Olympians, NCAA Champions Help Huskies Open 2006 at Dempsey Indoor

Jan. 12, 2006

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On the Track: Washington's eight returning All-Americans and outstanding group of newcomers will have to be at the top of their game Saturday, as nearly a half-dozen former Olympians and an equal number of past NCAA champions help the Huskies' track and field teams kick off the 2006 season with the UW Indoor Preview at Dempsey Indoor. All but two of the Huskies' All-Americans will be in action, including a featured matchup in the women's pole vault of UW All-Americans Carly Dockendorf and Ashley Wildhaber against former NCAA champions Tracy O'Hara, Becky Holliday and UW's own Kate Soma. The men's vault -- featuring 2004 U.S. champion and Olympic silver medalist Toby Stevenson, Danish Olympian Piotr Buciarski, 2005 U.S. champion and former Husky Brad Walker, and 2004 NCAA Outdoor champion Tommy Skipper -- will also be a can't-miss event, while Olympians past and present also highlight the fields in the men's and women's mile, women's shot put, women's hurdles and men's 400-meter dash. Field events begin at 9:00 a.m. with the women's weight throw, while events on the track begin with the men's 5,000 meters at 10:15 a.m. Admission is free to all spectators.

Event Schedule: Following is a complete schedule events for Saturday's UW Indoor Preview at Dempsey Indoor. All times are Pacific and subject to change. For a complete list of entries with heat sheets, visit www.gohuskies.com, and follow links to the UW track and field schedule:

9:00 a.m. -- Weight Throw (W)
9:30 a.m. -- Long Jump (W)
10:00 a.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
10:15 a.m. -- 5000m Run (M)
10:30 a.m. -- Weight Throw (M)
10:30 a.m. -- High Jump (M)
10:45 a.m. -- 60m HH Prelim (W)
11:00 a.m. -- 60m HH Prelim (M)
11:00 a.m -- Long Jump (M)
11:10 a.m. -- 60m Dash Prelim (W)
11:20 a.m. -- 60m Dash Prelim (M)
11:40 a.m. -- Mile Run (W)
12:00 p.m. -- Mile Run (M)
12:25 p.m. -- 60m HH Final (W)
12:30 p.m. -- 60m HH Final (M)
12:30 p.m. -- Shot Put (W)
12:30 p.m. -- Triple Jump (W)
12:40 p.m. -- 600m Run (W)
12:45 p.m. -- 600m Run (M)
12:55 p.m. -- 400m Dash (W)
1:00 p.m. -- High Jump (W)
1:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
1:10 p.m. -- 400m Dash (M)
1:25 p.m. -- 60m Dash Final (W)
1:30 p.m. -- 60m Dash Final (M)
1:35 p.m. -- 60m Dash Master's (M)
1:45 p.m. -- 800m Run (W)
2:00 p.m. -- 800m Run (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Shot Put (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Triple Jump (M)
2:15 p.m. -- 200m Dash (W)
2:30 p.m. -- 200m Dash (M)
2:55 p.m. -- 3000m Run (W)
3:20 p.m. -- 3000m Run (M)
3:45 p.m. -- DMR (W)
4:00 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (W)
4:20 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (M)

Meet Results: Results will be posted periodically throughout the meet on a board at the south end of Dempsey Indoor. Following the conclusion of the meet, packets of results will be available at the finish line for coaches and meet officials only. Please allow 5-10 minutes following the conclusion of the final event for results to be processed and approved. Final results will be faxed to all local media and participating schools roughly 30 minutes following the conclusion of the meet, and will be posted to the official site of Husky athletics, www.gohuskies.com, within an hour. Any coach or SID wishing to have results e-mailed should send a special request to the UW Sports Information office at the e-mail address listed on the following page.

Dawg Bites
• Washington has boasted at least one NCAA champion in three-straight seasons, the team's longest such streak since 1976-79, and at least one Pac-10 champion in six-straight seasons.
• Washington's men return athletes responsible for 63.5 of the team's 75.5 points at last year's Pac-10 Championships (5th place), including six individuals and one relay that placed third or better.
• Washington sent three of its four relays to the NCAA Championships in 2005, while the fourth -- the indoor 4x400m squad -- missed by just one second. The UW's DMR placed fifth indoors, while the 4x400m and 4x100m squads ran 10th and 11th, respectively, outdoors.

