Huskies Host Final Track Tuneup Before Pac-10 Meet
May 5, 2004
On the Track: Washington's 14th-ranked women and 22nd-ranked men remain at home Saturday for the lone outdoor meet of the year at Husky Stadium, the Second-Annual Ken Shannon Invitational. In addition to being the final home competition for Washington's outstanding senior class, the meet marks the final regular-season tuneup before the Pac-10 Championships, next weekend in Tucson, Ariz. In fact, junior Grace Vela will bypass the Ken Shannon and head straight to Tucson for Friday and Saturday's multi-event portion of the Pac-10 meet, conducted a week prior to the main event. Action at Husky Stadium begins at 11:00 a.m. with the women's pole vault, with the first track event scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Admission is free to all spectators.
Walker to Modesto: Four-time All-American Brad Walker will compete Saturday for the second time since wrapping up his collegiate career with a second-straight NCAA indoor pole vault title in March. Walker will join a world-class field headed by American record holder Jeff Hartwig and Germany's Tim Lobinger at the Modesto Relays, scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. The Relays have special significance in Husky track history, having been the site of Brian Sternberg's world-record vault in 1963, as well as Phil Shinnick's unratified world-record long jump that same year. Already an Olympic Trials qualifier, Walker will be seeking to continue his climb up the 2004 IAAF Outdoor Rankings, which currently rank the former Husky fifth in the world this year.
Event Schedule: Following is a schedule of events for Saturday's Ken Shannon Invitational. All events are timed finals; all times are Pacific and subject to change.
9:00 a.m. -- Hammer (M)*
10:00 a.m. -- Hammer (W)*
11:00 a.m. -- Pole Vault (W)
11:00 a.m. -- Long Jump (W)
11:00 a.m. -- Javelin (W)
12:00 p.m. -- Javelin (M)
12:30 p.m. -- Shot Put (W)
12:30 p.m. -- Steeplechase (W)
12:45 p.m. -- Steeplechase (M)
1:00 p.m. -- High Jump (W)
1:00 p.m. -- 4x100m (W)
1:05 p.m. -- 4x100m (M)
1:10 p.m. -- 1,500m Run (W)
1:25 p.m. -- 1,500m Run (M)
1:40 p.m. -- 100m Hurdles (W)
1:50 p.m. -- 110m Hurdles (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Triple Jump (W)
2:00 p.m. -- Discus (W)
2:00 p.m. -- Shot Put (M)
2:00 p.m. -- 400m Dash (W)
2:10 p.m. -- 400m Dash (M)
2:20 p.m. -- 100m Dash (W)
2:30 p.m. - Long Jump (M)
2:30 p.m. -- 100m Dash (M)
2:30 p.m. -- High Jump (M)
2:40 p.m. -- 800m Run (W)
2:50 p.m. -- 800m Run (M)
3:00 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles (W)
3:10 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles (M)
3:15 p.m. -- Triple Jump (M)
3:15 p.m. -- Discus (M)
3:20 p.m. -- 200m Dash (W)
3:30 p.m. -- 200m Dash (M)
3:40 p.m. -- 5000m Run (W)
4:00 p.m. -- 5000m Run (M)
4:20 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (W)
4:25 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (M)
* - At West Seattle Stadium
Meet Results: Results will be posted periodically during the meet on a wall adjacent to the entrance to Tunnel 21 on the north side of Husky Stadium, Following the meet, packets of results will be available for coaches and meet officials in the Don James Center. Results will also be faxed to all participating schools, and will be posted online at www.gohuskies.com.
Historic Husky Stadium: On the shores of Lake Washington and with vistas of Mount Rainier, Husky Stadium's current capacity of 72,500 seats makes it the largest stadium in the Pacific Northwest and the nation's 15th-largest on-campus facility. Built in 1920 at a cost of $600,000, the facility has hosted some of the world's most prestigious meets, including the 1990 Goodwill Games, at which 33 Husky Stadium records were set. The stadium has also served as host of the 1971 NCAA Championships, the 1972 AAU Championships and the 1990 and 1997 Pacific-10 Conference Championships, and is scheduled to host the conference meet again in 2006.
Monster PR of the Week: Usually this space is reserved for an athlete whose PR is perhaps overlooked in the morning headlines, but it's impossible this week to ignore the nearly two-second PR clocked by Honolulu, Hawaii, native Lauran Dignam to lay claim to Washington's school record at 400 meters. Having never run below 56 seconds in her UW career, Dignam crossed the line in 54.41 seconds Saturday, and added a 0.4-second PR in the 200m for a 10-point dual-meet sweep in UW's win over WSU.
