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Huskies Visit Eugene for Pac-10 Track & Field Championships
Release: 05/16/2000
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May 16, 2000

SAT. - SUN., MAY 20-21 - Pacific-10 Conference Championships Hayward Field, Eugene, Ore.

Saturday: 1:00 p.m. Field Events, 3:00 p.m. Track Events. Sunday: 2:00 p.m. Field Events, 5:00 p.m. Track Events

This Week: Many of the nation's finest collegiate athletes will converge on historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. for the annual Pacific-10 Conference Championship Meet, Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21. The Washington women finished seventh last season after placing fourth during three of the previous four years. The Husky men, who placed third in both 1996 and 1997, seek to improve on a ninth-place finish from last year. This is the premier conference meet in the country involving numerous world-class competitors. Former Pac-10 track & field athletes accounted for 12 medals at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, winning six gold, three silver and three bronze.

Former Champions: Washington athletes did not claim any Pac-10 event championships last year, but two former conference winners will compete for the Huskies. Junior Ja'Warren Hooker swept the 100- and 200-meter titles at the 1998 conference meet, earning Pac-10 Male Athlete of the Year honors. He capped an injury-plagued 1999 campaign at the Pac-10 meet last spring, finishing third in the 200 and fourth in the 100. Junior Anna Aoki outraced the women's 10,000-meter field in the 1998 and was the runner-up in 1999. A Washington athlete has won at least one Pac-10 individual title during 12 of the last 15 years. Two Huskies boast the best mark among Pac-10 competitors in their respective events: Hooker in the men's 200 (20.23) and 400 (44.91) and senior Ben Lindsey in the men's discus (198-11).

Athlete of the Week: Washington junior sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker received the Pacific-10 Conference Men's Track Athlete of the Week award on Monday for the third time this season after shattering a 10-year-old school record in the men's 400 meters last weekend at Husky Stadium. Running the 400 meters for the first time since 1998, Hooker clocked a sizzling time of 44.91 seconds on May 13 in the Seattle Pacific Invitational to break his second school record in as many meets. He shaved nearly one second off the Washington 400-meter record of 45.81 established in 1990 by Orlando McKay. That time is the fifth fastest in the world this year, qualifying Hooker for the U.S. Olympic Trials. The Ellensburg (Wash.) High School product is eligible to compete in three events at the Olympic Trials, having reached qualifying standards in the 100 (10.18), 200 (20.23) and 400 meters. Hooker will likely participate in only the 400 at the Trials that are scheduled for July 14-23 in Sacramento, Calif. The top eight 400-meter performers will earn berths on the U.S. Olympic team, including five athletes to train for the 4 x 400 relay. Hooker now owns three Washington school records, including the 200-meter mark of 20.23 that he set on May 6 in Provo, Utah and the 100-meter standard of 10.18 that he established as a freshman in 1998. The Pac-10 honored Hooker twice before this season, naming him the athlete of the week on April 17 and May 1. Hooker has reached NCAA automatic standards in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter events. He will likely compete in the 100 and 200 at the NCAA Championships, May 31-June 3 in Durham, N.C.

Back on Track: Junior Ja'Warren Hooker is back on track, literally, after struggling through an injury-plagued 1999 campaign. He was sidelined until mid-April of the 1999 season with a stress fracture in his left shin and was unable to defend the 1998 NCAA Indoor 55-meter championship he won as a freshman. That was the first NCAA track title for a Husky since 1988. Hooker placed third in the 200 meters and fourth in the 100 at the 1999 Pac-10 championships, but did not compete at either the 1999 NCAA Indoor or Outdoor meets. Upon his return in 2000, Hooker finished sixth in the 60- (6.68) and 200-meter (20.67) events at the NCAA Indoor meet and was named the Western Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. He clocked NCAA automatic qualifying times in the 100 (10.18w), 200 (20.23) and 400 (44.91). He won the Drake Relays 100- and 200-meter races to earn the Maury White Award at the meet's top male. As a freshman, Hooker was named the 1998 Pac-10 male track and field athlete of the year. He became the first double-event winner in Husky history at the 1998 conference championships, winning the 100- and 200-meter titles. After opening the 1998 outdoor season with 21 consecutive sprint victories, Hooker was beaten for the first time in the finals of the NCAA 100-meter championship in Buffalo, N.Y. where he finished third. Also during 1998, Hooker established a new school record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.18. He is the first Washington track & field athlete to garner Pac-10 Athlete of the Year honors since 1976 when the award was introduced. Hooker played receiver on the Husky football team his first two years (1997 & 1998). As a freshman in 1997 he scored four touchdowns, including an 89-yard kickoff return at Arizona the first time he touched the ball as a collegian. Hooker appeared in eight games during 1998, catching nine passed for 78 yards before a shoulder injury ended his season.