2006 Season Preview: Never has a UW track and field team returned more All-Americans than the team's eight in 2006, nor has any Husky squad ever counted 16 NCAA Championships competitors among its preseason returnees. Gone from UW's record five-woman NCAA Championships pole vault contingent is NCAA champion Kate Soma, but All-Americans Carly Dockendorf (6th, outdoors) and Ashley Wildhaber (5th, indoors) return, along with NCAA competitors Kelley DiVesta and Stevie Marshalek. The Huskies also return a loaded group at 800 meters, headlined by All-Americans Amanda Miller (9th, indoors) and Ryan Brown (10th, outdoors). The 2005 Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional half-mile champion, Brown was one of a record four UW men to break 1:50 in the 800 meters last year, all of whom return in 2006. Junior hurdler and two-time All-American Ashley Lodree will make a run at an NCAA title in 2006, while sophomores Austin Abbott and Norris Frederick will each seek to repeat as All-Americans after record-setting freshman campaigns. In all, Washington's men return those responsible for 63 of the team's 75.5 points at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships, including six individuals and one relay to place third or higher at the 2005 Pac-10 meet. The UW women, meanwhile, boast six top-six Pac-10 returnees, headlined by the vaulters, Lodree and All-American miler Amy Lia. That deep returning group is further bolstered by a talented freshman class including 2005 U.S. prep hammer leader Zack Midles, California 3,200-meter champ Tori Tyler, and Israeli heptathlete Dariya Pavlov. Transfers, too, will make an impact, with former Oregon high jumper Teddy Davis seeking a second trip to the NCAA meet, and sprinter Alex Harcourt giving a boost to a UW 4x400m seeking its third-straight NCAA Championships appearance.

2005 In Review: The UW's track and field teams enjoyed another banner year in 2005, putting Husky athletes on the victory podiums at the Pac-10, Regional and NCAA Championships, while bringing home an unprecedented 16 All-America awards. Senior Kate Soma won the 2005 NCAA title and captured her UW-record fourth and fifth-career All-America honors. Sophomore Ryan Brown, meanwhile, returned from a 12-month hiatus to capture Pac-10 and NCAA Regional titles at 800 meters, and became just the 15th Husky men's runner to earn multiple All-America honors in one season with a 10th-place finish in the 800m, and a fifth-place finish in the distance medley relay. Brown also ran on UW's record-setting 4x400-meter relay, whose third-place time of 3:03.85 at Pac-10s was one of seven UWrecords set during the 2005 season. Sophomore Ashley Lodree set two of those records, breaking her own sprint hurdles marks en route to NCAA honors indoors and out, while freshman Amanda Miller became UW's fastest-ever indoor half-miler in an All-American effort at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Husky womens team's tie for 15th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships was its best team performance since 1988, while the UW's men's team's nine NCAA Championships competitors in 2005 equaled its total from the previous three seasons combined.

Brown is Back: Less than two years ago, Ryan Brown was out of track and field, having walked away from a promising career. So it was a bit surprising to see Brown outkick Pac-10 favorite Jon Rankin of UCLA down the homestretch to win the 2005 Pac-10 title at 800 meters last May, his time of 1:47.31 the second-fastest in UW history and eighth-best by a collegian in 2005. Two weeks later, Brown provied the race was no fluke by outkicking Rankin again to win the NCAA West Regional's 800-meter crown, the first regional title ever won by a Husky track athlete, and capped his season with matching 10th-place finishes in the 800 meters and 4x400 meters at the NCAA Championships. Brown competed just one year at Renton (Wash.) High School, going undefeated at 800 meters as a senior and defeating current UW teammate Tim Freeman for the state title. He walked on to the UW squad in 2002-03 and had a banner indoor season, before leaving the team in the summer. Since returning to competition in 2005, Brown has been on a tear, leading the Huskies' distance medley relay to All-America honors indoors and breaking UW's indoor 800-meter record, before embarking on an outdoor season that included a school record in the 4x400, and Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional 800-meter crowns.

