Huskies Sign Five of Nation's Top Female Preps for 2006

Nov. 21, 2005

SEATTLE - Five of the nation's top female prep distance runners have signed letters of intent to attend the University of Washington next fall, and compete for the Huskies' track and field and cross country teams, head coach Greg Metcalf announced Monday. The five, who are all high school seniors, will enroll at the University next fall and be eligible to compete in the 2006-07 season.

Interestingly, the group is entirely comprised of out-of-state athletes, including two from California, and one each from Utah, Hawaii and Colorado.

Prep All-American Katie Follett of Fort Collins, Colo., was the first to sign with Washington, setting an early tone for what has become perhaps the most outstanding group of early signees in UW women's history. In just three seasons at Fort Collins High School, the highly sought-after Follett has captured 15 individual conference titles and earned 10 all-state accolades, while winning 23 of the 34 cross country races she has entered.

'Katie's really the one that started the ball rolling,' Metcalf said of the current signees. 'She's a super-talented young lady, and one that just about any school in the country would have been proud to have on their team. We're excited that she's made the decision to be a Husky.'

Follett will be joined at UW by Redding, Calif., native Lindsey Kirschman, whose prep bests of 2 minutes, 11 seconds for 800 meters and 4:52 for one mile are better than all but two current UW competitors. The Enterprise High School senior won the 2003 Stanford Cross Country Invitational, placed 10th at the 2004 state cross country championships, and boasts three top-five finishes at the California state track meet.

'Lindsey is one of the fastest young ladies in America, bar none,' Metcalf said. 'She's the kind of athlete that could have an immediate impact on our team as a freshman.'

Also likely to make an immediate impression are Salt Lake City native Samantha Gaffney and Honolulu native Lauren Ho, who have combined for a remarkable 15 state titles during their three-year prep careers. Gaffney swept state cross country honors all four years at Salt Lake's Judge Memorial High School, and is a seven-time all-region and all-state honoree. Ho, meanwhile, boasts seven state titles and was the ninth-place finisher at the Footlocker West Regional Cross Country Championships, just one spot of shy of qualifying for junior nationals.

'Samantha and Lauren are going to be outstanding competitors for the University of Washington,' Metcalf said. 'They're fired up to be Huskies, and we're fired up to have them. They're going to accomplish great things.'

Rounding out the unprecedented five-member early-signing group is Mo Huber of Lafayette, Calif., a two-time top-10 finisher at the California state cross country meet and the state's No. 1 returnee at 1,600 meters this spring. Acalanes High School senior Huber has neever finished lower than 14th in four years of state cross country competition, and boasts a 1,600-meter best of 4:57 that leads all 2006 returnees in the state of California.

'Mo has been one of the best runners in the state of California for four years, and that's a hard thing to do,' Metcalf said. 'She's been successful right from the get-go, which tells me that she has a strong competitive drive and confidence in her ability. Those are two key ingredients to success at this level.'

Metcalf says that while the five will each bring unique characteristics to the Washington team, they do share some similarities.

'All of these young ladies have one thing in common, and that's a desire to win,' Metcalf said. 'We're going to have some very competitive practices next fall, that's for sure.'

Washington is expected to sign more high-school seniors in May, when the spring signing period begins. The Huskies open the 2006 track season on Jan. 14 with the UW Indoor Preview at Dempsey Indoor.

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