So Long Shannon: This weekend's competition marks the 32nd and final Pacific-10 Conference Championship Meet for throws coach Ken Shannon who will resign after 40 years in the coaching profession, 32 of them at Washington. Shannon served as the head men's coach at UW from 1969 until 1997 when he handed over the reigns to Orin Richburg and became an assistant coach. His 29-year tenure was the second-longest head coaching stint by a Husky coach in any sport, topped only by Hec Edmundson who served as UW track coach for 36 years from 1919-54. Shannon led the Husky men's team to 12 Top-10 NCAA finishes. His Washington throwers, both men and women, collected 26 conference championships and 10 NCAA titles. Under his tutelage, UW throwers competed in the Olympic Games on seven occasions. Shannon began coaching in 1960 at Occidental College and was an assistant at UCLA from 1964-68.

Coaching Staff: Ken Shannon isn't the only promient coach on the Washington staff. The Husky men's and women's track teams are coached for the third season by Orin Richburg, a nationally-acclaimed mentor who will serve as head coach of the U.S. National men's track & field team at the 2001 World Championships in Winnipeg. In 15 years as head coach of the Washington women's team, he compiled an impressive 72-25-1 dual-meet record since his arrival in 1986. The UW women's team ranked among the top-10 dual-meet teams in the nation every year during the 1990s. Richburg's 1988 Husky women's squad finished 10th at the NCAA championship meet, the best national finish in the school's history. His Washington teams have produced 10 conference and two national individual champions. The UW distance runners are in the capable hands of former Husky All-America steeplechase competitor Greg Metcalf, a 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials finalist. Metcalf coached the women's cross country team to an unprecedented three straight NCAA championship berths. Joining the staff this season as an assistant coach is former 400-meter world record holder and 1968 Olympic gold medalist Lee Evans. At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Evans won the gold medal in the 400 meters with a time of 43.86. That record stood for 20 years until being eclipsed in 1988 when Butch Reynolds ran 43.29. Evans earned a second gold medal in 1968 as part of the United States' 4 x 400-meter relay team that clocked a time of 2:56.1 that also stood as a world record for 20 years.

Record Breakers: Four Washington school records fell this year. The 19-year-old men's 200-meter mark fell on April 15 when junior Ja'Warren Hooker clocked a time of 20.33 in Tempe, Ariz. That shattered the previous UW standard of 20.46 established by LaNoris Marshall in 1981. Hooker shaved another .01 off that record on May 6 in Provo, Utah with a time of 20.23 that ranks No. 7 among all-time Pac-10 sprinters. Hooker also smashed the 400-meter mark with a time of 44.91 that is nearly one second better than the mark of 45.81 set by Orlando McKay in 1990. The 11-year-old men's 5,000-meter record was eclipsed on March 26 when junior David Bazzi posted a time of 13:47.63 at the Stanford Invitational. Bazzi bettered by nearly six seconds the previous record of 13:53.45 set by Alan Hjort in 1989. Sophomore Sandy Erickson improved her own women's pole vault record by eight inches with a clearance of 12-11 1/2 on April 29 in Eugene, Ore. Erickson's previous best was a mark of 12-3 1/2. Additionally, Hooker matched his 100-meter mark on March 26 at Stanford, but it was a slightly wind-aided mark that does not qualify for record purposes. Hooker set the UW 100-meter record of 10.18 seconds on May 2, 1998, replacing Pablo Franco's mark of 10.26 that had stood since 1975.

Big Ben: Washington senior Ben Lindsey has secured his fourth consecutive invitation to the NCAA championships, reaching the automatic men's discus qualifying standard with a heave of 198-11 on March 18 at UCLA. Lindsey boasts a career-best mark of 202-7, thrown on March 28, 1998 in San Diego, that is the third longest in Washington history. The school record of 214-7 was set by Borys Chambul in 1976. The three-time All-American battled a late-season bout with mononucleosis last year, but still managed to finish third in the shot put (60-2) and fifth in the discus (182-9) at the 1999 Pac-10 meet. He placed 19th in the discus at the 1999 NCAA championships after finishing fifth in 1998 and ninth as a freshman in 1997. Lindsey posted an automatic qualifying shot put mark of 62-6 3/4 on April 1 at Washington State. He was the 1998 Pac-10 shot put runner-up and finished fifth (62-5 3/4) at the 1998 NCAA Indoor championships. His personal-best shot put mark of 65-4, registered on May 2, 1998 at Husky Stadium, was the second best effort in Husky history and trails only the school record 65-11 set in 1979 by Steve Summers. Lindsey won the Washington state high school discus title three times and claimed two prep shot championships.

