Stage Set For Indoor Track Championships
2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships
Mar. 11-13 | Fayetteville, Ark. | Randal Tyson Center
Schedule of Huskies Competing
Thursday, Mar. 11
4:30 pm PT – Jayden White, Weight Throw Prelim/Final
Friday, Mar. 12
9:00 am PT – Jonah Wilson, Shot Put Prelim/Final
12:00 pm PT – Sam Tanner, Mile Semifinal
1:05 pm PT – Andrew Jordan, 5000m Final
5:00 pm PT – Katie Rainsberger, Mile Semifinal
6:45 pm PT – Women's DMR Final
Saturday, Mar. 13
12:00 pm PT – Sam Tanner, Mile Final
4:00 pm PT – Katie Rainsberger, Mile Final
5:00 pm PT – Allie Schadler, 3000m Final
SEATTLE – The track and field calendar has come full circle, back to the meet where the sports world, and the world at large, came to a standstill one year ago. This time around, with protocols in place, the stage is finally set for the NCAA Indoor Championships to go off this Thursday-Saturday, Mar. 11-13, in Fayetteville, Ark.
A group of ten Huskies will compete over seven entries at the Randal Tyson Track Center, hosted by the University of Arkansas. It's a largely new group compared to the squad that was set to go at NCAAs in 2020 when the meet was canceled one day out. Katie Rainsberger, Allie Schadler, and Olivia Ribera on the DMR are the only three returning this season.
Only sixteen athletes make the cut in each individual event, and twelve relay teams, making indoor nationals annually the toughest field to make. Team scoring remains the same, with 10 points going to national champions, 8 points to second-place finishers, and 6-5-4-3-2-1 for third- through eighth-places.
The end of the indoor track season will come just two days before the end of the NCAA cross country season as well. Both Washington men's and women's teams are qualified to race in Stillwater, Okla. on Monday, Mar. 15, to complete the unprecedented double season.
Live championship coverage will be streamed on ESPN3. Additional details on times of the live ESPN3 coverage will be forthcoming. A re-air of the meet will take place Sunday, March 14 on ESPNU starting at 9 p.m. Eastern. To access the live stream, visit ESPN3.com.
In the final National Track & Field Rating Index before the championships, based on NCAA entries, the Husky men's team ranks 34th while the women's team comes in at No. 29
The meet has been expanded to three days instead of two, and each day is split between men's events in the early part of the day, and women's events later in evening, in order to limit the number of people in the building at any one time.
Thursday's first day of competition will be the weight throw showcase. Aside from the multi-events, the weight throws are the only events set for the opening day. That means freshman Jayden White will make his NCAA debut looking to become the first UW men's weight All-American since Neil Kneip in 1986. White broke three-time NCAA Champion Scott Neilson's school record this year, which had stood 42 years since 1979. He is one of two freshmen in the field, and is seeded 15th with his mark of 71-8 ¼. The weight throw starts at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday.
Friday it will be another Husky thrower to kick things off. Jonah Wilson is the first men's shot putter at NCAA Indoors since 1998, as he comes in with a season-best of 64-2 ¼ to rank 13th in the field. Wilson last finished 16th in the shot at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He will start at 9 a.m. Pacific on Friday morning.
The first Husky on the track will be Sam Tanner in the men's mile semifinal at 12 noon on Friday. Tanner raced twice this winter, both times making waves. He first ran an indoor 1,500-meters in New York at the New Balance Grand Prix and ran the Absolute Collegiate Record at the distance, clocking 3:34.72 to most importantly hit the Olympic Standard. The New Zealand product then needed to get a mile qualifier for indoors and did so in impressive fashion, running 3:55.23 for the second-fastest in school history. It was fourth-fastest in the NCAA at the time but with scratches from other runners, now ranks second entering the meet.
Senior Andrew Jordan will toe the line in the 5,000-meter final at 1:05 p.m. Pacific on Friday. Jordan previously competed at 2019 NCAA Indoors while a member of Iowa State. The 2019 NCAA West Region Cross Country Champion exhausted his cross country eligibility but is off to a great start in his final track campaign. He ran a time of 13:44.70 at the UW Invitational and comes in seeded 14th in a race where anything can happen.
Switching over to the women's events on Friday, Katie Rainsberger has qualified for a fourth career NCAA Indoor meet and looks to add to her 11 previous All-America honors in track and cross country. Rainsberger is seeded 11th in the mile with her season-best time of 4:38.15. She took seventh in the mile back in 2019 and would have run on the DMR and in the 3k a year ago. The women's mile semis are Friday at 5:00 p.m. Pacific.
Friday concludes for the Dawgs with the women's distance medley relay at 6:45 p.m. Pacific. The group qualified 10th overall with a time of 11:06.16 from back at the season opener at the UW Indoor Preview. The plan is to go with a fresh foursome of Kelly Makin, Olivia Ribera, Marlena Preigh, and Madison Heisterman. Makin and Heisterman both set big mile PRs this season, Makin running a best of 4:41.18 and Heisterman a time of 4:39.70. Preigh is also coming off an 800-meter lifetime best of 2:06.06 at the Husky Classic. Ribera in the 400-meters has a season-best of 56.23 and a PR of 55.12.
Saturday, the finals for the mile are scheduled for 12 noon Pacific for the men and 4 p.m. Pacific for the women. Then Allie Schadler will get to be fresh for the 3,000-meters final at 5 p.m. Pacific to close things out for UW. Schadler was named the USTFCCCA West Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year, as she had NCAA qualifying marks in the 3k, the mile, and on the DMR. She will just run the 3k this week and then plan to run at NCAA Cross Country two days later. Schadler is seeded fifth in the 3k with a time of 8:58.13.