Huskies Vie For All-America Honors at NCAA Track Championships
March 7, 2006
On the Track: Ten Huskies will be among the collegiate elite seeking national titles and All-America honors this weekend at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Friday and Saturday at Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark. The Huskies' 10 competitors at the indoor meet rank second all-time among UW squads only to the 12 who competed for Washington last year, combining for a record 10 All-America honors. Five of those All-Americans return in 2006, including two of the four members of UW's fifth-place distance medley relay, and sixth-place long jumper Norris Frederick. For a complete listing of meet entries and a link to the 2006 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships time schedule, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
Event Schedule: Following is a time schedule for those events including UW athletes at this weekend's NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. All times are Pacific:
Friday, March 10
3:20 p.m. -- 60m Hurdles, Prelim (W)
4:00 p.m. -- Long Jump, Prelim/Final (M)
4:20 p.m. -- 60m Hurdles, Final (W)
7:15 p.m. -- Dist. Medley Relay, Final (M)
Saturday, Mar. 11
3:30 p.m. -- Pole Vault, Final (W)
6:05 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay, Final (M)
Meet Results: Results from the 2006 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships will be posted live to both www.NCAASports.com and the official site of host Arkansas, www.Ladybacks.com. In addition, a full recap of UW action at the meet, including results and quotes, will be posted to www.GoHuskies.com following the conclusion of each day's events.
NCAA Championships on TV: The 2006 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships will be rebroadcast on a tape-delayed basis by ESPN beginning at 11:30 a.m. Pacific time on Tues., Mar. 14. The two-hour broadcast typically includes most track finals, and highlights from each of the field events. Check your local listings to confirm the time and channel in your area.
NCAA Championships Quick Hits
How They Got Here: All athletes who meet the NCAA's automatic-qualifying standards in their events are guaranteed inclusion in the NCAA Championships field. In the event that there are not enough automatic qualifiers to provide full fields, athletes are selected in descending order of performance from those who have met the provisional standard in each event, creating fields of approximately 14-18 per individual event and 10-12 per relay. Each of UW's 10 qualifiers were selected from the provisional list.
NCAA Championships By the Numbers: The 10 Husky athletes who toe the line in Fayettevillewill be seeking to add to a long legacy of Washington success at the NCAA Championships. At least one UW athlete has won an NCAA title in each of the last three seasons, the team's longest such streak since Scott Neilson's string of four-straight NCAA hammer crowns from 1976-79.Twenty-four UW athletes have combined for 29 NCAA titles overall, a total which ranks 22nd among NCAA institutions all-time. Additionally, the Huskies have placed 269 athletes on the All-America podium, including at least one in each of the last 13 years, and 43 of the last 45 years. A record 16 Huskies earned All-America honors in 2005 alone, including 10 indoors, breaking the UW record of nine All-Americans set at the 1983 NCAA Outdoor Championships. A regular top-five finisher in the 1920s, Washington's men have placed among the top-15 at the NCAA meet nine times since 1970, including a high of fifth (tied) in 1979. The Husky women, meanwhile, boast five top-25 finishes, including a high of 10th in 1988, and a tie for 15th last year.
2005 NCAA Indoor Championships Recap: Twelve Huskies traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., for the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships and 10 came home All-Americans, both numbers all-time records for a UW squad. Included among the Huskies 10 All-Americans were five UW women, most ever for the team indoors, and three Husky freshmen. Senior Kate Soma led all UW finishers with a second-place effort in the pole vault to earn her fourth of five career All-America honors. Junior Ashley Wildhaber took fifth in the event while senior Lindsey Egerdahl placed eighth in the mile, the trio earning 13 points and a tie for 16th for UW, its best NCAA Indoor finish since 1988. Freshman long jumper Norris Frederick placed sixth in his NCAA debut, tops for a UW long jumper since 1965, while the Huskies' distance medley relay of Austin Abbott, Sean Williams, Ryan Brown and Andy Fader placed fifth to help the UW men tie for 28th with seven points overall. Freshman half-miler Amanda Miller and sophomore hurdler Ashley Lodree also earned All-America acclaim with respective ninth- and 10th-place finishes, while sophomore Stevie Marshalek placed 14th, and junior Carly Dockendorf 17th, in the women's pole vault.
