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Track Continues Big Ten Swing
Release: 01/19/2000
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Jan. 19, 2000

This Week: The Husky men's and women's track & field team's get another taste of the Big Ten this weekend, following up an impressive performance at last week's Penn State Collegiate Quadrangular with a visit to Ohio State, host of Saturday's Buckeye Invitational. Other members of the track teams will return to Eastern Washington University for the second consecutive weekend, where they will compete for team titles at the annual Jerry Martin Invitational.

Last week: Sprinters Ja'Warren Hooker and Derek Prior combined for two course records, and sophomore Melinda Campbell posted an NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the 3,000 meters as the Huskies started the season off with a bang at Penn State's Collegiate Quadrangular. Hooker won both the 60- and 200-meter dashes, setting course records in each, 6.75 seconds in the former, and an NCAA provisional-qualifying 21.21 seconds in the latter. Prior's time of 48.05 seconds in the 400 meters was a course record as well. On the women's side, Campbell finished second in the 3,000 meters, crossing the line in 9:39.74, while senior Seselia Thomas won both the shot put and weight throw to lift the Husky women to a second-place finish behind champion Penn State, who also won the men's title. The Husky men placed fourth.

The rankings: Washington's men's and women's teams remained unranked in this week's Trackwire 25, with NCAA champion Arkansas retaining the top spot on the men's side, and Louisiana State taking over the No. 1 ranking among women's teams. The Trackwire 25 ranks teams based on predicted finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Generation X-Cellent: Washington has seen an explosion of young talent in the past three years, from Hooker's arrival on campus in 1998, to promising 2000 newcomers Jamara Smith (Oakland, Calif.) andJohn Russell (Spokane, Wash.). Following is a list of UW freshmen ranked among the top three UW competitors in their events: Men's -- 55m, 2nd, Anthony Walters, 6.77s, 3rd, Carlos Williams, 6.78s, Mile, 1st, John Russell, 4:09.22, High Jump 3rd, Williams, 6'-0.75", Long Jump, 3rd, Kevin DeSuoza, 21'-6", Shot Put, 1st, Doug Jackson, 49'-1", 35 lb. Weight, 2nd, Jackson, 37'-10.5". Women's -- 55m, 2nd Andrea Sauter, 7.61s, 60m, 1st, Jamara Smith, 7.63s, 200m, 1st, Smith, 25.30s, 400m, 2nd, Arlene Bledsoe, 56.97s, Mile, 3rd, Kate Bradshaw, 5:16.94, Long Jump, 2nd, Sauter, 17'-1.25", Triple Jump, 1st, Smith, 36'-2.75".

Back on Track: Junior sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg HS) blew away the competition last week in his first indoor races since an ankle injury derailed his 1999 season last March. In addition to posting an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 21.21 seconds the 200 meters, Hooker tied or broke two long-standing course records. The Husky speedster shattered the Multi-Sport Facility record of 21.31 in the 200, and tied the 19-year old record of 6.75 seconds in the 60 meters. With the victories, Hooker appears on track to return to the NCAA Indoor Championships, where he was last seen in 1998 capturing Washington's first-ever national sprint title, finishing the 55-meter dash in a blistering 6.13 seconds. Hooker's defense of the title was cut short by the injury in 1999. Prior to the injury, Hooker had posted an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 6.22 seconds in the 55 meters, and had helped qualify the men's 4x400-meter relay squad for an NCAA appearance as well. Hooker has proven just as fast outdoors, winning twenty-one consecutive sprint races in 1998, including Pac-10 championships in both the 100m and 200m dash, en route to a third-place NCAA finish in the 100m. For his efforts, Hooker was named the Pac-10's 1998 Male Track Athlete of the Year, the first Husky since 1976 to be bestowed with the honor. On May 2, 1998, he broke the Washington record in the 100m, posting a 10.18. The sprint specialist, who has also competed on the UW football team as a wide receiver, chose to forgo the Huskies' 1999 football season to focus on earning a berth on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2000 Sydney games.

