competition since May of 2002, Spriestersbach heaved the javelin 164 feet, 2 inches, five feet beyond UW's school record and eighth-best by a Pac-10 thrower since the new javelin implement came into use six years ago. For Spriestersbach, the throw reclaimed the UW record she had first set in 2002, a season in which the Lakewood, Wash., native earned her third-consecutive top-10 Pac-10 finish. Just prior to the start of the 2003 season, the decision was made to redshirt Spriestersbach, both to allow a nagging injury to heal, and to gain extra experience working with first-year coaches Bud Rasmussen and two-time Olympian Duncan Atwood. The plan was to make a run at an NCAA Championships berth in 2004; so far, the plan is working. As of Apr. 14, Spriestersbach ranks seventh in the nation and third in the NCAA's West Region in 2004, with the top-five regional finishers earning automatic NCAA bids in June. Spriestersbach is attempting to reach her second NCAA meet in her four competitive years at Washington, having placed 18th as a sophomore in 2001. Following is a list of the Pac-10's all-time top-10 javelin competitors:
All-Time Pac-10 Javelin Top-10 (New Implement)
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Inga Stasiulionyte, USC, 2002, 186-10
2. Sarah Malone, Oregon, 2004, 179-7
3. Elisa Crumley, Oregon, 2002, 169-7
4. Leslie Erickson, USC, 2002, 168-11
5. Karis Howell, Oregon, 2000, 168-1
6. Roslyn Lundeen, Oregon, 2002, 166-11
7. Julie De Marni, Arizona, 2002, 165-10
8. Megan Spriestersbach, Washington, 2004, 164-2
9. Molly Monroe, Wash. State, 2000, 161-4
10. Seilala Sua, UCLA, 1999, 161-2
Jamaican Sensations: Don't blame second-year sprints/hurdles coach Dion Miller for catching a bit of island fever - the island nation of Jamaica is producing some impressive track talent. Washington's 2004 roster includes two athletes from the Caribbean nation, juniors Patrick Davidson and Davaon Spence. The two grew up friends at St. Jago HS in Kingston, Jamaica, and competed together on relay squads that swept Jamaican national titles in 2003. After splitting up to attend U.S. junior colleges, the two reunited at Washington this season, providing the UW a pair of top-flight sprinters to bolster a team already strong in the distances and field events. Davidson's career-best marks of 10.50 for 100m and 21.50 for 200m would each have scored at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, while Spence adds big-meet experience from years of competition at the World Youth Championship. The two have already made their presence felt at Washington, with Pac-10 qualifying marks in the 100 meters for both, and a 100-meter best of 10.55 seconds for Spence that is just .01 off the UW's all-time top-10. Spence ranks ninth on the UW's all-time 200m list indoors, and Davidson ran a leg of the school's 10th-fastest indoor 4x400m.
Norse by Northwest: Sophomore transfer Ingvill Makestad shook up the national indoor rankings in February with a dramatic win in her first-career collegiate mile, at the MPSF Championships. The 22-year old Norweigian, who blew past Stanford All-American Sara Bei on the homestretch, crossed the line in 4:42.17, fastest by a Norweigian runner this year and just two seconds off the school record established by Courtney Inman a year ago. Makestad placed 15th in the mile at her first-career NCAA Indoor meet in March, and has now set her sights on improving that performance in either the 800- or 1,500 meters at the NCAA outdoor meet this June, while also seeking the Olympic 'B' qualifying standards of 2:01.30 and 4:07.15, respectively. The sophomore qualified for NCAA Regional competition in her first collegiate 1,500 meters in March, clocking a time of 4:23.76 at Stanford that was UW's ninth-fastest all-time. Should Makestad better the Olympic standards, she won't be fazed by the talented international field, as she already boasts loads of experience competing against the world's best college-age athletes. Last summer, Makestad won her nation's 800 meter title, just weeks before placing fourth in the 1,500 meters at the Under-23 European Championships in Poland, in a career-best time of 4:13.58. Since arriving at UW in the fall, Makestad has found nothing but success, taking ninth at the Pac-10 Cross Country Championships - just her second-ever cross country competition - and fifth at the NCAA Regional. Ironically, at the Regional Makestad placed just ahead of USC's Iryna Vaschuk, who also finished just behind Makestad in the Under-23 European 1,500 meters.
Scandinavian Invasion: Don't think that Ingvill Makestad is the only Norweigian 800-meter champion on the Washington track and field roster. The Huskies, in fact, boast the odd coincidence of having both of Norway's reigning half-mile titlists competing in purple and gold this season, including Makestad and men's champ Stig Ellingsen. A native of Tromso, Ellingsen clocked a winning time of 1:51.30 in the 800-meter final at the 2003 Norweigian Outdoor Track and Field Championships, after sweeping junior titles every year from 1999-2002. The junior, who was also an outstanding prep soccer player, has competed for years on the European amateur circuit, with a best finish of sixth in the half-mile at the 2002 European Cup in Banska Bstryka. Ellingsen clocked a 4:03.85 in his first collegiate 1,500 meters at Cal Poly, and owns a season-best of 1:52.40 in the 800 meters.
