Huskies Face Early Midterm at Pre-Nationals

Oct. 13, 2004

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On the Course:Just three weeks have passed on the University of Washington academic calendar, but the UW cross country teams already face an early test Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., site of the 2005 Pre-National Meet. Featuring 23 of the nation's top-30 men's teams -- including the 28th-ranked Huskies -- and 22 of the top-30 women's squads, the meet serves as a midseason barometer for the nation's top squads, and a chance to race on the host course of the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Each field will be split up into two evenly-seeded races, with the first women's race beginning at 11:00 a.m. Central time, and the first men's race at 1:10 p.m.

Last Year at Pre-Nationals: Washington's men showed the nation at last year's Pre-National meet that they were poised to snap their 10-year NCAA Championships drought, upsetting highly-ranked squads for a 13th-place finish. The team's 25-second, 1-5 interval was its best of the year, led by Eric Garner's 43rd-place individual effort. On the women's side, junior Lindsey Egerdahl set a terrific pace with a 32nd-place finish, but the Huskies failed to put another across the line for more than a minute, relegating Washington to a disappointing 16th-place finish in the women's gold race. Stanford proved unbeatable in Waterloo in 2003, winning both their men's and women's races at Pre-Nationals, and sweeping NCAA titles a month later.

Expected to Run: Following is a list of those UW runners making the trip to Terre Haute, Ind., for Saturday's Pre-National Meet:

Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Lindsey Egerdahl, Sr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn)
Marie Foushee, So., Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue)
Jamie Gibbs, Sr., Arvada, Colo. (Arvada West)
Kira Harrison, So., Bellingham, Wash. (Meridian)
Laura Halverson, Sr., Mica, Wash. (Freeman)
Meghan Lawrence, Sr., Bellingham, Wash. (Freeman)
Brianna McLeod, So., Jenks, Okla. (Jenks)
Trisha Rasmussen, Fr., Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge)
Dallon Williams, So., Turlock, Calif. (Turlock)
Angela Wishaar, Sr., Shoreline, Wash. (Shorewood)

Name, Yr., Hometown (High School)
Travis Boyd, So., Mukilteo, Wash. (Kamiak)
Andy Fader, Jr., Everett, Wash. (Cascade)
Jon Harding, Fr., Issaquah, Wash. (Issaquah)
Caleb Knox, Fr., Mill Creek, Wash. (Jackson)
Brad Liber, RFr., San Diego, Calif. (University City)
Mark Mandi, Jr., Everett, Wash. (Mariner)
Jeremy Mineau, Fr., Menlo Park, Calif. (Menlo-Atherton)
Matt Owen, So., Yakima, Wash. (East Valley)
Mike Sayenko, So., Bellevue, Wash. (Sammamish)
James Wilson, Fr., Yakima, Wash. (East Valley)

Meet Results: Results will be posted immediately following the conclusion of the final event to the official site of Indiana State Athletics, In addition, a full recap of UW action at the meet, including results and quotes, will be posted to Saturday evening.

Rankings Report: Washington's squads will have a chance to knock of several of the nation's top collegiate teams this weekend, and good performances should boost both squads in the eyes of pollsters, who appear hesitant to highly rank UW squads which have yet to compete outside the Northwest. Washington's men will will carry a No. 28 national ranking into the meet, their 51 points fifth-highest among West Region teams in this week's MONDO Men's Cross Country Rankings. Wisconsin sits atop the poll for the third-straight week, with a perfect 420-point total and all 14 first-place votes. Meanwhile, after opening the season tied for 16th, the Husky women were left out of this week's FinishLynx Women's Cross Country Rankings, failing to earn any top-25 mentions. Stanford solidified its hold on No. 1 with 12 of 13 first-place votes and a 389-point total, 11 ahead of No. 2 Providence. Both Husky squads earned top-21 finishes at the 2003 NCAA Championships to earn simultaneous top-25 rankings for the first time since October of 2001.

Peak Performer: Running for just the second time in a Husky uniform, at the Oct. 2 Willamette Invitational, redshirt freshman Brad Liber surged to the front of the pack and stayed there, leading all Husky finishers with a sixth-place individual effort, his fourth top-10 effort in six collegiate races (includes four unattached runs in 2003). The San Diego native will make his first varsity road trip this week to Terre Haute, one of five freshmen (redshirt and true) among the Husky 10 traveling to Pre-Nationals. A graduate of University City High School, Liber ran eighth at California's state cross country meet in 2002, and was CIF Champion at 3200m as a junior. Last year, Liber clocked 30:29.96 in his first-career 10K, and ran 29th overall at the U.S. Junior Cross Country Nationals.

Streaking The Field: When Washington's women were named to the NCAA Championships field last November, the nation's seventh-longest streak of consecutive NCAA bids was preserved. During the streak, the UW women have earned an automatic bid just one time -- in 1999 -- having been named a provisional qualifier on each of the other occasions. Three times over those seven years the Huskies have finished among the top-14 teams in the country, including an all-time best ninth-place finish in 1998. Interestingly, Washington has been led at the NCAA meet by a different runner in each of the streak's seven seasons. Senior co-captain Lindsey Egerdahl, the team's leader at the NCAAs last season, has a chance to end that streak-within-a-streak in 2004, and in the process become the first Husky since Tara Carlson in 1994-95 to lead the UW at nationals in two -straight years. Following is a list of the 10 longest active streaks of NCAA Championships appearances by women's teams:

