Washington Battles Top-Five Teams At Oregon

April 8, 2010

ON THE TRACK: After a one year absence, the Washington track teams return to the Pepsi Team Invitational, hosted by the University of Oregon this Saturday, April 10, in Eugene. The Huskies will send over sixty athletes to compete at Hayward Field in the meet, which will be one of just two scored meets the Huskies have on their regular season schedule.

Competition begins Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. with the women's hammer and javelin throws, and will run until approximately 2 p.m. Husky fans will want to take note of the rare chance to watch a track meet on live TV as well, as Comcast Sports Net will carry the meet live between the hours of 12 noon and 2 p.m.

The Huskies will be going up against full squads from Oregon, Texas A&M, Missouri, and Illinois on the men's side, and Oregon, Texas A&M, and Missouri on the women's side. Washington will have its work cut out for it, as both the Texas A&M men and women won the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championship, and the Oregon women won the 2010 NCAA Indoor title. The Aggies and Ducks are ranked first and second, respectively, on the women's side with the Huskies ranking 13th. The Texas A&M men rank second nationally with the Ducks third.

Scoring will break down as 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for the top eight places in each individual event, and 9-7-6-5-4 in the relays.

Returning to the Pepsi Team Invite gives Washington another look at Hayward Field, which will host the 2010 NCAA Championships this coming June.

Huskies to watch this weekend begin with Scott Roth in the pole vault, who will open up his outdoor season on Saturday after capturing the NCAA Indoor Championship back on March 12. Roth could be going after Brad Walker's school record of 18-6 1/2, after he cleared 18-9 1/4 during the indoor season. Roth's personal-best outdoors of 18-4 1/2 came last year at Hayward Field in his Pac-10 Championships win, so he should be comfortable in his surroundings.

NCAA mile runner-up Katie Follett is set to run the 1,500-meters for the second time this outdoor season. She opened with a PR of 4:15.04 at the Stanford Invite two weeks ago. Follett currently ranks third nationally, but the two women in front of her are Oregon's Zoe Buckman and Jordan Hasay, so it could be another battle at a very fast pace in the 1,500m. Senior standout Kailey Campbell, who ranks 10th nationally in the 1,500m with her season-opening time of 4:20.82, will drop down to 800-meters to bolster UW's mid-distance group.

Senior Anita Campbell is slated to make her 2010 season-debut on Saturday. Campbell placed third in the 10,000-meters at the NCAA Championships last year, and will be running the 5k on Saturday. She is the second-fastest 5k runner in school history with a best of 15:45.85.

Falesha Ankton should contend in the 100-meter hurdles, taking on a trio of outstanding Aggies including Gabby Mayo who was fourth at NCAAs last year. Former Regional qualifier Mo Huber also opens up the in the steeplechase, her first competition this season. Kelly McNamee in the high jump, and Shaniae Lakes and Lindsey Fleishman in the triple jumps compete for the first time outdoors. Brooke Pighin is the top seed in the javelin throw and went 160-feet in her season-opener at the Texas Relays last week.

For the men, freshman James Alaka will gear up for the 100-meter dash after opening with a 10.63 at Stanford. Junior Colton Tully-Doyle will look for a fast race in the 1,500-meters along with freshman James Cameron. In the 5k, senior Jake Schmitt will be in action after going sub-29-minutes in the 10k two weeks back.

In the field, aside from Roth, Zack Midles should contend for both the hammer and discus titles, and Angus Taylor will strengthen the hammer group and shoot for his first 200-foot toss. The men's javelin could be one of the most loaded fields, led by junior All-American Kyle Nielsen. Freshmen Joe Zimmerman and James Brookman have also looked very impressive in just one meet each.

NEW NCAA QUALIFYING FORMAT: Athletes, coaches, and fans will be dealing with a new format this year for NCAA Championships qualifying and competition. The old system with four regional sites sending five auto qualifiers apiece to the national meet has been tossed out.This year, descending order lists will be the focal point, similar to the NCAA Indoor Championships, though for the outdoor meet there will be no set qualifying standard whatsoever. Hitting a certain mark will not guarantee anything, but will place an athlete on a massive region-wide descending order list. And this year there are just two 'regions', West and East. Then based on set field sizes for each event, the top athletes in the west will head to Austin, Texas and the best in the east will meet at Greensboro, North Carolina for what are essentially the NCAA preliminary rounds. Athletes will need to qualify through those two large meets to move on to Eugene, Oregon and the final site of the NCAA Championships. For most individual events, there will be 48 qualifiers at each preliminary round site, while there will be 24 relay teams at each location. Multi-events are the only events that will still qualify directly to Eugene based on top scores.

HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The UW women's team currently comes in at 13th in this week's USTFCCCA outdoor rankings, with the first couple weeks of action added on to 2009 marks. The women's distance crew is providing the bulk of the points, with sophomore Mel Lawrence owning the top returning time in the steeplechase of 9:40.98, accounting for the biggest chunk of team points. Senior Katie Follett's PR in the 1,500-meters at the Stanford Invite has her ranked third this season and fifth factoring in 2009 times. The rankings will shift greatly once preseason marks are removed. As for individual rankings based purely on this season's marks, Follett is third, Kailey Campbell is 10th, and Mel Lawrence is 12th in the 1,500-meters. Brooke Pighin is 14th with her opening javelin throw of 160-10. On the men's side, the Huskies rank 37th, with the most points coming from Scott Roth and Ryan Vu in the pole vault, and Kyle Nielsen in the javelin, though those marks are based off last year's bests. In the current descending order list, Zack Midles is 19th in the hammer with a mark of 208-1. Jake Schmitt ranks ninth in the 10,000-meters, and Kyle Nielsen is 20th in the javelin, though if he matches his PR he will jump up to second.

ROTH WINS NCAA INDOOR TITLE AS THREE HUSKIES EARN ALL-AMERICA: Washington was low on quantity but very high on quality at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Track Championships hosted by the University of Arkansas on March 12-13. The Huskies sent two men and two women headed to Fayetteville and the four athletes collected one NCAA Championship and three All-America honors between them. The star of the show was junior Scott Roth, who captured his first career NCAA title in the pole vault, defeating the reigning indoor and outdoor champion Jason Colwick of Rice in a strategic battle. Roth cleared 18-feet, 4.25-inches on his final attempt while Colwick had passed that height and ended up missing a higher bar. With the victory in hand, Roth took one shot at a Pac-10 record 19-1 but came up short, so that target will carry into the outdoor season. Roth becomes the first individual NCAA Champion for the Huskies since 2007, when Ryan Brown won the 800-meter run indoors. He's the third Husky national champ in the pole vault in the past 10 years, joining two-time indoor winner Brad Walker (2003-04) and outdoor champ Kate Soma (2005), all coached by assistant Pat Licari. Roth was nearly joined on the top of the podium by senior Katie Follett, as Follett closed her indoor career with a second-place finish in the mile run. Follett led for the first few laps before Florida's Charlotte Browning made a move and was able to break away slightly as Follett sat around third. Follett kicked well and easily ran away with second in 4:36.39. She may have passed Browning with another ten meters, but Browning held on to win in 4:35.66. Still, it was Follett's best finish ever at a national meet and earned her the fourth All-America honor of her indoor track career, the most ever for a Husky woman. UW's third All-America honor came from sophomore Mel Lawrence, who finished ninth in the 3,000-meter run in 9:14.53. She joins Amanda Miller as the only Huskies ever to earn All-America honors in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. Junior Colton Tully-Doyle also competed at his first NCAA track championships, taking 12th in the 5,000-meters, which was just one spot shy of All-America honors. In the team standings, Roth's 10 points put the Husky men in a tie for 20th, while the women tied for 28th.

2010 INDOOR IN REVIEW: Another indoor track season is in the books, with Washington serving once again as a focal point for the entire sport with the series of meets at the Dempsey Indoor. But the story of UW's indoor campaign begins with junior pole vaulter Scott Roth, who captured the first individual NCAA track title for the Huskies since 2007. Roth was undefeated all season, and turned in the best clearance by an American man this year when he cleared 18-9 1/4 to win the MPSF Championships. Roth won his first national title at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas with a clearance of 18-4 1/4. His was one of three All-America honors achieved by the four Huskies that made it to Fayetteville. Senior Katie Follett had her best showing ever at a national meet, placing second in the mile run to earn her fourth indoor All-America honor. Sophomore Mel Lawrence was ninth in the 3,000-meter run to earn her first indoor honor. Junior Colton Tully-Doyle was one spot away from his first All-America award, as he took 12th in the 5,000-meter run. Roth's ten points helped the Husky men tie for 20th overall at NCAAs, while the women were in a tie for 28th. Follett and Tully-Doyle were the two record-setters indoors for the Dawgs. Follett smashed her own record in the mile, running 4:34.98 at the Husky Classic, while Tully-Doyle broke the school's 5k mark with a time of 13:48.86. All told, there were 26 new marks written into the UW indoor Top-10 list, and impressively, freshmen accounted for nine of them. The Dempsey again sent dozens if not hundreds of athletes to the NCAA Championships, as it dominated the descending order lists for every event from the mile to 5,000-meters. Looking at the Top-10 marks in the mile, 3,000m, and 5,000m, 20 of the 30 best times came from the Dempsey on the men's side, while 14 of the top-30 times on the women's side were posted on the Dempsey oval. At the MPSF Championships, the indoor conference meet for UW and many other Pac-10 squads, the Husky men took ninth while the women placed eighth. Roth won the pole vault title while Lawrence captured the 3k.

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