Awesome Anna Aoki: The Washington women's team features one of the finest women's distance runners in the nation, junior Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash.). She secured her third consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships berth with an automatic qualifying 10,000-meter time of 34:07.93 on March 25 at Stanford. Aoki has also reached the NCAA provisional standard in the 3,000 meters (9:38.57) and 5,000 meters (16:28.30). Aoki won the 1998 conference 10,000-meter championship and was the Pac-10 runner-up in 1999. She registered a career-best time of 34:05.30 on March 27, 1999 at Stanford, the third-fastest 10K time in Husky history. At the 1999 NCAA Outdoor championships, Aoki placed 19th (36:54.34) after finishing 17th in 1998. Aoki has qualified for NCAA Indoor championship competition on three occasions in the 5,000 meters. She raced to a 13th-place performance in 1997, 12th in 1999 and 14th in 2000. Aoki has been a mainstay of the UW women's cross country team that qualified for each of the last three NCAA Championships and placed 14th in 1997, ninth in 1998 and 13th in 1999.

Spear Specialist: Junior Justin St. Clair is the latest in a long line of Washington javelin standouts, having reached the NCAA provisional standard with a mark of 230-1 that ranks No. 11 nationally. St. Clair placed 12th at the 1999 NCAA Championships with a heave of 219-1. His career-best effort of 231-3 is the ninth longest mark in Husky history. St. Clair placed third at the 1999 Pac-10 championships (224-5) after finishing seventh in 1998 (209-0). He was named the Pac-10 men's athlete of the week on April 6, 1999. St. Clair won six of the nine javelin competitions he entered this year and placed second at the Drake Relays for the second straight season. Since 1970 when coach Ken Shannon began training Washington javelin competitors, a Husky won 10 of 31 conference men's titles. The most any other conference school can claim is six. Add in 1987 Pac-10 women's titlist Helena Uusitalo, who won the 1986 NCAA title, and Washington athletes have accounted for seven AAU/TAC national javelin championships and three NCAA titles. Also, three UW individuals have earned U.S. Olympic Team berths, including Duncan Atwood twice (1980, 1984). In 1989, Darryl Roberson set an American collegiate record of 249-6 with the new javelin. Washington has had at least one men's or women's javelin competitor qualify for the NCAA championship meet and place among the top 13 during 16 of the 18 years since the NCAA began sponsoring women's sports in 1982.

Hot Hurdler: Sophomore Kelsey Sheppard (Kirkland, Wash./Lake Washington HS) joined an elite group this season, become the ninth woman in Husky history to complete the 400-meter hurdles in under a minute. Sheppard's top clocking as a freshman was 1:01.72. She placed 11th in that event at the 1999 Pac-10 championships. Sheppard signaled that great things were looming by bettering her PR in the 2000 season's first two meets. On March 26 at the Stanford Invitational, Sheppard broke the one-minute barrier with a time of 59.55. She has remained under a minute every meet since, a total of eight straight races. Sheppard has finished no lower than third in any race this season, including five first-place performances. On May 6 at Brigham Young, Sheppard clocked a career-best time of 58.29 that is the fourth-best mark in school history and ranks fourth among Pac-10 competitors. Sheppard is ranked No. 16 nationally in the circular hurdles. She also boasts Washington's top times in two other events, the 100-meter hurdles (14.23) and 400 meters (54.6).

2000 NCAA Indoor Recap: Two individuals represented Washington in three events at the 2000 NCAA Indoor Championships, March 10-11 in Fayetteville, Ark. Junior Ja'Warren Hooker placed sixth in both the 60-meter dash (6.68) and 200 meters (20.67). He was the 55-meter champion in 1998. Anna Aoki made her third NCAA Indoor appearance, placing 14th in the women's 5,000 meters (16:47.32).

