Huskies Qualify Five Plus Two Relays For NCAAs
SEATTLE -- Washington will have five individual entries and two relays in action at next week's NCAA Indoor Championships, hosted at the Birmingham Crossplex in Birmingham, Ala. The final fields of sixteen qualifiers in each individual event plus twelve relay teams were announced this morning by the NCAA.
The 17th-ranked Husky women's team will be represented by Anna Gibson and Madison Heisterman in the mile, Haley Herberg in the 5,000-meters, and their distance medley relay.
The men will have Brian Fay in the 5,000-meters, Jayden White in the weight throw, and their distance medley relay, which owns the No. 1 seed time in the nation.
The men could potentially have qualified all four of their sub-four milers to the meet, but chose to focus on the distance medley relay instead, with Fay concentrating on the 5k.
Gibson and Heisterman have both been churning out personal-bests this season in the mile and 800-meters and they are set for their first NCAA Indoor mile runs.
Heisterman was on the women's DMR at indoors last year, and was a 1,500-meter semifinalist outdoors last spring. Her mile PR of 4:33.24 ranks her seventh in the field for Birmingham.
Gibson is making her first NCAA Track Championship appearance with a breakthrough winter. She dropped her indoor mile PR by twelve seconds this season, going 4:32.24 to rank fourth in the field going in.
Gibson and Heisterman both ran on the women's DMR that qualified for NCAAs with a converted time of 10:57.69, that held up as the No. 9 time to qualify for nationals. They were joined by Carley Thomas and Allie Schadler to post that time. In Birmingham, expect Thomas to move from the 400m leg to the 800m leg, Schadler to remain the anchor, and the Huskies will likely run Victoria Gersch on the 400-meter leg and Taylor Chiotti on the lead-off. Chiotti just ran a mile PR of 4:37.42 and Gersch posted a 400m PR of 54.91 at the home finale last Saturday.
Herberg will run her first NCAA Indoor Championships after last spring she ran both the 5k and the 10k at NCAA Outdoors. She broke the UW indoor school record this season with a time of 15:39.19 to put her 12th overall in the field.
For the men, Fay goes in to his first NCAA Indoor meet seeded eighth in the 5k with his school record time of 13:24.00. Fay also posted a 3:55.14 mile time this season that would have qualified, but it's exceedingly rare for athletes to declare in both the mile and the 5k, as the 5k follows shortly after the mile semifinal.
Fay anchored the Husky DMR that posted the nation's top time, 9:21.10, to put UW at No. 3 in NCAA history. Luke Houser, Anthony Smith, and Cass Elliott were the first three legs of that record-setting relay, and all three will be headed for Alabama. Adding to the relay pool will be Joe Waskom, potentially taking Fay's place, as well as Isaac Green. Houser and Waskom could have made the individual mile field but will be focusing on the team for the DMR.
The one Dawg in the field will be Jayden White, now set for his second NCAA Indoor appearance in the weight throw. White improved on his own school record this season with a best of 74-1, ranking seventh going into the meet. He was 10th a year ago in his true freshman season.