Mile Mayhem: Washington's sprinters and jumpers may be catching up quickly, but the list of Pac-10 Championships qualifiers leaves no doubt that distance running is still the UW's bread and butter. A stunning 15 Huskies have posted Pac-10 qualifying marks in the 1,500 meters, which includes converted indoor mile marks. That total already surpasses the record 11 1,500-meter qualifiers from 2003 - in fact, the Husky women nearly surpass that mark on their own, with a remarkable 10 UW women currently included in the Pac-10's 1,500-meter rankings. While the team boasts its share of savvy veterans, it is a bumper crop of newcomers that have pushed the unit to record levels of success, with seven of the 15 qualifiers currently in their first collegiate seasons. However many of these 15 end up competing at the Pac-10 meet remains to be seen, but those that do will have history on their side. At least one UW runner has scored in the 1,500 meters at every Pac-10 Championships since 1989, including a record five 1,500-meter scorers (three men, two women) in 2003.
Remember Me?: To the casual Husky fan, junior Will Conwell may have fallen off the radar early last year when he gave up football - where he was a scholarship linebacker for the Huskies - in favor of a career in track and field. After redshirting the 2003 season to rehabilitate some lingering injuries, Conwell has exploded back onto the front page in 2004, earning an NCAA Regional Championships bid with a discus throw of 173-5 in his season debut. Once expected to follow his uncle, Husky legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory, Conwell is instead focusing on matching his famous uncle's track accomplishments. A five-year letterwinner in track and field at Washington, the elder Conwell climbed as high as fourth on the UW's all-time shot put list, and was an All-American in the event at the 1996 NCAA Championships, placing fifth. Washington's current Conwell is the West Region's fifth-ranked discus competitior, and could earn an NCAA Championships berth with a top-five finish at May's West Regional in Northridge, Calif.
The Kids Are Alright: If Track and Field News needed any evidence to support their No. 6 national ranking of Washington's women's recruiting class, they need look no further than the national indoor peformance lists. Husky women's frosh lit up the lists with outstanding performances, including four freshman records. Bothell's Amy Lia boasted two of those records, in the 800m and mile, including a half-mile best of 2:09.73 that is the school's second-best all-time. Two-time prep All-American Ashley Lodree, meanwhile, set the school record in the 60-meter hurdles and tied for sixth-best ever in the long jump, while pole vaulter Stevie Marshalek became just the second UW woman to clear 13 feet with a freshman record vault of 13-3 at the Last Chance Qualifier. Proving that they might have been overlooked by Track and Field News, however, the Husky men's freshmen are throwing up some mighty marks of their own. Spear specialist Brian Harris is an NCAA qualifier at 219-10 1/4, as is hammer thrower Martin Bingisser, who ranks seventh in Washington history with a best of 197-7. Currently, freshmen and transfers lead all Husky competitors in 12 events, including seven on the men's side, and five on the women's.
Raising Arizona: Already in 2004, 45 Husky athletes have punched their tickets to Tucson for the 2004 Pac-10 Championships at the University of Arizona. Those 45 athletes have combined for 55 qualifying marks, equaling last year's total of 55 with five weeks remaining before the meet. Pac-10 teams can bring a maximum of 24 athletes and two wild cards per team to the meet, and in addition may place one athlete in each event for which the school has no qualifier. Thus, some athletes to post qualifying marks may not compete, and others not qualified may be entered in some events. Following is a list of UW's 2004 Pac-10 Championships qualifiers:
Name, Event, Qualifying Mark, Pac-10 Ranking
Todd Arnold, 800m, 1:51.23, 11th
Todd Arnold, 1,500m, 3:48.47, 11th
Brandon Bailey, 400m Hurdles, 53.33, 13th
Martin Bingisser, Hammer, 197-7, 5th
Travis Boyd, 5,000m, 14:29.90i, 17th
Preston Brashers, 5,000m, 14:35.05i, 21st
Will Conwell, Discus, 173-5, 3rd
Phillippe Cook, High Jump, 6-8 3/4i, 11th (tie)
Patrick Davidson, 100m Dash, 10.68w, 10th (tie)
Warren Eickhoff, High Jump, 6-8 3/4i, 11th (tie)
Andy Fader, 1,500m, 3:48.34, 10th
Andy Fader, 5,000m, 14:10.81i, 10th
Eric Garner, 1,500m, 3:43.40, 1st
Brian Harris, Javelin, 219-10 1/2, 2nd
John Hickey, 5,000m, 14:11.39i, 11th
Marc James, 110m Hurdles, 14.49w, 6th
McKane Lee, Pole Vault, 16-7 1/4i, 11th
Mark Mandi, 5,000m, 14:12.51i, 12th
Carl Moe, 1,500m, 3:46.97, 8th
Sam Roberts, Pole Vault, 16-6i, 14th (tie)
Davaon Spence, 100m Dash, 10.55w, 8th
John Russell, 1,500m, 3:45.06, 3rd
Sean Williams, 400m Hurdles, 52.93, 8th (tie)
Rigel Wise, Javelin, 215-0 1/4, 5th
Name, Event, Qualifying Mark, Pac-10 Ranking
Mary Beeman, Shot Put, 44-0 3/4i, 15th
Camille Connelly, 1,500m, 4:34.80, 23rd
