Ten Cougars Head to US Olympic Track & Field Trials

July 8, 2004

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Washington State University will have one current and nine former Cougars competing at the United States Track & Field Olympic Trials at the A. G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento over the next two weekends.

Current Cougar junior Matt Mason (Marietta, Ga.) will compete in the men's long jump. Mason reached indoor All-America status with his sixth place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships this year after leaping a school-record 26-feet, 6 1/4 inches (8.08m) earlier in the season. He also ran the high hurdles and on the 4x100m relay team but pulled a hamstring on the first hurdle at Pac-10 Championships prelims and struggled through the NCAA West Regional and withdrew from the NCAA Outdoor Championships after one attempt.

Two Cougs who just completed their eligibility this spring, sprinter Anthony Buchanan and thrower Tim Gehring, will also be competing. Buchanan finished seventh in the 100m dash at the NCAA Outdoor meet and earned All-America and is a two-time Pac-10 champion in that event. Buchanan, from Spokane, Wash., has run a lifetime best 100m time of 10.10w second and ran a hyper-wind-aided 10.15W and legal 10.21 this spring. Gehring, from Kettle Falls, Wash., earned All-America honors at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships. This spring he threw a personal-best which was the fourth-best shot put mark in school history at 63-feet, 6 inches (19.35m).

A pair of Cougar alumni who are currently on the WSU track and field coaching staff are also competing for a place on the US Olympic team. Ellannee Richardson, a five-time All-American in the heptathlon and relay team, will compete in the women's 400m intermediate hurdles. Richardson is currently an assistant coach at WSU working with the sprinters and hurdlers after finishing her collegiate eligibility in 2003. She won the women's Olympic Development 400m hurdles race at the Home Depot Track & Field Invitational (Carson, Calif.) in May with a PR time of 55.99 seconds. Earlier this year, Richardson, ran the fastest time in the women's 400m dash prelims (PR 52.93) at the 2004 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships at Boston, and finished fifth (53.66) in the final. She went on to compete at the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Championships at Budapest, Hungary, as a member of the USA National Indoor Track and Field women's 4x400m relay team. Current volunteer assistant coach Andrea Thornton (Shelton, Wash.) will be throwing the discus at the Trials after tossing a PR distance of 183-7 (55.97m) this spring. Thornton is a two-time All-American who finished her collegiate eligibility in 2001.

Former assistant coach and All-American Francesca Green (Pasco, Wash.) will compete in the women's long jump after leaping a PR of 21- 3/4 (6.41m) July 3. After recovering from a ruptured Achilles, Green moved to West Lafayette, Ind., to train with former Cougar assistant and All-American high jumper Lissa Gray Olson at Purdue.

Cougar All-American high hurdlers Dominique Arnold (Long Beach, Calif.) and Arend Watkins (San Jose, Calif.), and Eric Dudley (Bellingham, Wash.), round out the WSU competitor contingent. Arnold won the NCAA Outdoor 110m hurdles title in 1996 and raced in the US Trials for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games but did not finish in the final. Watkins fell in the final at the 2001 NCAA Outdoor Championships but was a two-time Pac-10 high hurdles champion. Arnold and Watkins hold second and third in the WSU all-time records for the high hurdles. Arnold's run the sixth-fastest time among American men this year at 13.31 seconds while Watkins' time of 13.34 is eighth fastest.Dudley, the 2001 Pac-10 intermediate hurdles champion and fifth place finisher at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, has run a time of 49.59 seconds this year, 17th fastest among U.S. men. Dudley's collegiate PR time of 49.59 is ranked second best in the WSU all-time 400m hurdlers.

Seven-time All-American and Cougar discus record-holder Ian Waltz (Post Falls, Idaho) will throw the discus at the Trials. He won the Pac-10 discus titles in 1997 and again in 2000 as well as the shot put title in 1997. His discus throw of 212-3 (64.70m) is the seventh-farthest this year by an American man.

As for advancing to the Athens Olympic Games, the U.S. must submit no more than four athletes by name July 21, 2004, in each individual event. Only these athletes may subsequently be entered into the competition and thereby become official Olympic Team nominees, based upon the qualifying standards met by these individual athletes by the qualification deadline of August 9, 2004.

Cougar Head Coach Rick Sloan as well as Associate Head Coach Debra Farwell, and Assistant Coaches Mark Macdonald and Kris Grimes are all in Sacramento for the Trials.

Schedule of Events for Cougars at 2004 US Olympic Track & Field Trials

Friday, July 9
6:00 p.m. Women's 400m Hurdles Quarterfinals Ellannee Richardson
6:10 p.m. Men's Shot Put Qualifying Tim Gehring
6:30 p.m. Men's 400m Hurdles Quarterfinals Eric Dudley
8:00 p.m. Men's Long Jump Qualifying Matt Mason
Saturday, July 10
3:00 p.m. Men's 100m Dash Qualifying Anthony Buchanan
4:20 p.m. Men's 400m Hurdles Semifinals Eric Dudley
4:30 p.m. Men's Shot Put Final Tim Gehring
5:10 p.m. Women's Discus Qualifying Andrea Thornton
6:30 p.m. Women's 400m Hurdles Semifinals Ellannee Richardson
Sunday, July 11
2:30 p.m. Men's 100m Dash Semifinals Anthony Buchanan
3:30 p.m. Men's Long Jump Final Matt Mason
4:14 p.m. Women's 400m Hurdles Final Ellannee Richardson
4:30 p.m. Men's 400m Hurdles Final Eric Dudley
4:48 p.m. Men's 100m Dash Final Anthony Buchanan
Monday, July 12
7:30 p.m. Women's Discus Finals Andrea Thornton
8:40 p.m. Women's Long Jump Qualifying Francesca Green
Thursday, July 15
5:45 p.m. Women's Long Jump Finals Francesca Green
Friday, July 16
5:00 p.m. Men's Discus Qualifying Ian Waltz
Saturday, July 17
12:35 p.m. Men's 110m Hurdles Qualifying Dominique Arnold and Arend Watkins
2:30 p.m. Men's 110m Hurdles Quarterfinals Dominique Arnold and Arend Watkins
Saturday, July 18
3:00 p.m. Men's 110m Hurdles Semifinals Dominique Arnold and Arend Watkins
3:05 p.m. Men's Discus Final Ian Waltz
5:13 p.m. Men's 110m Hurdles Final Dominique Arnold and Arend Watkins

Television Schedule Of U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials (Pacific Times Listed):
Fri. July 9 8 - 11 p.m. USA Network
Sat. July 10 5 - 6 p.m. NBC
Sun. July 11 4 - 5 p.m. NBC
Mon. July 12 7 - 10 p.m. USA Network
Thurs. July 15 7 - 9 p.m. USA Network
Fri. July 16 8 - 10 p.m. USA Network
Sat. July 17 2 - 3 p.m. NBC
Sun. July 18 4 - 6 p.m. NBC
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