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Track and Field Travels to Pepsi Invitational.
Release: 06/21/1999
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April 14, 1998

The Schedule:   
    Saturday, April 18 -- UW Track & Field at Pepsi Invitational
    Hayward Field;  Eugene, Ore.  11:45 a.m.

This Week: The Washington men's and women's track & field teams travel to Eugene, Ore. to compete with three quality collegiate foes, Saturday, April 18 at the annual Pepsi Invitational. Joining the Huskies at historic Hayward Field are Pacific-10 Conference rivals Arizona State and Oregon along with non-conference foe Colorado. The meet is a scored affair which begins at 11:45 a.m. with the men's javelin and women's hammer. The running events commence at 1:50 p.m. with the women's 5,000-meter race. Each team can enter two individuals in every event. A 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system will be used for this four-team meet with team's earning 9-7-6-5 points in the relay events.

Television Timetable: The Pepsi Team Invitational will be televised by Fox Sports Northwest on a delayed basis. The meet will air throughout the Northwest in a two-hour package on Monday, April 20 at 3 p.m. Todd McKim, the sports director from KVAL-TV in Eugene, will call the action with analysis from Tom Jordan.

Featured Event: The tighest competition looks to be in the women's high jump as five of the top-10 leapers in the Pacific-10 Conference compete in Eugene along with Colorado's Melinda Mounsey who has a best of 5-feet-4. Arizona State junior Fiona Daly wears the favorite's mantle, currently ranking second in the Pac-10 after clearing 5-9 on March 21. Oregon and Washington each feature two high jumpers tied for fifth on the Pac-10 list with 5-7 efforts to their credit. Oregon seniors Jennifer Thomas and Nonglack Somsanith both cleared 5-7 on April 4.

The Huskies counter with sophomore Francine Richardson (Mountlake Terrace HS) whose season best of 5-7 came last weekend at Washington State. Richardson placed ninth at the 1997 Pac-10 meet (5-5) and boasts a career-best mark of 5-8. The Huskies' high jump corps was bolstered by the addition of freshman Megan Franza who leaped 5-7 last weekend in Pullman during her first collegiate outing. The product of Leavenworth's Cascade High School recently completed the women's basketball season, averaging 7.5 points per game for UW which reached the NCAA Tournament. Franza twice won the Washington state Class A high jump title and her best prep clearance of 6-0 1/2 qualified her for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Hill Highlights: Senior Aretha Hill (Renton HS) made history on March 28 in San Diego, registering the finest discus performance ever by an American collegian and the second-best by an American female competitor. Her heave of 215-feet, 3-inches improved her previous school record (199-4) by nearly 16 feet to set a new Pac-10 record. The only American woman with a superior throw is Carol Cady (216-10 in 1986) and the only better collegiate mark was by Arizona's Meg Ritchie (221-5 in 1981).

Hill competed for the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, placing 35th at the Centennial Olympics with a toss of 183-10. She is a three-time NCAA discus All-American, placing fourth in 1997, third in 1996 and seventh in 1995. Hill, the 1996 Pac-10 discus championship, won the last two Penn Relay discus titles, including a meet-record throw of 189-6 in 1996. She has also reached the NCAA provisional shot put mark with a heave of 51-5. Hill has won all five discus competitions she has taken part in this year and won all three of her shot put outings.

Frosh Phenom: Freshman sprint sensation Ja'Warren Hooker doesn't appear content to stop at one national championship. The Ellensburg (Wash.) High School product won the NCAA Indoor 55-meter title with a time of 6.13 seconds on March 14 in Indianapolis, Ind. He is undefeated in four outdoor 100-meter races to date, winning at Fresno State (10.60), at Washington State (10.31) and at the prestigious Stanford Invitational with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 10.28.

His 10.28 is the fastest time in the Pac-10 this year and the third best in Washington history, just .02 behind the school record of 10.26 established by Pablo Franco in 1975. Hooker is undefeated in seven outdoor sprint races this spring. He participated in the first two weeks of spring drills as a wide receiver on the Husky football team, but will now concentrate on track and is not scheduled to participate in the Spring Football Game on April 25.