Half-Mile Madness: Don't be surprised to see Washington dominating the Pac-10's 800-meter rankings in 2006. In addition to Pac-10 andRegional champion Ryan Brown, Washington returns four runners with lifetime bests below 1:50 in the event, the first such quartet in UW history. SophomoreAustin Abbott and seniors Bruce Jackson and Shane Charles each joined Brown under the 1:50 mark in 2005, including a mark of 1:49.59 by Charles that is a UW record indoors, and a best of 1:47.31 by Brown that is UW's second-fastest outdoors. The foursome each rank among the Pac-10's top-11 returnees in 2005, and will be joined by a freshman class boasting outstanding talent in the middle-distance events. Prior to the 2005 season, Washington had only boasted one other year, 1992, in which as many as three men's runners broke the 1:50 mark, while prior to 2005, no two Huskies had done so in the same season since 1998.

The `Lo' Down: If only Ashley Lodree could have kept on running in 2005. The sophomore from Richmond, Calif., ran the seven-fastest 100-meter hurdles times of her life in her final seven races of the 2005 season, capped by a 13.17-posting at the USA Championships to match the UW record she set two weeks prior in the NCAA final. Lodree placed 10th at USAs and fifth at NCAAs, the latter good for her second All-America honor in three months, including a ninth-place finish in the NCAA 60-meter hurdles final indoors. Prior to the yearm, some had wondered how Lodree could possibly top her breakout freshman season of 2004, which included two school records, five marks among UW's all-time top-10, an NCAA Championships appearance and a top-10 world junior ranking. Lodree, however, did just that, becoming just the sixth UW woman ever to earn multiple All-America honors, shattering her UW hurdles records indoors and out, and adding to UW's all-time top-10 list in all nine events in which she competed. Already a factor on seven of UW's all-time top-10 lists, Lodree added the 400-meter hurdles and 4x100 meters to her repetoire in 2005, and currently ranks among UW's all-time top-10 in 10 of the 11 events she has attempted in her UW career, including school records of 13.17 in the 100-meter hurdles and 8.15 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles.

Newcomers Ready To Roll: Washington's track and field teams may have set numerous records in 2005, but if the team's outstanding crop of newcomers has anything to say about it, those records might not last long. Freshman Zack Midles led all U.S. preps in the hammer last year, while junior transfer Alex Harcourt boasts a best of 46.57 for 400 meters that is just .01 shy of UW's all-time top-10. Former Oregon high jumper Teddy Davis, an NCAA competitor in 2004, is set to make his UW debut, while freshman Jordan McNamara should make an immediate impact in the distance events. The Husky women's team, too, will rely heavily on its freshman class, including top prep hurdler Falesha Ankton, hammer thrower Shannon Harvey, high jumper Laurie Roberts, heptathlete Dariya Pavlov and distance runners Tori Tyler, Brooke Lademan, Anita Campbell and Annaliese Chapa. The latter four were key to UW's third-place run at the 2005 NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championships, each earning All-West Region acclaim.

Vault Supremacy: The 2005 season left little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting. An NCAA-record five UW women's vaulters competed at the NCAA Championships in 2005 -- including four each indoors and out -- while three earned All-Americahonors, and senior Kate Soma brought home the 2005 NCAA outdoor title. The story should be much the same for Washington in 2006, as four of the five return, including senior All-Americans Ashley Wildhaber (5th, indoors) and Carly Dockendorf (6th, outdoors), junior Stevie Marshalek and sophomore Kelley DiVesta. All five, including the departed Soma, boast bests above 13 feet, a feat never before accomplished by any NCAA quintet, while three of the five -- including Soma, Wildhaber and Dockendorf -- rank among the 10-best vaulters in Pac-10 history:

All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year - Mark

1., Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2., Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3., Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
4., Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5., Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
6., Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
7., Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
7. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
9., Carly Dockendorf, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4
9. Ashley Wildhaber, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4i
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4

Rare Double: From the first time she entered a pole vault competition -- going 12-1 1/2 at Husky Stadium in 2002 -- it was obvious that junior Carly Dockendorf, already a decorated UW gymnast, was in an elite class of athletes. In 2004, though, Dockendorf moved into a class all her own, qualifying individually for the NCAA Championships in both track and field, and gymnastics. While it is not uncommon for a college athlete to compete in multiple NCAA Championships in one year -- track/cross country and volleyball/basketball doubles being among the most common -- to do so in two unrelated sports in which qualification is based on individual, not team, performance is extremely rare. The junior nearly repeated the feat in 2005, qualifying for the NCAA Track Championships both indoors and out, but falling just one-tenth of a point shy of qualifying for the NCAA gymnastics meet in April.

