Big Week Ahead for UW Track at Olympic Trials, World Juniors

July 8, 2004

SEATTLE, Wash. - Competition in three countries highlights the Washington track and field schedule this week, as several athletes seek Olympic berths in the U.S. and Canada, while others compete in Italy for World Junior Championships.

2004 USA Track and Field Olympic Trials Preview
Berths to August's XXVII Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, will be on the line for seven Huskies past and present competing over the next 10 days in Sacramento, Calif., at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, hosted by Sacramento State University. The top-three finishers in each event at the Trials, which begin Friday and conclude July 18, will earn automatic berths on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, provided those athletes have met the Games' standard in their events.

Washington will have athletes in action on each of the meet's 10 days, which will be broadcast on a tape-delay basis by USA and NBC. A full television schedule is included at the bottom of this release.

Two-time indoor NCAA champion Brad Walker will begin the final stages of his quest for an Olympics berth Friday in the qualifying round of the men's pole vault. The Spokane, Wash., native currently ranks third in the world in 2004 with a season-best of 19 feet, 1 inch, but will be fourth seed in the Trials field behind current world leader Toby Stevenson, 2000 Olympic finalist Tim Mack, and American record holder Jeff Hartwig.

In all, six of the world's top-10 vaulters in 2004 hail from the United States, but only three will advance to Athens.

'We're all so close mark-wise; it's just going to come down to who comes ready to compete on that day,' Walker said earlier this year.

Also competing Friday will be Lakewood, Wash., native Megan Spriestersbach, who capped her collegiate career in June with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Texas. Spriestersbach's final throw in a Washington uniform soared 173 feet, 7 inches, ranking the Husky eighth entering Friday night's qualifying.

The meet's first weekend will also be highlighted by reigning U.S. discus champion Aretha Hill, who will be seeking to represent the UW in Olympics competition for the second time in her career. A four-time NCAA All-American and the 1998 NCAA runner-up, Hill earned her first Olympics berth as a UW sophomore in 1996, placing 35th in the discus at the Olympic Games in Athens. Eight years later, Hill enters this weekend's competition with a best throw of 215 feet, 9 inches in 2004, tops by an American and seventh-best in the world.

Four more Huskies will be action when the Trials resume next weekend, including UW senior-to-be Kate Soma in the pole vault. The 2004 Pac-10 champion and NCAA runner-up, Soma became just the eighth woman in Pac-10 history ever to clear 14 feet with a winning mark of 14-2 at May's Pac-10 Championships. A three-time NCAA All-American, Soma enters next Friday's women's vault qualifying round as the nation's 13th-ranked competitor, and will likely need to clear 15 feet to make the U.S. Olympic Team.

Also competing on the meet's second weekend will be Husky assistant coach Kelly MacDonald in the steeplechase, and javelin throwers Rob Minnitti and Justin St. Clair.

Minnitti and St. Clair, the latter an All-American at UW in 1999, both competed at Washington for multiple seasons before completing their careers at Boise State. MacDonald, currently a UW distance coach, was a five-time All-American at Arizona State during her undergraduate career.

2004 Canada Dry Track Canadian Track and Field Championships Preview
Those seven won't be the only Huskies seeking Olympics berths in the coming week, as Canadians Carly Dockendorf and Courtney Inman compete in the 2004 Canada Dry Canadian Track and Field Championships in Ottawa.

Currently ranked seventh among Canadian women with a 1,500-meter season best of 4 minutes, 12.35 seconds, Inman has yet to achieve Canada's 'B' qualifying standard in the event, meaning she can earn an Olympics berth only by meeting Canada's 'A' and 'B' standards in her preliminary and finals races at this weekend's Championships. A native of Vancouver, Inman capped her collegiate career in June of 2003 with a seventh-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA Championships, crushing the Huskies' 22-year-old school record in the process.

Dockendorf, meanwhile, has also not met the 'B' standard and is ineligible for an Olympics berth, but can still challenge for a national title as Canada's fifth-ranked competitor in the pole vault. The Port Moody, B.C., native, at UW on a gymnastics scholarship, began pole vaulting just two years ago, after observing the Husky vaulters practicing at Dempsey Indoor. In that short time, Dockendorf has vaulted herself into seventh in Canadian history in the event at 13-3 1/2, and was the 11th-place finisher at the 2004 NCAA Championships. Also an NCAA gymnastics competitor in the floor exercise in 2004, Dockendorf is the only documented UW athlete ever to qualify individually for NCAA Championships competition in two unrelated sports in the same year.

Competition in the 1,500 meters at the Championships begins with the preliminary heats Saturday at 2:40 p.m. Pacific, before the final Sunday at 12:35 p.m. The women's pole vault will be run as a straight final at 1:30 p.m. Pacific on Friday.

2004 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships Preview
Rounding out a busy weekend for Husky track will be a pair of UW freshmen in the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Grosseto, Italy, July 12-18. Both Stevie Marshalek of Kent and Brian Harris of Hillsboro, Ore., earned berths on the U.S. team for the World Junior meet with second-place finishes at the U.S. Junior Championships in June, Marshalek in the pole vault and Harris in the javelin.

The state prep record holder indoors and out at both the 3A and 4A levels, Marshalek set freshman records at Washington in both competition venues before placing 14th at the NCAA Championships in June. Harris, meanwhile, narrowly missed an NCAA berth with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, and was the fourth-place finisher at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships.

Women's pole vault qualifying begins Wednesday, July 14 at 1:40 a.m. Pacific time, with the finals scheduled for Friday, July 16 at 9:15 a.m. Pacific. Men's javelin qualifying also begins Wednesday, at 1:50 a.m. Pacific, while the finals will commence at 10:20 a.m. Friday the 16th.

Husky fans can follow all of the action in Sacramento, Ottawa and Groessto through daily recaps at www.gohuskies.com. Live results of all three events will also be available online, respectively, at www.usatf.org, www.athleticscanada.com, and www.iaaf.org.

2004 U.S. Olympic Trials Broadcast Schedule
Date Time Network

Fri., July 9 11 p.m.-1 a.m. USA
Sat., July 10 8 p.m.-9 p.m. NBC
Sun., July 11 7 p.m.-8 p.m. NBC
Mon., July 12 10 p.m.-1 a.m. USA
Thu., July 15 10 p.m.-12 a.m. USA
Fri., July 16 11 p.m.-1 a.m. USA
Sat., July 17 5-6 p.m. NBC
Sun., July 18 7-9 p.m. NBC

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