Notable: Nine teams will compete at the Pac-10 meet. Oregon State does not field a track & field squad ... Eight men's champions from last year return to defend their event titles, including Arizona State's Dwight Phillips who is the only returning double-winner. Phillips claimed the 1999 Pac-10 long jump and triple jump titles ... Eleven women's defending champions return, including triple-winner Seilala Sua of UCLA who won titles in the shot put, discus and javelin ... The Pac-10 boasts the national leader in three men's events (Gabe Jennings, Stanford, 1,500m, Brent Hauser, Stanford, 10,000m, Felix Sanchez, USC, 400m hurdles) and seven women's events (Angela Williams, USC, 100m, Kinshasa Davis, USC, 200m, Brigita Langerholc, USC, 800m, USC, 4x100 relay, Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, pole vault, Seilala Sua, UCLA, shot put & discus).

1999 NCAA Recap: Washington sent four women along with two men's qualifiers to the 1999 NCAA Championships in Boise, Idaho. In men's competition: Justin St. Clair placed 12th in the javelin (219-1) and Ben Lindsey was 19th in the discus (165-8). In women's competition: Cecilia Barnes finished 11th in the discus (169-3), Deeja Youngquist (36:24.33) and Anna Aoki (36:54.34) were 17th and 19th in the 10,000 meters and Keisha Griffis was 19th in the 400-meter hurdles (1:01.01). Both men's NCAA competitors return along with Aoki to compete for the Huskies in 2000.

NCAA Championship Qualifying Procedures: Marks which reach automatic standards guarantee berths to the 2000 NCAA Championship Meet, May 31-June 3 in Durham, N.C. If there are not enough automatic qualifiers to fill out the fields, individuals with the next best marks receive NCAA bids, provided they reached the provisional standard.

Husky Qualifiers: Fourteen Washington athletes have reached NCAA qualifying standards in 21 events, including senior Ben Lindsey who has ensured his fourth consecutive NCAA championships appearance. Lindsey reached the automatic men's discus standard with a heave of 198-11 and hit the shot put standard with a mark of 62-6 3/4. Junior Ja'Warren Hooker hit the automatic standards in the men's 100 (10.18), 200 (20.23) and 400 (44.91). Hooker placed third in the 100m at the 1998 NCAAs, but did not qualify in 1999. Senior David Bazzi earned his first NCAA berth in the 5,000 meters (13:47.63). Junior Anna Aoki competes for the third straight season in the NCAA women's 10,000m (34:07.93).

Last Week (Decathlon Recap): California's Bevan Hart captured his second straight Pacific-10 Conference decathlon title and Washington senior Jacob Predmore placed third in the two-day competition that concluded Sunday at Oregon's Hayward Field. Hart won only three events, but finished high enough in the others to amass a winning total of 7,890 points. Hart topped his 1999 winning total by 218 points and claimed the fourth consecutive conference decathlon championship by an athlete from Cal which also produced 1997 and 1998 winner Ross Bomben. Oregon's Santiago Lorenzo won two second-day events, climbing from third place after the first day to post a second-place, 7,649-point total. In second place entering the final day, Predmore finished with a third-place total of 7,298. A product of Cedarcrest High School in Duvall, Wash., Predmore improved upon last year's sixth-place performance. He was in second place after the first day of the 1999 championships, but lost several hundred potential points after no-heighting in the pole vault. Predmore avoided a similar fate this year, clearing the bar at 13-9 1/4. That mark was just 1 3/4-inches shy of his career-best pole vault effort. Predmore finished second in the 110-meter hurdles with a career-best time of 14.50. That was the third career-topping performance for Predmore who accomplished the feat during two first-day events. He cleared 6-6 3/4 in the high jump and completed the 400-meter race in 49.43. The top three Pac-10 finishers will likely meet again at the NCAA Championships, May 31-June 3 in Durham, N.C. Hart and Lorenzo have reached the automatic qualifying standard while Predmore is a provisional qualifier ranked No. 6 nationally.

Proud Pac-10 Tradition: The Pac-10 has produced some of the world's most outstanding athletes, including UCLA long jump standout Jackie Robinson, better known for his role in breaking major league baseball's color barrier 52 years ago. Robinson won the conference and NCAA championships in the broad (long) jump during 1940. UCLA also produced two time Olympic heptathlon gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and 1960 Olympic decathlon winner Rafer Johnson. Two-time Olympic decathlon champion Bob Mathias (1948, 1952) competed at Stanford. During the early 1970s, Oregon featured legendary distance runner Steve Prefontaine who recently had two film biographies produced. Washington State distance standout Henry Rono established a world steeplechase record (8:05.4) during 1978 at Husky Stadium. Arizona produced Meg Ritchie, the collegiate record holder in the women's shot put and discus. In the 1960s, the Huskies featured world record holders Brian Sternberg (pole vault) and Phil Shinnick (long jump). Washington's Mike Ramos won the 1986 NCAA decathlon championship along with three Pac-10 titles (1983, 1984, 1986). He established an NCAA decathlon record of 8,322 points at the 1986 Pac-10 championships, a mark that stood as the collegiate record for 13 years before being broken last year by Tennessee's Tom Pappas (8,463).