Walker Goes For Gold: While his former teammates compete this weekend at the NCAA Championships, former Husky Brad Walker will vie for a gold medal in the pole vault at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Moscow, Russia. Walker enters Saturday's vault competition with a No. 1 world ranking to his credit, and the motivation to improve upon his silver-medal-winning performance at last year's World Outdoor Championships. The 24-year-old Walker won his second-straight U.S. indoor title in February, and has won three straight U.S. crowns overall, including the 2005 U.S. outdoor title. Walker set a Pac-10 record and won two NCAA indoor championships at Washington from 2000-04, and has since excelled professionally, winning three U.S. titles and a 2005 world silver medal.. Walker's lifetime best of 19-6 1/2 in the vault ranks sixth in U.S. history, and was the world's leading mark last season.
Rankings Report: Neither of UW's teams appeared in this week's Trackwire 25, which attempts to predict the order of finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Texas held onto a 54-46 edge over Stanford on the women's side, while defending men's champ Arkansas' 59 points remained well ahead of Florida State's 49. The UW did, however, earn mention in the top-10 of this week's U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings, which simulate head-to-head competition between the nation's elite college teams. UW's men ranked seventh in the Power Rankings with 312.78 points, while the UW women were fourth at 313.98.
Monster PR of the Week: She's a bit higher-profile than the athletes typically recognized in the this space, but of the limited number of competitors in action last weekend, senior Lauran Dignam's achievement in the 400 meters simply can not be ignored. The school-record holder outdoors, Dignam lowered her lifetime indoor best by nearly a second, from 56.32 seconds to 55.46, in winning the open quarter at Saturday's Last Chance Qualifier. The senior from Honolulu climbed to No. 2 in UW history indoors, and broke 56 seconds for just the third time in her career, and the first ever indoors. Dignam ran 55.97 versus WSU at Husky Stadium last year, and set the UW record of 54.41 in Pullman in 2004.
2006 MPSF Champions: Washington's men's team capped the major portion of its 2006 indoor season in dramatic fashion, defeating seven of the other eight Pac-10 teams for the 2006 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor conference title at Dempsey Indoor. The three individual titles, won by sophomore Norris Frederick (long jump) and juniors Martin Bingisser (weight throw) and Ryan Brown (800 meters), equaled the third-most conference titles in UW history -- indoors or out -- while the team's win was its first in confernce championship competition since winning the Pacific Coast Conference crown in 1928. The Huskies saw a 30-point day-two lead dwindle to just seven by meet's end, after scratches in the pole vault and triple jump and a dropped stick in the 4x400-meter relay. Still, Washington's 107 points were enough to hold off Stanford (100) and four-time defending champion UCLA (88) for UW's first-ever indoor conference crown. Junior Ashley Lodree's victory in the hurdles helped the UW women to fifth with 60.5 points, while Stanford won its fourth-straight MPSF women's crown with a 161-point total. In all, athletes competing at the two-day meet combined for 122 NCAA qualifying marks, while setting seven meet records and three facility bests.
The `Lo' Down: If only Ashley Lodree -- seeded seventh in the 60-meter hurdles at this week's NCAA Championships-- could have kept on running in 2005. The junior 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 10th-place finish in the 2005 NCAA 60-meter hurdles final indoors. Prior to the year, 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 and shattering her UW hurdles records indoors and out. Lodree also added to UW's all-time top-10 lists in each of the nine events in which she competed, and now boasts top-10 all-time marks in 10 of the 11 events she has attempted in her UW career, including four school records. In 2006, Lodree has already won a conference hurdles title and set two school records -- in the 60- and 200-meter dashes --while nearly breaking her UW hurdles record of 8.15 seconds in her season debut, clocking an 8.16 versus no significant competition at January's UW Indoor Invite. That mark -- just .01 above the NCAA's automatic-qualifying standard -- currently ranks Lodree seventh in the NCAA, and 16th among U.S. women this year.
Tracking Ashley Lodree in 2006 (Individual Finals Only)
Event, Time, Place, Date
60m Dash, 7.44, 1st, 1/14
60m Hurdles, 8.16, 1st, 1/28
60m Dash, 7.38 (UW Record), 3rd, 2/11
200m Dash, 24.42 (UW Record), 1st, 2/11
60m Hurdles, 8.17, 1st, 2/25*
60m Dash, 7.39, 3rd, 2/25**MPSF Conference Championships
Four-Minute Man: Washington sophomore Austin Abbott ran into the history books at February's Husky Classic, becoming just the third Husky runner ever to break four minutes in the mile. Abbott's time of 3:59.47 was UW's third-fastest ever, and one of just 10 four-minute miles by collegiate athletes in the nation this year. A graduate of W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash., Abbott enjoyed a banner freshman season in 2005, capturing All-America honors in the distance medley relay, and earning a third-place finish in the Pac-10 1,500-meter final. Abbott also set UW freshman records in the 800 meters indoors, and the 1,500 meters outdoors, including a half-mile best of 1:49.64 that was a UW record for two weeks, before teammate Shane Charles bettered it with a 1:49.59 posting. While his four-minute mile and subsequent second-place finish at the MPSF Championships earned him fame this winter, Abbott has chosen to forgo the mile in favor of the distance medley relay at this weekend's NCAA Championships. The sophomore ran the 1,200-meter leg of UW's record-equaling DMR at Notre Dame last weekend, and will anchor the relay at the NCAA meet Friday night.