Double-Duty Dockendorf: There is no doubt that pole vaulter/gymnast Carly Dockendorf -- the nation's No. 2 returning pole vaulter, along with teammate Ashley Wildhaber -- is one of the finest two-sport athletes in UW history. The Port Moody, B.C., native added to her legend last March with a 17th-place finish in the vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas, just 19 hours after competing in Utah for the Husky gymnastics team. Dockendorf then closed the 2005 campaign with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, her vault of 13-9 1/4 equal to the ninth-best mark in Pac-10 history, and the fifth-best mark ever by a Canadian citizen. Balancing two sports, though, is nothing new to Dockendorf -- the senior earned back-to-back NCAA gymnastics berths in 2003 and 2004, and placed 11th in the vault at the 2004 NCAA Track Championships. Amazingly, Dockendorf has been pole vaulting for less than four years, having begun the sport only after watching Husky vaulters train during her freshman gymnastics season in 2002, and has still vaulted just 27 times in competition during her entire pole-vaulting career. Dockendorf began her two-sport double on a full-time basis in 2003, winning All-America honors on the gymnastics floor while placing eighth in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Championships. She completed her gymnastics eligibility in 2005 with the most perfect 10s (six) of any UW gymnast all-time, and will have one full year of track eligibility remaining in 2006.

Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year - Mark

1., Dana Buller, 2005, 14-9 1/2
2., Kelsie Hendry, 2005, 14-7 1/2
3., Stephanie McCann, 2004, 14-5 1/4
4. , Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 3/4
5., Carly Dockendorf, 2005, 13-9 1/4
6., Sue Kupper, 2005, 13-7 1/4
6. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
8., Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
9. Adrienne Vangool, 2004, 13-5 3/4
10., Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4

Dazzling Debut: Sophomore Norris Frederick has done everything he could to back up the hype that accompanied his signing with Washington. After earning All-America honors in the long jump indoors, Frederick broke UW's freshman record in the long jump outdoors, qualified for the NCAA Championships in the high jump outdoors, and nabbed top-five Pac-10 Championships finishes in both. The Roosevelt High School alum has already become the only UW athlete ever to long jump 25 feet and high-jump seven feet in their career, boasting career bests of 25-6 1/4 and 7-0 1/2, respectively. Frederick launched six long jumps over 25 feet during the 2005 indoor season, the best a 25-foot, 6 1/4 inch monster that led all NCAA freshmen indoors, and ranked eighth in the 2005 IAAF World Junior Rankings. The talented freshman earned All-America honors with a sixth-place finish in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet -- tops by a UW long jumper since 1965 -- and is one of just 12 Huskies ever to clear the seven-foot mark in the high jump. Success for Frederick, America's top-ranked junior-age competitor in 2005, was certainly to be expected -- he ranked second among U.S. prep high jumpers in 2004 with a best of 7-1, and was the United States' fourth-ranked prep long jumper at 24-10 1/2. Frederick literally jumped out of his shoes at the 2004 IAAF World Junior Championships in Italy, tearing apart the footwear which had guided him to five state titles during his four-year prep career. With borrowed shoes, Frederick managed to place 19th in both events at the world meet, and closed the 2004 season ranked among the top-35 under-20 athletes in the world.

Passing the Baton: Washington's homegrown 4x400-meter squad -- featuring three runners from the Seattle area -- was electric at the 2005 Pac-10 meet, breaking a 30-year-old UW record with a time of 3:03.85, including a 44.8-second anchor by junior Bruce Jackson. The time was a four-second improvement over the relay's previous best, and ranked ninth in the nation during the 2005 season. The record-setting foursome improved to 11th at the NCAA Championships after a 14th-place finish in 2004, and enters the 2006 season seeking to become UW's first All-American 4x400m since 1998, and the first outdoors since 1990. Among those competing for the spot vacated by relay superstar Sean Williams will be sophomore Austin Abbott, an All-American indoors in 2005; junior transfer Alex Harcourt,whose lifetime best of 46.57 is better than any current Husky; and senior Phil McCary, the team's first alternate in 2005 and an NCAA Championships participant in 2004. They will vie to join Jackson, junior Ryan Brown and senior Shane Charles, each members of the team's record-setting relay in 2005.