Conference Meet History: This is the 70th conference championship meet for the men and the 14th for the women. Defending men's champion USC won its league-high 31st conference crown last season. UCLA claimed the second-most team titles with 17. Washington won three conference men's team titles, claiming consecutive crowns in 1920-21 and last winning in 1928. The best UW men's finish since then was a runner-up effort to USC in 1976. The Husky men placed third in 1996 and 1997, sixth in 1998 and ninth last season. Since the Pac-10 began sponsoring a women's track meet in 1987, Washington has a best team finish of fourth, registered in 1995, 1996 and 1998. Defending champion UCLA claimed the most women's titles with 10 while Oregon is second with two.

1999 Pac-10 Men's Results (May 21-22, Tempe, Ariz.): 1, USC, 164. 2, UCLA, 136. 3, Stanford, 05.5. 4, Arizona, 78. 5, Arizona State, 77.5. 6, Oregon, 76.5. 7, Washington State, 69. 8, California, 59.5. 9, Washington, 52.

1999 Pac-10 Women's Results (May 21-22, Tempe, Ariz.): 1, UCLA, 160.5. 2, USC, 140. 3, Washington State, 123. 4, Stanford, 122.5. 5, Oregon, 64. 6, Arizona, 62. 7, Washington, 56. 8, Arizona State, 45. 9, California, 41.

Next Meet: Wed.-Sat., May 31-June 3 -- NCAA Championships
Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, N.C.

Washington Entries for Pac-10 Championships
(May 20-21, 2000, Eugene, Ore.)

MEN
100 meters: Ja'Warren Hooker, Jelani Harrison
200 meters: Ja'Warren Hooker
400 meters: James Mackey
800 meters: Geoff Perry
1,500 meters: Geoff Perry, John Russell
Steeplechase: Paul Harkins, Tom Hildrum, Mike Hill
5,000 meters: David Bazzi, Jason Fayant, John Russell
10,000 meters: David Bazzi, Dave Schruth
110m Hurdles: Greg Barber, Ben Meyer, Jacob Predmore, Josh Renz
400m Hurdles: Ben Meyer, Jacob Predmore
4 x 100 Relay: Ja'Warren Hooker, Greg Forni, Ben Meyer, Jelani Harrison
4 x 400 Relay: James Mackey, Ja'Warren Hooker, Greg Forni, Derek Prior
High Jump: Frank Remund, Sean Steele
Pole Vault: Matt Phillips, Brad Walker
Long Jump: Jacob Predmore, Josh Renz
Triple Jump: None
Shot Put: Doug Jackson, Ben Lindsey
Discus: Ben Lindsey
Hammer: None
Javelin: Justin St. Clair

WOMEN
100 meters: Chelsie Pentz, Jamara Smith
200 meters: Chelsie Pentz
400 meters: LeTesha Moore
800 meters: Arlene Bledsoe
1,500 meters: Susan Werner
3,000 meters: Margaret Butler, Cami Matson, Kara Syrdal
5,000 meters: Anna Aoki, Kate Bradshaw, Margaret Butler, Cami Matson, Kara Syrdal
10,000 meters: Anna Aoki, Kate Bradshaw
100m Hurdles: Sarah Peterson, Kelsey Sheppard
400m Hurdles: Shavon Hawkins, Kelsey Sheppard
4 x 100 Relay: Jamara Smith, LeTesha Moore, Chelsie Pentz, Arlene Bledsoe
4 x 400 Relay: Kelsey Sheppard, Chelsie Pentz, LeTesha Moore, Arlene Bledsoe
High Jump: None
Pole Vault: MerryJane Bendico, Sandy Erickson, Margaret Haines, Chris Withey
Long Jump: Zee Ogarro
Triple Jump: None
Shot Put: Searan Salibian, Sesilia Thomas
Discus: Sesilia Thomas
Hammer: None
Javelin: Megan Spriestersbach

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