Camille Connelly, 5,000m, 17:15.53, 13th
Cherron Davis, Shot Put, 45-5 3/4, 12th
Carly Dockendorf, Pole Vault, 12-9 1/2i, 11th (tie)
Lindsey Egerdahl, 800m, 2:09.70, 9th
Lindsey Egerdahl, 1,500m, 4:26.88, 11th
Marie Foushee, Mile, 5:00.43i, 15th
Laura Halverson, Mile, 4:58.75i, 14th
Kira Harrison, 800m, 2:10.58, 13th
Kira Harrison, 1,500m, 4:33.50, 20th
Cambrielle Jensen, 400m Hurdles, 1:01.32, 4th
Amy Lia, 800m, 2:09.73i, 10th
Amy Lia, 1,500m, 4:39.53, 27th
Ashley Lodree, 100m Hurdles, 13.39w, 2nd
Ashley Lodree, Long Jump, 19-6 1/4i, 8th (tie)
Ingvill Makestad, 1,500m, 4:23.76, 8th
Stevie Marshalek, Pole Vault, 13-3i, 6th
Brianna McLeod, 1,500m, 4:32.82, 17th
Brianna McLeod, 5,000m, 16:59.50, 7th
Brittiny Roberts, Triple Jump, 39-6i, 7th
Kate Soma, Pole Vault, 13-5 3/4, 3rd
Megan Spriestersbach, Javelin, 164-2, 3rd
Alison Tubbs, 5,000m, 16:49.51, 6th
Grace Vela, 100m Hurdles, 14.16w, 14th
Grace Vela, Long Jump, 19-6 1/2, 7th
Ashley Wildhaber, Pole Vault, 12-9i, 14th
Dallon Williams, Mile, 5:00.67, 16th
Dallon Williams, 5,000m, 16:41.19, 3rd
Angela Wishaar, 1,500m, 4:33.37, 19th
Tiffany Zahn, Javelin, 154-9, 4th
Double-Duty Dockendorf: Washington has had plenty of two-sport athletes over the years, but few, if any, have attempted to compete in two sports in one season. That was the feat accomplished this winter by gymnast/pole vaulter extraordinaire Carly Dockendorf, who in February entered an even more select group by competing in two different sports on the same weekend - on the road. With both teams in Boise, Dockendorf found time to win the all-around competition for the Husky gymnasts Friday night, then place fourth in the pole vault on Saturday morning at the United Heritage Invitational. Two-sport excellence is nothing new for Dockendorf - in 2003, the Port Moody, B.C., native set a UW gym record with three perfect 10s while pole vaulting her way to second all-time at Washington, and into the top-10 in Canadian history. A redshirt freshman in 2003, Dockendorf improved weekly, culminating with an eighth-place finish at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, in 12-11 1/2, the second-best outdoor mark in UW history. The weekend of Mar. 1, 2003, though, may have marked the most impressive display of Dockendorf's athletic ability. On Friday, Feb. 28, the redshirt freshman scored a perfect 10 on the floor exercise to lead UW to a dual-meet win, then turned around barely 12 hours later and soared 12-0 in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Invitational, among the best marks ever at UW. During the 2003 season, she established herself as one of Washington's top gymnasts, earning All-America honors and sharing the conference crown in the floor exercise with a perfect 10 at the Pac-10 Championships. A provincial pole vault champion as a prep, Dockendorf's vault best of 12-11 1/2 tied for fourth in the 2003 Athletics Canada rankings, and was the ninth-best ever by a Canadian woman. To qualify for Olympic s competition, Dockendorf will have to clear 14-5 1/4 at least twice before July 11, while also finishing among the top-three at July's Canadian Olympic Trials.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Stephanie McCann, 2002, 14-3 1/4
2. Dana Ellis, 2003, 14-1 1/4
3. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 3/4
4. Kelsie Hendry, 2003, 13-8 1/4
5. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
6. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
7. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
8. Adrienne Vangool, 2003, 13-1 3/4
9. Carly Dockendorf, 2003, 12-11 1/2
9. Rebecca Chambers, 1999, 12-11 1/2
9. Melissa Feinstein, 2000, 12-11 1/2
9. Sue Kupper, 2004, 12-11 1/2
World-Class Walker: He may have finished his collegiate career in March, but Brad Walker's legacy at Washington will undoubtedly last for decades. The senior, who had only indoor eligibility left in 2004, capped his career in Fayetteville, Ark., with a second-straight NCAA indoor pole vault title, successfully defending the crown he won a year before. Walker needed only to clear 18-8 1/4 to win this year's title, after having crushed the field by nine inches to win the 2003 crown with a height of 19-0 1/4 that 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 finished the 2003 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. Even having not competed at any of the major professional meets in the summer and fall, Walker still finished among the top-12 vaulters in the final IAAF World Rankings, and was named MONDO's West District Athlete of the Year. 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 record of 18-9 1/4 set by Stanford's Toby Stevenson. Having already bested the Olympic Trials standard of 18-8 1/2, Walker now needs only to finish among the top-three at July's U.S. Olympic Trials to earn a trip to Athens for the Olympic Games. The former Husky has already matched up well against his closest rivals this season, taking second at the U.S. Pole Vault Summit in January, and fourth at the U.S. Indoor Championships in February.
