June 5, 1999
BOISE, Idaho - Husky freshman Cecelia Barnes today used a strong second throw to finish 11th in the discus at the NCAA Championships, the highest finish by any Husky this week, concluding the national meet on positive note for the University of Washington track and field team.
Barnes, who qualified for the meet on the strength of a career-best 175-foot, eight-inch throw at the Pac-10 Championship -- the third-longest in Husky history -- broke into the all-time top 10 again with a 169-foot, 3-inch throw, sixth on the UW list.
The mark fell just three feet shy of the 172-foot, 3-inch throw by ninth place finisher Mandy Borschowa of Washington State, the final competitor to advance to the finals.
Junior Seilala Sua of UCLA won her third consecutive discus title with a NCAA championships-record throw of 210 feet, 10 inches, nearly a foot beyond the distance markers set up by the NCAA. Shelly Borrman of Colorado State was second in the discus (191-9), and Syracuse's Cheree Hicks placed third (188-3).
"I'm definitely not disappointed," Barnes said afterward. "I'll be back next year."
Barnes faced Sua earlier this season, finishing second to her at the at the Pac-10 championships, and seemed unfazed by the slew of national talent assembled for the event.
This is not surprising, considering the company the Husky freshman has grown up with.
Her mother, Lacy Barnes-Mileham, and stepfather, Matthew Mileham, are both former Olympians, as is her coach, former Husky and four-time discus All-American Aretha Hill. Hill placed second at last year's NCAA championships.
It is only the second time this season that Barnes, ranked 13th nationally entering the event, has placed lower than second in a discus competition, the first coming over a month ago in a third place finish versus Washington State. In all, Barnes claimed five discus victories this season, and placed second an additional five times.
"She came in to the meet 13th and finished 11th. She consistently threw in the 160s all year, and threw 169 feet today," Hill said. "I think that she did a great job."
Barnes' strong performance concluded an up and down week for the Huskies at Boise State University's Bronco Stadium, highlighted by the All-American performance of sophomore Justin St. Clair in Friday's javelin competition. Washington failed to score any team points for only the third time since 1973, and failed to score a top-10 men's finisher for the first time since 1974.