Hill, Walker, Defend U.S. National Track Titles

June 22, 2005

SEATTLE - Former Huskies Aretha Hill and Brad Walker, will be among 13 current, former or future Washington track and field athletes competing for national championships this weekend at the USA Junior and Senior National Track and Field Championships, beginning Thursday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

The list of UW competitors at the national championships includes six former Huskies, four from the 2005 Washington track and field roster, and three members of the team's 2005-06 recruiting class. The top three finishers in each event will be eligible to compete for the United States at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, in August.

There will be even more on the line for Walker and Hill, each of whom enter the meet as defending national champions in their respective events. Hill -- competing as Aretha Thurmond after marrying thrower Reedus Thurmond in April -- has won the last two U.S. discus titles, and competed for the U.S. at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Walker, meanwhile, was the 2005 U.S. indoor pole vault champion, and placed sixth in the event at last year's U.S. Olympic Trials.

Representing the 2005 Husky track and field squad will be pole vaulters Kate Soma and Ashley Wildhaber, hurdler Ashley Lodree and jumper Norris Frederick.

Soma, a senior, won the NCAA pole vault title less than two weeks ago, and boasts a best mark of 14 feet, 1 ¼ inch in 2005 that is tied for the ninth-best by an American woman this year. Lodree, meanwhile, bested the U.S. 'A' standard in the 100-meter hurdles with a school-record time of 13.17 seconds at the NCAA meet two weeks ago, while Wildhaber -- an All-American indoors in 2005 -- is provisionally qualified in the senior women's pole vault.

While those three compete with the nation's best on the senior level, 19-year-old freshman Frederick will compete at the junior level in both the high- and long jumps. The Seattle native, who became in 2005 the first Husky ever to long jump 25 feet and high jump seven feet in the same season, is seeking his second-straight Junior World Championships berth, having competed in both events in Italy last summer.

Also competing at the junior level will be a trio of Husky recruits, including hammer thrower Zack Midles and distance runners Annaliese Chapa and Tori Tyler. Midles, a recent graduate of Olympia's Capital High School , led all prep hammer throwers in 2004, and will be the top-seeded prep in Saturday's junior men's event. Palo Alto native Tyler -- the 2005 California state champion at 3,200 meters -- will compete in the junior women's 5,000 meters on Friday, while Chapa -- the daughter of former Oregon great Rudy Chapa -- is entered at 800 meters.

Rounding the UW contingent are a quartet of former Huskies competing at the senior level, including 2003 UW alum Mat Schwinn -- a 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials competitor in the discus -- and Schwinn's UW classmate Sabrina Monro, entered in the women's 10,000 meters. Former UW javelin All-Americans Justin St. Clair and Rob Minnitti will also compete, and are among the top-10 seeded entries in the Friday's men's javelin.

For complete schedule and entry information for the 2005 USA Track and Field Championships, visit www.usatf.org.

2005 USA Junior and Senior National Track and Field Championships
June 23-26, Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

Name                      Event          Date	           Time (PDT)Annaliese Chapa*          800m Run       Thurs., June 23   3:00 p.m. (Prelim)                                         Fri., June 24     5:30 p.m. (Final)Norris Frederick*         High Jump      Thurs., June 23   11:00 a.m.                          Long Jump      Fri., June 24     10:00 a.m.Ashley Lodree             100m Hurdles   Sat., June 25     4:10 p.m. (Prelim)                                         Sun., June 26     1:25 p.m. (Semi)                                         Sun, June 26      3:07 p.m. (Final)Zack Midles*              Hammer         Sat., June 25     11:00 a.m.Rob Minnitti              Javelin        Fri., June 24     7:30 p.m.Sabrina Monro             10,000m Run    Fri., June 24     9:01 p.m.Mat Schwinn               Discus         Thurs., June 23   5:00 p.m.Kate Soma                 Pole Vault     Sat., June 25     11:00 a.m.Justin St. Clair          Javelin        Fri., June 24     7:30 p.m.Aretha (Hill) Thurmond    Discus         Thurs., June 23   7:30 p.m.Tori Tyler*               5,000m Run     Fri., June 24     8:29 p.m.Brad Walker               Pole Vault     Thurs., June 23   6:30 p.m.Ashley Wildhaber**        Pole Vault     Sat., June 25     5:00 p.m.

* - Indicates Junior National Championships competitor.
** - Wildhaber's entry is provisional.

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