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
2004 Indoor Season Recap: For the second-consecutive season, Seattle's Dempsey Indoor was the place to be for indoor track and field on the West Coast. Five collegiate and three open meets kept the Dempsey Indoor statkeepers busy, with numerous U.S.-leading and top-10 world marks requiring constant revisions to the facility records. Twenty such records fell between January and March, while Husky athletes recorded five school records and 46 marks among UW's all-time indoor top-10. At the NCAA Championships, senior pole vaulter Brad Walker won his second-consecutive national title -a feat accomplished by just four Huskies all-time - while pole vaulter Kate Soma and miler Eric Garner each earned their second-career All-America honors, giving the UW three individual-event indoor All-Americans for the first time since 1988. The Huskies also played host to the 2004 MPSF Championships, with Garner and miler Ingvill Makestad thrilling the crowd with dramatic mile victories, leading the Husky women and men to third- and eighth-place finishes, respectively. The season was also notable for the performances of the Husky freshmen, who combined for five freshman records. First-year hurdler Ashley Lodree was the nation's top-ranked freshman sprint hurdler, clocking a best of 8.19 seconds that broke Claudine Robinson's 10-year-old school record of 8.21.
2004 NCAA Indoor Championships Recap: The five Huskies who traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., in March represented not only the team's largest indoor championships contingent since 1998, but also one of its most talented in the last decade. Three of the five Husky athletes earned All-America honors - the most individual UW All-Americans indoors since 1988 - while the Husky men earned their fifth top-25 finish in the last five years. The meet, however, belonged to senior Brad Walker, who in his final collegiate performance earned his second-straight NCAA indoor pole vault title. Joining Walker on the awards podium were junior Kate Soma, who became the first UW women's indoor All-American since 1994 with a fifth-place finish in the pole vault, and senior Eric Garner, whose eighth-place mile finish earned his second-career All-America certficate. Also competing for Washington were a pair of NCAA first-timers, including freshman hurdler Ashley Lodree, the 14th-place finisher in the 60-meter hurdles, and sophomore Ingvill Makestad, the 15th-place mile finisher.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2004 is in no way short on accolades. Eighth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed six All-Americans, including two-time NCAA champion Brad Walker. Second-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. Second-year sprints/relays coach Dion Miller in 2002 led Texas Tech sprinters to 13 All-America accolades, and a Big 12 title in the 4x100-meter relay, and is one of the most dynamic recruiters on the West Coast. Third-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 second-year distance coach Kelly MacDonald, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles, and is largely credited with putting together a women's recruiting class in 2003 that was ranked sixth in the nation by Track and Field News. Ironically, the most accomplished members of the Husky coaching staff are the team's two volunteer assistants - former Olympians Duncan Atwood and Hugo Munoz. Atwood, a UW All-American and two-time Olympian, works with the Husky throwers, while Munoz, who competed in the high jump for Peru at the 2000 Olympic Games, mentors the jumpers.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his second year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his seventh year overall on the UW coaching staff. In his first season at the helm, Metcalf led the UW women to 29th at the NCAA Championships, equaling their highest point total since the 1998 season, and guided seven UW distance runners to NCAA Championships appearances. In seven years directing Washington's cross country program, Metcalf has led the women's cross country team to seven-consecutive NCAA Championships, the seventh-longest active streak in the nation. Metcalf has coached nine 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.