Rankings Report: A banner week at Washington State held the UW women steady at No. 14 in the USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings, their 361.83 points an 11-point improvement from last week. Pac-10 rivals UCLA earned an untouchable 448.52 points to rank first, ahead of Nebraska and BYU. UCLA also claimed the top spot in the Trackwire 25, the Bruins' 68 points knocking defending NCAA champion LSU to second with 56. Washington received two points from Trackwire, eight below the 10 necessary for top-25 mention. The Husky meanwhile, gained four spots from the USTCA this week, climbing from 26th to 22nd with 350.40 points, 16 more than last week's total. Nebraska was the USTCA's top-ranked squad for the second-straight week with 408.52 points, just holding off BYU at 404.31 and Florida at 402.33. It was Arkansas who held strong to No. 1 in the Trackwire ranking, however, the Hogs' 67 points comfortably ahead of LSU, at 49, and Florida, at 47. The UW men were unranked by Trackwire.
One for the Ages: Having been defeated by their cross-state rivals for seven-straight years, Washington's women entered last week's dual at Washington State determined to get back on the winning track. By the end of the day, Husky women had indeed downed the Cougars on the strength of one school record, one meet record, one of the top-10 marks in Canadian women's history, and seven marks among the top-10 all-time in UW history. Husky freshman Ashley Lodree accounted for 23 of Washington's 108 points in the historic 108-95 win, winning the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and long jump, and running on UW's 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays. Sophomore Lauran Dignam was outstanding, too, setting a UW record at 400 meters and running the sixth-fastest 200-meter mark all-time, while sophomore Carly Dockendorf set a meet record in the pole vault with a mark of 13-2 1/4, seventh-best in Canadian history. Junior Sidney Brown added the third-best triple-jump mark ever by a Husky woman, while Grace Vela climbed to 10th on UW's sprint hurdles list.
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 28 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.
Raising Arizona: So far in 2004, 53 Huskies (27 men, 26 women) have earned bids to Tucson for the Pac-10 Championships at Arizona, combining for 72 qualifying marks, well past last year's total of 55. Interestingly, none of the UW's three most prolific Pac-10 qualifiers were on the UW's roster last season, including freshmen Ashley Lodree (100m Dash, 100m Hurdles, Long Jump) and Dallon Williams (Mile, Steeplechase, 5000m), and junior transfer Grace Vela (100m Hurdles, Long Jump, Heptathlon). Pac-10 teams can bring a maximum of 24 athletes and three wild cards per team to the meet, and may place one athlete in each event for which the school has no qualifier. Thus, some athletes to qualify may not compete, and others not qualified may be entered in some events. Following is a list of UW's 2004 Pac-10 qualifiers:
Name, Event, Qualifying Mark, Pac-10 Ranking
Cristian Adams, 400m Dash, 47.72, 19th
Todd Arnold, 800m, 1:51.23, 14th
Todd Arnold, 1,500m, 3:48.47, 17th
Brandon Bailey, 400m Hurdles, 53.33, 15th
Martin Bingisser, Hammer, 197-7, 6th
Doug Blaty, Decathlon, 5,892, 12th
Travis Boyd, 5,000m, 14:29.90i, 30th
Preston Brashers, 5,000m, 14:35.05i, 35th
Will Conwell, Discus, 173-5, 4th
Phillippe Cook, High Jump, 6-8 3/4i, 9th (tie)
Patrick Davidson, 100m Dash, 10.68w, 16th (tie)
Warren Eickhoff, High Jump, 6-8 3/4i, 9th (tie)
Andy Fader, 1,500m, 3:48.34, 16th
Andy Fader, 5,000m, 14:10.81i, 21st