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-America honors, and senior Kate Soma brought home the 2005 NCAA outdoor title. The story should be much the same 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
Double-Duty Dockendorf: There is no doubt that pole vaulter/gymnast Carly Dockendorf -- the nation's No. 2 returning vaulter, and the sixth-seeded vaulter in Saturday's NCAA vault final -- is one of the finest two-sport athletes in Washington sports 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 Outdoor 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 is nothing for Dockendorf -- as a prep, Dockendorf competed in volleyball, wrestling, rugby and soccer, in addition to gymnastics. The UW senior scaled back to just two sports in college, earning back-to-back NCAA gymnastics berths in 2003 and 2004, and three-straight NCAA track berths in 2004-05, including an All-America performance outdoors last season. 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. 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 ¼
6. Sue Kupper, 2005, 13-7 1/4
6. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
8. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
8. Adrienne Vangool, 2004, 13-5 3/4
10. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
Rare Double: From the first time she entered a vault competition -- going 12-1 1/2 at Husky Stadium in 2002 -- it was obvious that senior 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 an athlete to compete in multiple NCAA Championships in one year, to do so in two unrelated sports in which qualification is based on individual, not team, performance is extremely rare. She nearly repeated the feat in 2005, qualifying for the NCAA Track Championships indoors and out, but falling just one-tenth of a point shy of qualifying for the NCAA gymnastics meet in April.
Relay Rewards: The Washington men's team will have both its 4x400-meter and distance medley relay squads in action at this weekend's NCAA Championships, marking just the second time in UW history that the Huskies have qualified two men's relays for an NCAA meet. To find the only previous time the UW has achieved the relay double, one needs only to go back to last June, when both the Huskies' 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter squads competed at the NCAA meet, placing 10th and 11th, respectively. In fact, since LaMonte Vaughn, Jr. was hired to direct UW's relays in 2005, the relays have combined to earn five of a possible six NCAA berths, with the lone exception -- the 2005 indoor men's 4x400 meters -- having been the first team left off the provisional list in 2005. Vaughn's 4x400-meter squad broke a 30-year-old school record outdoors in 2005, and enters this week's NCAA indoor meet ranked ninth in the nation. The DMR, meanwhile -- directed by both Vaughn and head coach Greg Metcalf -- ran fifth at the NCAAs in 2005, and is seeded 10th overall this year after tying the school record of 9:35.35 at Notre Dame last weekend.
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 returnee Bruce Jackson. The time was a four-second improvement over the relay's previous best, and ranked ninth in the nation in 2005. The record-setting foursome improved to 11th at the NCAAs after a 14th-place finish in 2004, and enter this week's NCAA Championships seeking to become UW's first All-American 4x4 since 1998, and the first outdoors since 1990. Among those competing for the spot vacated by relay superstar Sean Williams are Seattle-area natives Jordan Boase of Bothell, an NCAA Championships 4x100m participant in 2005; junior transfer Alex Harcourt of Kent, whose lifetime best of 46.57 tops any current Husky; and senior Phil McCary of Kirkland, the team's alternate in 2005 and an NCAA Championships participant in 2004. They will vie to join returnees Jackson of Seattle, Ryan Brown of Renton and Grenada's Shane Charles.