Former Husky Returns: While Washington fans may need some time to learn the names and faces of the team's talented newcomers, there's at least one new face on the Husky squad that should be familiar to all who follow Washington track and field. Former Husky Aretha (Hill) Thurmond returns to Montlake this year as a volunteer assistant throws coach, working alongside her husband, first-year UW assistant coach Reedus Thurmond. A four-time All-American during her time at Washington, the former Aretha Hill has made an even bigger name for herself since graduating from the UW in 1998, winning back-to-back U.S. discus titles in 2003 and 2004, and representing the United States at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games. Thurmond, who was elected captain of the U.S. team at the 2005 World Championships, boasts a discus best of 216-1 that is the third-best in U.S. history, while her collegiate best of 215-3 is Pac-10 record, and is the second-best ever by a U.S. collegian. Interestingly, Thurmond is just one of x former Huskies on the UW coaching staff, including head coach Greg Metcalf (UW, `93), assistant coach David Bazzi (UW, `01) and volunteer assistants Duncan Atwood (UW, `78) and Jacob Predmore (UW, `00).

Dempsey Indoor: In only three full seasons, Washington's Dempsey Indoor has already earned a reputation as one of the nation's top indoor competition venues. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. Dempsey Indoor has hosted more than a dozen Olympians, witnessed 15 top-10 world marks, 19 UW indoor school records and hundreds of NCAA qualifying marks, and is the host site of the MPSF Championships. In addition to its competitive use, the building serves as an indoor practice facility for many UW teams.

Dempsey Indoor Draws World's Best: If Washington's home indoor meets over the past three seasons have seemed to shimmer in gold, it is likely due to the numerous Olympians who have highlighted the fields at Dempsey Indoor. Adam Goucher, a U.S. Olympian in 2000, set a facility record in the 5,000 meters in his first of two appearances at Dempsey Indoor in 2005, while fellow Olympian Bolota Asmeron clocked a Dempsey-best 7:48.59 at last year's UW Indoor Invite. In 2003, numerous former Olympians put the Dempsey on their competition schedule, including former Husky and 2000 U.S. Olympian Ja'Warren Hooker, two-time Olympic medalist John Godina, U.S. Olympians Seilala Sua and Michael Stember, and Asmeron, who in 2000 competed for his native Eritrea. All set facility records in their events, while Asmeron clocked what at the time was the world's sixth-fastest 3,000-meter mark.

Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his fourth year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross country, and his ninth year overall on the UW staff. In his first three seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to three top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, and has guided the Husky men to consecutive top-30 indoor finishes in each of the last two years. Individually, 15 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with six grabbing All-America accolades, a list which does not include the team's All-America distance medley relay in 2005. In addition, Metcalf has led the Huskies' women's cross country team to the NCAA meet eight of his first nine years at the helm. In eight years atop Washington's distance program, Metcalf has coached 17 All-Americans, six Pac-10 champions, 13 school-record setters and 74 NCAA qualifiers. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeple, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2006 is in no way short on accolades. Ninth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed 12 All-Americans, including NCAA champions Brad Walker and Kate Soma. Second-year sprints/relays coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., had a banner first year at Washington, mentoring Ashley Lodree to All-America honors indoors and out and guiding two UW men's relays to NCAA Championships berths for the first time in school history. First-year throws coach Reedus Thurmond was a three-time All-American at Auburn, and captured the SEC discus title as a senior. Fifth-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is third-year distance coach Kelly Strong, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles, and is largely credited with putting together a women's recruiting class in 2003 that was ranked sixth in the nation by Track and Field News. Ironically, the most accomplished members of the Husky coaching staff are two of the the team's volunteer assistants -- former Huskies and U.S. Olympians Aretha (Hill) Thurmond and Duncan Atwood. A four-time All-American, two-time Olympian and two-time U.S. champion, Thurmond enters her first year at her alma mater, assisting husband Reedus Thurmond with the UW throwers. Atwood, meanwhile, was a two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, and has helped Husky javelin throwers earn All-America honors twice in his three years on the UW staff.

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