On the Road Again: Perhaps least affected by the Huskies' lack of home indoor meets this year is sophomore distance runner Melinda Campbell (Newport, Ore.) who over the last two years has become used to excessive travel. After a stellar high school career which included two Oregon state championships in the 3,000 meters, Campbell enrolled at Boise State University, placing 19th for the Broncos at the 1998 NCAA Cross-Country Championships and capturing Big West crowns in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters. In the fall of 1999, Campbell packed her bags once again, this time for Seattle, where she helped lead the Huskies' cross-country squad to a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. In her first 2000 indoor meet, Campbell posted a provisional-qualifying mark of 9:39.74 in the 3,000 meters. Her reward? Another road trip, this time to Fayetteville, Ark., home of the 2000 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Husky Qualifiers: Two members of Washington's track and field team have qualified for this year's NCAA Indoor Championships, to be held March 10-11 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.. Here is the list of current Husky provisional and automatic qualifiers, adjusted for altitude and track size to meet NCAA standards:

* Melinda Campbell -- 3,000 meters (Prov: 9:40.54 -- national ranking unknown) Sophomore, Newport. Ore. (Newport HS/Boise State University)

* Ja'Warren Hooker -- 200 meters (Prov: 21.46 seconds -- ranks 3rd nationally) Junior, Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg HS)

Golden Evans Dons Washington Purple: Lee Evans is giving new meaning to the words "purple and gold." The 1968 Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder joined the Husky coaching staff this offseason. A three-time national champion in the 400 meters, Evans set a world record of 43.86 in the event that stood for 20 years before being eclipsed in 1988. Evans has coached the national programs of Nigeria, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and will work primarily with Washington's sprinters and relay squads. Evans has coached the national teams of Nigeria, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and will work primarily with Washington's sprinters and relay squads. Evans was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1983, and was one of 100 "Golden Olympians" at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Richburg USA's Top Dawg: Entering his 15th season as a head track & field coach at Washington, Orin Richburg was honored in December by USA Track and Field's International Competition Committee, who selected Richburg to coach the United States National Team at the 2001 World Championships. This will be Richburg's fourth stint with the national team. He served a head coaching stint for the 1997 World Indoor Championship Meet, and worked on National Team staffs at the 1989 Junior Pan-American Games, as well as in a 1994 dual meet with Great Britain. The committee could hardly have made a better choice: in 1998 alone, four Huskies claimed conference titles, including sophomore sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker's double victory in both the 100m and 200m events. The five victories were the most for Washington since the 1976 squad claimed six championships. In his tenure, Richburg has converted Washington into one of the top dual-meet squads in the nation. The UW women's team has ranked among the top-10 dual-meet teams in the nation every year during the 1990s. His 1988 UW squad finished 10th at the NCAA championships, the best national finish in the school's history. Prior to coming to Washington, Richburg spent seven seasons at Kent State and three years as an assistant at Western Michigan. A fine athlete in his own right, Richburg earned All-America honors as a sprinter at Kent State, finishing sixth in the 200-yd dash at the 1967 NCAA championships.

Forbes "400": Husky senior Derek Prior (San Jose CC), a marketing major in the UW School of Business, may make the elite moneymaker's list one day, but he has his sights set on a different "400" this season - the 400m dash at March's NCAA Indoor Championships. Prior torched the field at last week's Penn State Collegiate Quadrangular, shattering the course record with a time of 48.05 seconds. Last year, Prior rode a career-best 46.45 second mark at the Alex Wilson Invitational all the way to a berth in the NCAA meet, where he earned All-American honors with a 10th-place finish. Earlier in the year, Prior broke the Mountain-Pacific Sports Federation meet record in the 400m, placing second in 46.64. Prior also ran on the Huskies' defending Pac-10 champion 4x400-meter relay team, which placed eighth at 1998's NCAA Indoor Championships in 3:10.60, and last year posted a provisional qualifying mark of 3:10.07 before forgoing the national meet due to an injury by teammate Ja'Warren Hooker. Prior is ranked second all-time at UW in the 400m, with an outdoor personal best of 46.13, and placed third at the 1998 Pac-10 Championships.

Huskies at 1999 NCAA Indoors: Two Huskies competed at last year's NCAA Indoor Championships, with departed All-American Derek Prior finishing 10th in the 400 meters, and current senior Aoki crossing the line 12th in the 5,000 meters with a career-best time of 16:33.51. In all, seven Washington athletes posted at least provisional qualifying marks for the national meet, including Hooker (55 meters and 4x400m relay), Lindsey (shot put), current senior Seselia Thomas (shot put), departed letterwinner Deeja Youngquist (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters), and 4x400-meter relay specialists James Mackey and Scott Anabel.

Huskies On The Web: All of the latest information on University of Washington track and field, including rosters, schedules, results, releases, statistics and more can be found online at the homepage of University if Washington Athletics, http://www.gohuskies.com

Next Week: Saturday, January 22 -- "A" squad to Buckeye Invitational, Ohio State Univ., Columbus, Ohio B" squad to Jerry Martin Invitational, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Wash.

-- UW --

Washington Track & Field
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