Brown is Back: Less than two years ago, Ryan Brown was out of track and field, having walked away from a promising career. Barely a year after returning to the sport last January, however, Brown has won two conference titles, one regional title and a pair of All-America honors, and this weekend will become just the second Husky ever to compete on two relays at the same NCAA Championships. Brown's turnaround began in last year's Pac-10 800-meter final, as the Renton native outkicked Pac-10 favorite Jon Rankin of UCLA down the homestretch to win in 1:47.31, the second-fastest in UW history and the eighth-best by a collegiate athlete in 2005. Just two weeks later, Brown outkicked Rankin again to win the same event at the NCAA West Regional, and capped the year with matching 10th-place finishes in the 800- and 4x400 meters at the NCAA Championships. Last month, Brown made it two straight in conference championship finals, winning the MPSF Conference 800-meter crown in 1:50.35 to lift the UW men to their first-ever indoor conference title. Brown competed just one year at Renton High School, going undefeated at 800 meters as a senior. He walked on to the UW squad in 2002-03 and was terrific indoors, before leaving the team in the summer. Brown returned to the track in 2005, leading UW's DMR to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships and breaking UW's indoor 800-meter record, before embarking on his epic outdoor campaign. The junior enters the 2006 outdoor season with the nation's sixth-fastest returning mark at 800 meters, and will also run on UW's school-record 4x400m relay.
Dazzling Debut: Sophomore Norris Frederick has done everything he could to back up the hype that accompanied his signing with UW. After earning All-America honors in the long jump indoors in 2005, Frederick broke UW's freshman record in the long jump outdoors, qualified for the NCAA Championships in the high jump, and nabbed top-five Pac-10 finishes in both. In 2006, Frederick hasn't slowed a bit, clearing 25 feet, 2 1/2 inches to win the MPSF Conference long jump crown and climb to No. 7 in Trackwire's collegiate men's rankings. The 20-year-old Roosevelt High School alum is already the only UW athlete ever to long jump 25 feet and high-jump seven feet in his career, boasting career bests of 25-6 1/4 and 7-0 1/2, respectively. Frederick launched six long jumps over 25 feet indoors in 2005, the best a 25-foot, 6 1/4 inch leap that led all NCAA freshmen indoors, and ranked eighth in the IAAF World Junior rankings. Frederick placed sixth 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. As a prep, Frederick ranked second among U.S. prep high jumpers in 2004 with a best of 7-1, and fourth among U.S. prep long jumpers at 24-10 1/2. Frederick literally jumped out of his shoes at the 2004 IAAF World Junior Championships, tearing apart the footwear which guided him to five state prep titles. With borrowed shoes, he placed 19th in both events, and closed the 2004 season ranked among the top-35 under-20 athletes in the world.
Ridiculous Records: Washington's athletes have certainly been keeping the team's indoor record-keepers busy. Already in 2006, Husky athletes have combined for 50 marks among the Huskies' all-time top-10 indoors, including school records in the 60- and 200-meter dashes by junior Ashley Lodree, in the 5,000 meters by sophomore Jeremy Mineau, and in the heptathlon by senior Blake Bidleman. Washington's highly-acclaimed indoor facility, Dempsey Indoor, has certainly had an effect on the Huskies' indoor list, with 26 school records and an eye-popping 233 marks among UW's all-time top-10 having been achieved since the start of the 2002 season, UW's first in the facility. For a complete list of the top-10 indoor marks set in 2006, see the box on page seven of this release.
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 one of five 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 five 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 numerous Olympians, witnessed dozens of top-10 world marks, 22 UW indoor school records and thousands of NCAA qualifying marks, and is the host site of the MPSF Championships, the indoor conference championships for most major West Coast college teams. In addition to its competitive use, the building serves as an indoor practice facility for many UW teams, and hosts numerous banquets and rallies.
Dempsey Indoor Draws World's Best: If Washington's home indoor meets over the past five 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 the 2004 UW Indoor Invite. In 2006, numerous former Olympians put Dempsey on their schedule, including 2004 hurdles gold medalist Joanna Hayes, 2004 pole vault silver medalist Toby Stevenson, as well as 2004 Olympians Kristin Heaston and Goucher. Past luminaries include two-time Olympic medalist John Godina, U.S. Olympians Seilala Sua, Michael Stember and Paul Terek, as well as world No. 1 pole vaulter Brad Walker and highly-ranked Americans Jenny Adams and Alice Schmidt.
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. Metcalf was recently named the 2006 MPSF Men's Coach of the Year, after leading the UW men to three individual conference crowns and the Huskies' first-ever indoor team title. In his first three seasons at the helm, Metcalf 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 Championships competitors. 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 coached 12 All-Americans, including NCAA champions Brad Walker and Kate Soma. Second-year sprints/hurdles coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., meanwhile, had a banner first year, mentoring Ashley Lodree to All-America honors indoors and out and guiding two UW men's relays to NCAA 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, while 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 fourth-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 recruiting classes annually ranked among the nation's best. 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 UW, assisting husband Reedus Thurmond with the UW throwers. Atwood, meanwhile, was a two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, and has helped UW javelin throwers earn two All-America honors in his three years working with the team.