Eric Garner, 800m, 1:50.18, 7th
Eric Garner, 1,500m, 3:43.40, 5th
Brian Harris, Javelin, 221-0, 2nd
John Hickey, 5,000m, 14:11.39i, 22nd
Marc James, 110m Hurdles, 14.49w, 9th
McKane Lee, Pole Vault, 16-7 1/4i, 13th
Mark Mandi, 5,000m, 14:12.51i, 23rd
Carl Moe, 1,500m, 3:44.91, 7th
Cal Moe, Steeplechase, 9:14.65, 10th
Seth Perrins, Pole Vault, 16-5 1/4, 18th
Sam Roberts, Pole Vault, 16-6i, 15th (tie)
Andrew Robinson, Steeplechase, 9:23.54, 12th
John Russell, 1,500m, 3:45.06, 9th
Mike Sayenko, 5,000m, 14:34.55, 34th
Davaon Spence, 100m Dash, 10.55w, 13th
Sean Williams, 400m Hurdles, 52.93, 11th
Rigel Wise, Javelin, 220-6, 3rd
Name, Event, Qualifying Mark, Pac-10 Ranking
Mary Beeman, Shot Put, 44-0 3/4i, 20th
Sidney Brown, High Jump, 5-7, 11th (tie)
Sidney Brown, Triple Jump, 41-11 3/4, 6th
Camille Connelly, 1,500m, 4:34.80, 26th
Camille Connelly, 5,000m, 17:15.53, 21st
Cherron Davis, Shot Put, 45-5 3/4, 15th
Lauran Dignam, 200m, 24.34, 18th
Lauran Dignam, 400m Dash, 54.41, 9th
Carly Dockendorf, Pole Vault, 13-2 1/4, 8th
Lindsey Egerdahl, 800m, 2:09.66, 12th
Lindsey Egerdahl, 1,500m, 4:23.98, 10th
Marie Foushee, 1,500m, 4:38.30, 31st
Marie Foushee, 5,000m, 17:11.66, 18th
Laura Halverson, Mile, 4:58.75i, 18th
Laura Halverson, Steeplechase, 10:56.95, 8th
Kira Harrison, 800m, 2:09.80, 14th
Kira Harrison, 1,500m, 4:29.83, 16th
Cambrielle Jensen, 400m Hurdles, 1:01.32, 12th
Amy Lia, 800m, 2:09.73i, 13th
Amy Lia, 1,500m, 4:39.53, 34th
Ashley Lodree, 100m Dash, 11.85, 11th (tie)
Ashley Lodree, 100m Hurdles, 13.39w, 4th
Ashley Lodree, Long Jump, 19-6 1/4i, 11th
Ingvill Makestad, 1,500m, 4:23.76, 8th
Stevie Marshalek, Pole Vault, 13-3i, 7th
Brianna McLeod, 1,500m, 4:32.82, 22nd
Brianna McLeod, 5,000m, 16:59.50, 14th
Brittiny Roberts, Triple Jump, 39-6i, 9th
Kate Soma, Pole Vault, 13-5 3/4, 3rd
Megan Spriestersbach, Javelin, 164-2, 3rd
Brynne Steward, 100m Hurdles, 14.19, 17th
Alison Tubbs, 5,000m, 16:49.51, 10th
Grace Vela, 100m Hurdles, 14.13, 15th
Grace Vela, Long Jump, 19-6 1/2, 10th
Grace Vela, Heptathlon, 5,065, 3rd
Ashley Wildhaber, Pole Vault, 12-9i, 13th
Dallon Williams, Mile, 5:00.67, 21st
Dallon Williams, Steeplechase, 10:41.78, 3rd
Dallon Williams, 5,000m, 16:41.19, 7th
Angela Wishaar, 1,500m, 4:31.56, 19th
Tiffany Zahn, Javelin, 154-9, 4th
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.
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 No. 6 vaulter in NCAA history, Walker began his 2004 Olympic campaign with a second-place clearance of 18-6 3/4 at Mt. SAC in April, equaling the second-best outdoor mark by an American this year, and the fifth-best in the world in 2004. Last year, the Husky led all Americans 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, 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 Huskies to qualify for multiple Olympics. Thrower Gus Pope hurled the disc 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 UW athlete to have qualified for multiple Olympics, having done so in 1980 and 1984, but competed only in the latter, 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 - Canada's fourth-ranked women's miler - who could make the Games with an impressive outdoor campaign. For pole vaulter Kate Soma, the magic number is the U.S. Trials standard of 14-8 - 10 inches beyond her career best, while assistant coach Kelly MacDonald, currently the world's third-ranked women's steepler, seeks a trials qualifier of 10:00.00. Javelin stars Heather Reichmann and Megan Spriestersbach could also make the Games if they can reach Trials-qualifying marks of 178-10, and perform well at the trials in July.
