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Husky Track Teams Prep for Return to Idaho
Release: 02/13/2001
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Feb. 13, 2001

SEATTLE-- The Washington track teams hope the return trip to Idaho is as fruitful as the first, when three Huskies improved their chances at NCAA titles by reaching or surpassing previous qualifying marks.

The Vandal Invitational and McDonald's Open, which take place Friday and Saturday in Moscow, Idaho, are the Huskies last regular-season indoor meets. Championship competition begins Feb. 23-24 with the Mt. Pacific Conference Championships.

Head coach Orin Richburg says the men and women have performed well, but need to realize their full potential in order to be successful on the championship level.

"This weekend will be a great weekend for us in terms of going in and trying to perform at a more consistent level as well as trying to get more qualifiers for the Mountain Pacific Championships," Richburg said. "We are moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot of things to do. Each week there has to be some urgency to what we do.

"We have to step up our performances to whatever our athletic abilities are and then be able to maintain that for a period of time," Richburg continued. "Time is running out. This is the week before the indoor championships. We have this week and next week and then the indoor season is over."

Competition at the Vandal Invitational will begin at 4 p.m. Friday. The McDonald's Open meet will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday. Full results will be available daily on the University of Idaho website, www.its.uidaho.edu/athletics.

Hooks are in

Senior sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker secured a chance a to snag two NCAA Indoor titles as he reached the automatic qualifying mark in the 200m at the McDonald's Invitational in Idaho last weekend. Hooker had already received an automatic bid to the NCAA meet in the 55m, reaching that automatic standard Jan. 27.

Hooker is currently tied with Tennessee's Leonard Scott for the lead on the NCAA best list for both events. Hooker won the 55m indoor championship in 1998 as a freshman, Scott won the event the following year. Both sprinters were originally recruited to college as football players.

"Walk"-ing to Higher Ground

Sophomore pole vaulter Brad Walker reached the provisional mark in the pole vault at the Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nev., Jan. 20. He improved his qualifying mark by nearly two inches at the McDonald's Scoring Invitational in Moscow, Idaho, last weekend. His mark of 5.30 meters, 17-4 1/2, ties him for 10th on the NCAA performance list. In order to automatically qualify for the NCAAs, Walker needs to up his clearing height to 18-0 1/2, or 5.50 meters. In the event that not enough individuals reach the automatic qualifying standard, provisional qualifiers will be added in order of performance to ensure a full field.

Going the Distance

Senior David Bazzi, the Washington record holder in the 5,000m, earned a provisional qualifying mark in the 3,000-meter event at the McDonald's Scoring Invitational last weekend. Bazzi is no stranger to the NCAA Championships, as he placed 12th in the 5,000m at the 2000 Outdoor championships. His time of 8:07.05 ranks 20th on the current NCAA best list. Bazzi needs to shave another 10 seconds off of his time in order to secure an automatic bid to the championships. In the event that not enough individuals reach the automatic qualifying standard, provisional qualifiers will be added in order of performance to ensure a full field.

Best in the U.S.?

Husky senior sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker was ranked eighth in the United States in the 400 meters for the year 2000 by Track & Field News. The publication listed the top ten athletes in the world and the U.S. for each event in its February edition.

Keeping up with the Qualifiers

Three Husky men have reached NCAA qualifying standards, two of whom are meet veterans.

Seniors Ja'Warren Hooker and David Bazzi, who both own Washington event records, along with sophomore Brad Walker have reached qualifying marks for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Washington Track & Field
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