Men Tally Six First Team All-Americans At NCAAs
2022 NCAA Indoor Championships
Friday-Saturday, Mar. 11-12
Birmingham, Ala. | Birmingham CrossPlex
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Washington did all its work on day one of the two day NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, held at the Birmingham CrossPlex. The UW men cashed in on all three of their entries, with two individuals and the four members of the distance medley relay walking out with podium finishes and First Team All-America honors.
Washington's men posted 10 points today, its most since the 2016 squad scored a program-high 24 points. It started with Jayden White delivering a stellar fourth-place finish in the men's weight throw. Moments after that event ended, Brian Fay kicked to sixth in the 5,000-meters final, the best finish in an NCAA 5k final in the history of the men's program. Finally, an all-King County men's DMR raced to seventh-place.
The Husky women's team had a harder day at the office, settling for Second Team All-America honors for all seven of its competitors today. Haley Herberg was tough as always in an 11th-place finish in the women's 5k final for her third career All-America honor. Anna Gibson and Madison Heisterman were unable to move through to the final of the mile. Then UW was dealt a hard bit of luck with a fall on the opening leg of the women's DMR, putting them well out of podium contention.
White (Everett, Wash.), technically a freshman due to the 2021 Covid-19 eligibility waiver, yet in his second trip to NCAA Indoors, became the first Husky male to score in the weight throw since 1986. He started strong, going 72-7 ¾ on his first attempt, and made it through to the final three rounds of throwing in sixth-place. White jumped to third with his round five toss of 73-6 ¾ and that would hold up for fourth when all was said and done. It's the second-highest finish event ever for a Dawg behind only the three titles won by UW legend Scott Neilson from 1977-79.
In his first NCAA track meet, Fay became the highest finishing Husky man ever in at 5k. The school record-holder from Dublin, Ireland used a late kick, the second-fastest final 200-meters in the field, to go from 10th and up into scoring position, crossing the line sixth in 13:28.48. The only previous 5k scorer for the Dawgs was David Bazzi, who was eighth at the 2001 NCAA Outdoor 5k. Andrew Jordan was ninth in the 5k at NCAA Indoors last year, and Isaac Green was 12th at NCAA Outdoors last year, so the Dawgs had been knocking on the top-eight before Fay broke through.
The Dawgs put together an all-local men's DMR, as Joe Waskom stepped into the mix to replace Fay, with the 5k and DMR being too close together to attempt both. Waskom (Snoqualmie, Wash.) led off the DMR and passed the baton in fourth-place overall with a great opening 1,200-meters. Anthony Smith, like Waskom hailing from Snoqualmie, carried for 400-meters and had a strong 47.06 split to keep the Dawgs near the front. Next came Seattle native Cass Elliott who split 1:48.77 on the 800-meters, passing off to Woodinville, Wash. native Luke Houser in about fifth. Houser split 3:58.61 for the final 1,600-meters to get the Huskies across the line in seventh-place with a time of 9:29.27 to add two more team points to the tally. It's the best DMR finish for the UW men since 2016, and also was the fifth-fastest time in school history.
Women's action started for UW with the mile semifinals. Madison Heisterman hit one lap to go in solid position but ran out of gas, and came through in 4:42.51, winding up 15th overall. In the next semifinal, Anna Gibson was sixth in 4:37.70, but that was two places and a second and a half away from advancing. Both earn All-America Second Team honors for the top-16 finishes.
Herberg led for the first several laps of the 5k, and despite relinquishing the lead during the second mile, she looked strong running around eighth-place. But for one lap, the pace slowed way down and all sixteen runners got back into a close pack, with Herberg losing a lot of her positioning at that moment. She worked her way back up to 11th by the end, still breaking 16-minutes, at 15:58.80. Herberg adds indoor Second Team All-America honors in the 5k to the outdoor one she earned last spring, to go with her 10,000m First Team All-America honor.
The last event for the Dawgs tonight was the women's DMR, but the Huskies unfortunately did not get to truly see what they could do. On the opening leg, Taylor Chiotti got tripped in a closely bunched pack and she fell hard to the track. At the first exchange, the Huskies were five seconds behind the nearest team and fifteen seconds behind the leaders. Still, the remaining Huskies fought gamely. Victoria Gersch posted the fourth-fastest 400-meter split on the second leg, running 53.87 seconds. Then Carley Thomas ran the fastest 800-meter leg in the field, despite essentially running a solo race. Thomas went 2:03.06 to pass to Allie Schadler on the anchor. Schadler went the final 1,600-meters in 4:39.15 to bring the Dawgs to the finish in 11:11.58. That was good for 11th overall and Second Team All-America honors for all four.