The 'Lo' Down: It only took Ashley Lodree one meet to crush the UW's 100-meter hurdles record. But then, everything the 18-year-old 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. Lodree has since run eight hurdles races, with six under Robinson's old record pace, including a wind-aided best of 13.39 at the Texas Relays, and a legal record of 13.41 seconds at Drake. Lodree's efforts rank the freshman No. 3 in the world among junior-age runners in the IAAF's 2004 World Rankings, trailing only TCU freshman MaKeatha Cooper and Australia's Sally McClellan. Currently America's top-ranked junior - a classification roughly defined as any runner under the age of 20 as of Dec. 31, 2004 - and the 25th-ranked American woman overall, Lodree finds herself running out of records to set. On Mar. 6, the Richmond, Calif., native knocked Robinson off the top of the UW indoor charts with a 60-meter hurdles best of 8.19 seconds that was the fastest by a college freshman in 2004, and earned Lodree a berth at the NCAA indoor meet, where she placed 14th. Lodree also owns top-10 all-time UW marks in the 100 meters and long jump (indoor), and could compete in up to five events at next week's Pac-10 Championships. Lodree, however, isn't fazed by national acclaim. In 2003, she ranked among the top-five preps in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, placing third in the former at the U.S. Junior Nationals. Who are likely to be Lodree's chief rivals in the coming years? Following is a list of 2004's top U.S. junior women's hurdlers:
2004 U.S. Junior Women's 100-Meter Hurdles Rankings
Name, School, Mark
1. Ashley Lodree, Washington, 13.41
2. Shantia Moss, Pompano Beach (FL) HS, 13.53
2. Jacquelyn Johnson, Arizona State, 13.53
4. Alandra Sherman, Eisenhower HS (Houston, TX), 13.59
5. Amy Menlove, BYU, 13.77
6. Talia Stewart, Logan HS (Union City, CA), 13.80
6. Tiffany McDonald, Arizona, 13.80
8. Fatmata Fofanah, Pittsburgh, 13.83
9. Courtney Johnson, Indiana, 13.84
10. Jessica Ohanaja, Westbury HS (Houston, TX), 13.85
Garnering Acclaim: 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 boasting NCAA qualifying marks again in 2004 at 800- and 1,500 meters, he is also UW's top cross country runner, having led UW at all but one varsity meet in the past 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. With a season best of 13-5 3/4 that currently ranks 12th among American women's vaulters outdoors, and ninth among collegians, Soma has put herself in prime position for June's NCAA Championships. 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 three 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
Aloha Record Book: Track fans in Hawaii must have figured it was only a matter of time. Having seen Honolulu native Lauran Dignam tear through the state's prep record books to the tune of nine state titles - including five in 2002 alone - island track supporters probably weren't surprised to see Dignam, now a Husky sophomore, PR by nearly two seconds in the 400 meters at last week's WSU Dual, breaking Keisha Griffis' school record of 54.44 seconds by three hundredths of a second. Husky fans, on the other hand - who had never seen Dignam break 56 seconds in a Washington uniform - instead found themselves pleasantly surprised. As if to prove to those fans that the school-record mark wasn't a fluke, Dignam backed it up with another massive personal best in the 200 meters, clocking a time of 24.34 seconds to climb to sixth on Washington's all-time list. Without a Pac-10 qualifying mark in either event at this time last week, the sophomore in one day established herself as one to watch at the conference meet in Tucson next weekend, where she will likely compete in the 200-, 400- and 4x400-meter events. It's not as if Dignam's outstanding day went completely unforeshadowed. Earlier this year, Dignam showed a tendency for significant improvement with a quarter-second 200-meter personal best at the MPSF Indoor Championships, where the sophomore placed third overall. Even before her marks at last week's dual, Dignam was already the Huskies' 2004 leader in all three sprint events, and she led the team in the 200- and 400 meters last season. Maybe it's just the Cougars that bring out the best in Dignam - her season-best 200-meter mark in 2003 also came in dual competition against Washington State.
