Vela Breaks Pentathlon Record at UW Invite

Jan. 28, 2005


SEATTLE - Husky senior Grace Vela broke Washington's indoor pentathlon record and took the 2005 lead among Canadian women Friday, scoring 3,723 points at the UW Indoor Invitational at Dempsey Indoor. The two-day meet, featuring 11 teams ranked among the nation's top-25, continues Saturday.

BYU's Liis Berendsen won the event with a 3,848-point total, while Portland's Julie Elliot was second at 3,769 and Vela third. Husky freshmen Bonnie Snyder and Liz Fuller also excelled Friday, each setting marks among Washington's top-10 all-time. Snyder placed eighth at 3,263, UW's sixth-best ever, while Fuller set the eighth-best mark all-time with a 3,051-point total, good for 14th Friday.

Vela's mark, which included personal bests in just two events, broke the 22-year-old UW record of 3,696 points set by Dianne Baumann in 1983, and is the top mark by a Canadian woman this year. The Toronto, Ont., native closed the 2004 track season ranked among the top-10 Canadian women in four events, and is the national heptathlon record holder in her birth country of Zimbabwe.

'Grace is way ahead of where she was at this point last year,' said third-year head coach Greg Metcalf. 'She's as driven an athlete as we have, and she's focused totally on succeeding at the NCAA Championships.'

Vela's mark was well beyond the NCAA provisional qualifying standard in the pentathlon, which combines the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800 meters. The Husky achieved personal bests of 8.75 seconds in the hurdles, and 5 feet, 5 inches in the high jump, good for a combined 1,758 points through two events.

All athletes in the field appeared to tire, however, as the meet stretched into the late hours of the evening, with marks down overall in the final three events. Vela posted bests of 34-4 in the shot put and 18-4 1/2 in the long jump, the latter more than a foot shy of her personal best, before finishing her record night just before 11 p.m. PST with a time of 2:31.32 in the 800 meters.

Also Friday, distance medley relays from UCLA and Arizona set NCAA provisional qualifying marks, while a Washington DMR featuring freshman Austin Abbott, sophomore Ryan Brown and Tim Freeman, and senior Andy Fader clocked a time of 9:51.36, sixth-fastest ever at UW.

For complete results from Friday's action, and a preview of events Saturday, visit

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