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UW Tracksters Split Up, Visit Berkeley and Eugene for High-Caliber Meets
Release: 04/04/2000
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April 4, 2000

SATURDAY, APRIL 8 -- at Brutus Hamilton Memorial Invitational (Fox Sports Net)

9:00 a.m., Edwards Stadium, Berkeley, Calif.

SATURDAY, APRIL 8 -- at Hayward Relays (Fox Sports Net)

10:00 a.m., Hayward Field, Eugene, Ore.

Divide and conquer is the theme this week for the Washington men's and women's track & field teams which each send athletes to a pair of West Coast destinations. The Husky sprinters, hurdlers, high jumpers and a number of throwers travel to Berkeley, Calif. for the Brutus Hamilton Memorial Invitational on Saturday, April 8 at Edwards Stadium. Without a full team, the Huskies won't fare as well as they could in the team scoring, but the high-level competition should prove a fertile field for NCAA qualifying marks. The rest of the team, led by the entire distance corps, visits Eugene, Ore. for the Hayward Relays, Saturday, April 8 at Hayward Field. Outstanding fields and the usual large crowds in Eugene could produce some swift times for the Husky distance runners.

Hamilton Invitational: Heading the list of Washington entries at the California-hosted meet are automatic NCAA qualifiers Ja'Warren Hooker (men's 100 meters) and Ben Lindsey (men's discus & shot put). Also expected to compete at Berkeley are NCAA provisional qualifiers Justin St. Clair (men's javelin) and Kelsey Sheppard (women's 400m hurdles). Those qualifiers will be joined by numerous other Husky sprinters, hurdlers and throwers. Along with Washington and Cal, the Brutus Hamilton Invitational field includes Stanford, Ohio State, Boise State, Idaho, Nevada and members of the Taiwan and Japan National Teams, along with other national caliber athletes who train in California..

Hayward Relays: The list of Washington entries for the Hayward Relays features NCAA automatic qualifiers Anna Aoki (women's 10,000m) and David Bazzi (men's 5,000m). Provisional UW qualifiers competing at Oregon are Margaret Butler and Cami Matson (women's 3,000m) and Kara Syrdal (women's 5,000m) along with pole vaulters Matt Phillips (men) and Sandy Erickson (women). The meet field includes Air Force, Brigham Young, Cal State-Fullerton, Colorado, Colorado State, Illinois, Minnesota, Northern Arizona, Portland, Stanford and host Oregon.

Record Breakers: Two Washington school records have fallen this year. The 11-year-old men's 5,000-meter record fell on March 26 when junior David Bazzi clocked a time of 13:47.63 at the Stanford Invitational. Bazzi bettered by nearly six seconds the previous record of 13:53.45 established by Alan Hjort in 1989. Sophomore Sandy Erickson improved her women's pole vault record with a clearance of 12-3 1/2 on March 25 in Edmonds, Wash. Erickson's previous best was a mark of 11-11 3/4 recorded in 1999. Additionally, junior Ja'Warren 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 established his Husky record of 10.18 seconds on May 2, 1998 to eclipse Pablo Franco's school standard of 10.26 that had stood since 1975.

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. So far 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 an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 10.18 in the 100 meters and a provisional time of 20.58 on March 26 at Stanford. As a freshman, Hooker was named the 1998 Pacific-10 Conference male track and field Athlete of the Year. He became the first double-event winner in Husky history at the 1998 Pac-10 championship meet, 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, and boasts the fifth best 200-meter time in UW history with an outdoor mark of 20.70. 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) before deciding to concentrate solely on track & field. 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.