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. Vela enters this week's Pac-10 Championships heptathlon ranked among the top-10 in Athletics Canada's season rankings in five events, including the nation's fourth-best heptathlon mark. At April's California Invite, Vela scored 5,065 points in her first collegiate heptathlon, the fourth-highest total in UW history and just 728 points off the Canadian national lead. The junior is qualified provisionally for NCAA competition in the heptathlon, and boasts a Pac-10 qualifying best of 19-6 1/2 in the long jump that is Canada's sixth-best this season. Vela's outdoor success was previewed indoors, where she climbed the UW's all-time top-10 in the long jump and pentathlon. A graduate of Toronto's Vaughan High School, Vela 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 conference Athlete of the Year honors. Following is a list of events in which Vela's marks rank among the Canadian leaders in 2004:
Event -- Vela's 2004 Best, National Ranking; 2004 CanadianLeader
Heptathlon -- 5,065, 4th ; Kim Vanderhoek, 5,793
Long Jump -- 19-6 1/2, 6th; Alice Falaiye, 21-2 1/2
High Jump -- 5-3 1/4, 7th; Nicole Forrester, 6-0 3/4
Triple Jump -- 37-11 1/4, 7th; Althea Williams, 44-9 3/4
100m Hurdles -- 14.13, 7th (tie); Angela Whyte, 12.75
200m Dash -- 25.10, 12th; Yvonne Mensah, 23.74
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), three NCAA champions (Uusitalo, '86, Tom Sinclair, '79 Cary Feldman, '71) and three U.S. Olympians (Atwood, '80, '84; Rod Ewaliko, '80; Fred Luke, '72). In UW history, only the four NCAA hammer throw titles won by Scott Neilson eclipse the Huskies' national-championship prowess in the spear, which has featured more UW All-Americans (26) than any other event. Already this year, four Husky javelin throwers have have qualified for NCAA Regional competition, including senior Megan Spriestersbach's school-record effort of 164-2 at the Stanford Invite. Of the four, only Spriestersbach boasts NCAA Championships 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.
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. 28, Spriestersbach ranks eighth among U.S. women, and eighth among collegians, with a No. 4 NCAA West Regional ranking that has her in line to earn one of five automatic NCAA bids. 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
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. Last Saturday, competing for just the third time since capping the 2004 gymnastics season at the NCAA Championships in April, Dockendorf climbed into a tie for seventh in Canadian history with a vault of 13-2 1/4 at the WSU Dual, in the process becoming just the second UW woman ever to top the 13-foot mark outdoors. The mark also qualified Dockendorf for the 2004 NCAA West Regional, marking the second-straight season the Port Moody, B.C., native has qualified for NCAA competition in both sports. In 2003, Dockendorf set a UW gym record with three perfect 10s while pole vaulting her way to an eighth-place finish at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, in 12-11 1/2, then the second-best outdoor mark in UW history. 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 13-2 1/4 ranks fourth in Athletics Canada's 2004 rankings, and equals the seventh-best ever by a Canadian woman. A high national ranking does necessarily correlate to an Olympics berth, however - Dockendorf must still better the qualifying standard of 14-5 1/4 at least twice before July 11.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Dana Ellis, 2004, 14-5 1/2
2. Stephanie McCann, 2002, 14-3 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. Carly Dockendorf, 2003, 13-2 1/4
7. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
9. Adrienne Vangool, 2003, 13-1 3/4
10. Rebecca Chambers, 1999, 12-11 1/2
10. Melissa Feinstein, 2000, 12-11 1/2
10. Sue Kupper, 2004, 12-11 1/2
Triple Double: Teammates Brittiny Roberts and Sidney Brown became, in 2003, the first UW women's tandem ever to triple-jump 40 feet in the same season, with Roberts' best of 41-4 1/2 ranking second all-time at Washington, and Brown's 40-1 1/4 the UW's sixth-best mark. For perspective, only three UW women in the entire decade of the 1990s ever reached 40 feet in the event, and only six (including Roberts and Brown) have done it at Washington all-time.
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-meter final.
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 National 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 at Cal Poly, and owns a season-best of 1:51.95 at 800 meters.
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. The Huskies' 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 relays that swept Jamaican national titles in 2003. After splitting up to attend U.S. junior colleges, the two reunited at Washington this year. 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 200-meter list indoors, and Davidson ran a leg of the school's 10th-fastest indoor 4x400-meter relay.
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 eighth-ranked discus competitor, 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 UW's list of freshman records. Four such marks fell indoors, and distance runner Dallon Williams made it an even five with a frosh-record best of 10:41.78 in the steeple that is the school's second-best all-time. Indoors, Bothell's Amy Lia boasted two freshman records, in the 800m and mile, while two-time prep All-American Ashley Lodree set the school record in the 60-meter hurdles and tied for sixth-best ever in the long jump, and pole vaulter Stevie Marshalek, became just the second UW woman to clear 13 feet with a freshman record vault of 13-3. 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. Prep All-American Carl Moe boasts freshman records in the mile and 1,500 meters, the latter mark second-fastest by a college freshman this year. Spear specialist Brian Harris is an NCAA qualifier at 221-0, as is hammer thrower Martin Bingisser, who ranks seventh in Washington history with a best of 197-7. Currently, freshmen and transfers top the UW rankings in 15 events, including eight for the men.
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 took second at the U.S. Pole Vault Summit in January, fourth at the U.S. Indoor Championships a month later, and is currently tied for second among Americans outdoors at 18-6 3/4.
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
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.
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.