, Team, Streak, Year Began
1. Georgetown, 16 years, 1988
2. Brigham Young, 15 years, 1989
2. Providence, 15 years, 1989
4. Colorado, 12 years, 1992
5. Stanford, 11 years, 1993
6. North Carolina State, 9 years, 1995
7. Washington, 7 years, 1997
8. North Carolina, 6 years, 1998
8. Villanova, 6 years, 1998
8. Arizona State, 6 years, 1998

Rare Double: Washington's cross country teams achieved a rare feat last season, placing both teams into the field of 31 for the NCAA Championships for just the third time in UW history. The feat had not been accomplished since the 1989 NCAA Championships in Annapolis, Md., at which Al Hjort led the UW men to a fourth-place team finish, the best ever by a Husky men's or women's cross country or track and field team. The only other season in which both Washington's men's and women's programs have qualified for national cross country competition was in 1977, prior to women's cross country's inclusion into the NCAA in 1981. Washington's women placed 12th that season at the AIAW National Championships, while the Husky men took 13th at the NCAA meet in Spokane, Wash.

Captains: Senior Lindsey Egerdahl, who led the Huskies to 19th at the NCAA meet last season, returns as co-captain in 2004, joined by first-time captain and fellow senior Laura Halverson. For the men, juniors Mark Mandi and Andy Fader -- the most veteran returnees from the team's 21st-place NCAA Championships squad of a year ago -- will attempt to build upon their NCAA experiences to lead a young Husky squad. Both juniors will be serving their first-career terms as captains in 2004.

From Big Macs to Big Time: Washington's Mark Mandi has come a long way from his days flipping burgers at McDonald's in Everett. Just three years after barely cracking the top-50 at the state cross country championships his senior year, Mandi ran 67th at the 2003 NCAA Championships, leading the Huskies to a 21st-place finish. The junior then proved it was no fluke with a win at last month's Sundodger Invitational -- his first cross country win at any level, and the first win by a Husky men's runner at the meet since 1993. Mandi did not begin running cross country until his junior year at Mariner, and admits to idolizing the prep runners who patronized the Everett McDonald's where he once worked. Mandi enrolled at Washington as a student before earning the chance to walk on to the Husky squad in the fall of 2001 and, after redshirting his first season at Washington, ran in the Huskies' top-seven in every race the following fall. He was again among the team's top-five runners at every meet in 2003, and is the team's top returning runner in 2004. Also a force at 10,000 meters on the track, Mandi boasts the seventh-fastest 10,000-meter PR in school history, and was the 10th-place finisher in the event at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships.

Leading From the Front: With no seniors on the UW's women's squad in 2003, head coach Greg Metcalf challenged junior Lindsey Egerdahl to be the team's leader. The Auburn, Wash., native did not back down, leading UW to 19th at the NCAA meet while finishing tops on the squad, in 85th place. Metcalf has placed the reins in Egerdahl's hands again in 2004, and for good reason. Since arriving at UW in 2001, the Auburn High School alum has soared up the all-time rankings, with a best mark of 4:22.38 for 1,500m that is the UW's seventh-fastest all-time. After being left out of all varsity races in 2001, Egerdahl ran third at the 2002 Sundodger Invite and never looked back, placing 14th overall at the 2002 Pac-10 meet and 20th at the NCAA Regional, before taking second on the squad at the NCAAs. Last year, Egerdahl went to the front when it counted, leading all UW finishers at the Notre Dame, Pre-National and NCAA meets. When she returns to the track in the spring, Egerdahl will be seeking to break into the upper echelon of the region's 1,500-meter competitors, after consecutive seventh-place Pac-10, and sixth-place Regional finishes in each of the past two seasons.

Who's That Girl?: That was the question on the lips of many Husky fans when senior Meghan Lawrence, previously unlisted on any UW roster, ran No. 1 for Washington at the season-opening Emerald City Invitational. A fifth-year senior at UW, Lawrence walked onto the squad just a week prior to the Emerald City meet, and earned official NCAA clearance mere hours before the race. Lawrence's team-best seventh-place finish at Emerald City and impressive work in training have earned the Bellingham, Wash., native a seat on the plane to Pre-Nationals, where she will be one of 10 Huskies battling the nation's best on Saturday.

Injury Impact: If the Huskies are to take both teams back to the NCAA meet in 2003, it's going to be without some runners expected to fill key roles. Most significant for the men are injuries to sophomores Carl Moe and Mike Sayenko, both key contributors to the team's high NCAA finish in 2003. Sayenko, who was struck by a car in July, is scheduled to make his 2004 debut this weekend, while Moe's return from a spring leg injury remains undetermined. Two expected to fill their roles, freshman prep All-American Tom Wyatt and redshirt freshman Adam Shimer, have also been sidelined, with neither expected to compete in 2004. The women have been equally affected, with sophomore Amy Lia, the team's No. 3 runner in 2003, yet to return from a spring track injury, and sophomore Alison Tubbs out indefinitely for the second time in three years.

Meet the Coaches: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his third year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his eighth year overall at the University. In seven seasons at Washington, Metcalf has guided the women's cross-country team to seven-straight NCAA appearances, and led the UW men to their first NCAA appearance since 1993. Metcalf has coached nine All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 65 NCAA qualifiers and 13 school-record setters. A 1993 graduate of Washington, Metcalf was a two-time All-American for the Huskies in the steeplechase. Metcalf is joined on the coaching staff by former All-Americans David Bazzi, the UW's school-record holder at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters, and Kelly (MacDonald) Strong, a five-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 Champion at Arizona State.

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