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. Also a standout shot putter, Lindsey posted an automatic qualifying 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, trailing 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, senior Anna Aoki. She secured her third consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships berth with an automatic qualifying time of 34:07.93 on March 25 at Stanford. Aoki, the 1998 conference 10,000-meter champion, was the Pac-10 runner-up at that distance 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 reached the NCAA provisional standards in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events last year, but opted to concentrate on the 10,000m. A product of Fort Vancouver (Wash.) High School, 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: Sophomore Justin St. Clair is the latest in a long line of Washington javelin standouts, having reached the NCAA provisonal standard with a mark of 230-1. He 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 seven of the 10 javelin competitions he entered last season, placing second at the Drake Relays and third at the Pac-10 championships. He topped the 220-foot plateau in eight consecutive meets. Since 1970 when coach Ken Shannon began training Washington javelin competitors, a Husky won 10 of 30 conference men's titles. The most any other conference school can claim is five. 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.

Coaching Staff: While Washington boasts a bevy of standout athletes, the coaches will also draw a great deal of attention this season. 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 69-24-1 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 throwers will be tutored for the 32nd, and final, year by assistant coach Ken Shannon who will resign following the 2000 collegiate season. Shannon, who stepped down in 1997 as head UW men's coach after 29 seasons, tutored his Husky throwers to 10 NCAA championships and eight Olympic berths since arriving at Washington in 1968. 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.

Last Week (WSU Dual Meet): The Washington men's track & field team won 10 of 19 events Saturday en route to dual-meet victories over Washington State and Idaho while the Cougar women claimed 14 of 18 event titles to sweep their opponents in action at Moobery Track. The Huskies outpointed WSU 106-57, defeating the Cougar men for the fourth time in their last five meetings. Washington also posted a dual-meet victory over the Idaho men by a 107-56 tally. The Washington State women defeated both the Huskies (110-44) and Vandals (120-34). Washington won the women's dual-meet against Idaho 97-56. Ben Lindsey recorded an NCAA automatic qualifying mark in the shot with a put of 62-6 3/4. Lindsey had already reached the men's discus standard and will compete in both events at the NCAA Championships, May 31-June 3 in Durham, N.C. UW junior Justin St. Clair won the men's javelin competition by over 18 feet with a heave of 230-1. St. Clair, who placed 12th at the 1999 NCAA meet, reached the provisional qualifying standard. Washington's Geoff Perry won two events, racing to victories in the 800 (1:53.93) and 1,500 meters (3:52.07). Other Husky men's event winners were: Ja'Warren Hooker in the 100 meters (10.45), James Mackey in the 200 meters (21.72), Derek Prior in the 400 meters (47.31), David Bazzi in the 5,000 meters (14:48.91), Ben Meyer in the 400-meter hurdles (52.17), Sean Steele in the high jump (6-10 3/4) and Matt Phillips in the pole vault (16-8 3/4). The Washington women clocked a winning 4x400-meter relay time of 3:42.56. Individual event titles for the Huskies came from Anna Aoki in the 3,000 meters (10:00.24) and Sesilia Thomas in the shot put (49-1). Kelsey Sheppard posted an NCAA provisional mark in the 400-meter hurdles (59.10) en route to a runner-up performance.

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. Senior Anna Aoki made her third NCAA Indoor appearance, placing 14th in the women's 5,000 meters (16:47.32).

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.

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.

Husky Qualifiers: Eleven Washington athletes have reached NCAA qualifying standards in 13 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 on March 18 and hit the shot put standard with a mark of 62-6 3/4 on April 1. Junior Ja'Warren Hooker hit the automatic 100-meter standard with a time of 10.18 on March 26. He placed third in the 100m at the 1998 NCAAs, but did not qualify in 1999. Senior David Bazzi earned his first NCAA berth with an automatic 5,000-meter time of 13:47.63 on March 25 that eclipsed the school record of 13:53.45 established by Alan Hjort in 1989. Senior Anna Aoki will compete for the third straight season in the women's 10,000 meters at the NCAA Championships after racing to a time of 34:07.93 on March 25. All four Husky automatic qualifiers hail from the state of Washington

Next Week: Saturday, April 15 -- UW Track Hosts the Husky Tri-Meet (Portland St./Eastern Wash.), Seattle, Wash.

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