Big Ben: Sophomore weight man Ben Lindsey (Lynnwood HS) appears poised to improve on his 1997 All-American ninth-place discus performance as a freshman. Lindsey improved his personal best by nearly 10 feet on March 28 in San Diego with a discus mark of 202-7 that is the third longest in Washington history. The school record of 214-7 was set by Borys Chambul in 1976.

Lindsey has already assured himself a spot at the NCAA championships in two events, reaching automatic qualifying standards in the discus (202-7) and shot put (62-10 3/4). The only collegian to defeat Lindsey this spring in either the discus or shot put is defending Pac-10 champion Ian Waltz of Washington State who edged Lindsey in both events on April 11 in Pullman. Lindsey won the Washington state high school discus championship three times and claimed two prep shot put titles.

Track Tidbits: Two individuals and one relay squad represented the Huskies at the 1998 NCAA Indoor Championship Meet in Indianapolis. Freshman Ja'Warren Hooker won the 55-meter championship (6.13), Washington's first track & field title since 1988 (Jennifer Ponath, shot put) and the first by a UW male since 1986 (Mike Ramos, decathlon). Sophomore Ben Lindsey finished fifth in the shot put (62-5 3/4). The 4 x 400 relay group of Hooker, B.J. Dawson, Scott Anabel and Derek Prior placed eight (3:10.60) . . . Two of the six (3 men, 3 women) discus throwers from the 1996 United States Olympic Team were Huskies. Coach Ken Shannon trained both current Husky Aretha Hill (35th in Atlanta) and former Washington men's thrower Adam Setliff (12th in Atlanta).

Last Week: Despite dual-event victories by Aretha Hill and Ja'Warren Hooker, the Washington men's and women's track teams lost dual meets to cross-state rival Washington State on April 11 in Pullman. The Cougars defeated UW 93-70 in men's competition and 85-69 in women's action. The Husky men outpointed Idaho 87-74 in dual-meet scoring while the UW women topped the Vandals 102-51. Hill handily won the women's discus event by 58 feet with a mark of 198-7. She posted a three-foot victory in the shot put with a mark of 48-6 3/4. Hooker sprinted to easy victories in the 100- (10.31) and 200-meter races, the latter with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 20.84. Husky sophomore Ben Lindsey tasted defeat in the shot put for the first time, placing second with a put of 59-11.

Lindsey threw the discus 188-5, but lost to another collegian for the first time this season, as defending Pac-10 shot put and discus champion Ian Waltz from WSU won both the shot (61-0 1/4) and discus (193-4) events. UW freshman Megan Franza cleared 5-7 to win the women's high jump in her first collegiate competition. Other Washington women's event winners included: Margaret Haines in the pole vault (9-10), Anna Aoki in the 3,000 meters (10:03.13), Lara Kelley in the 400m hurdles (1:02.11), Danelle Kabush in the 1,500 meters (4:35.36) and the 1,600-meter relay team (3:45.21). Along with Hooker, other Washington men's event winners were: Geoff Perry in the steeplechase (9:19.4), Craig Connors in the pole vault (16-4 3/4) and Dan Johnston in the 400m hurdles (52.63) along with the 400- (40.84) and 1,600-meter (3:09.19) relay squads.

NCAA Championship Qualifying Procedures: Marks which reach automatic standards guarantee berths to the 1998 NCAA Championship Meet, June 3-6 in Buffalo, New York. 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: Nine Washington athletes have already reached NCAA qualifying standards in 12 events, including three automatic qualifying marks. Senior Aretha Hill owns the nation's best women's discus effort, a mark of 215-3 that is the second longest throw in collegiate history, the longest by an American collegian. Sophomore Ben Lindsey reached the automatic standards in both the discus (202-7) and shot put (62-10 1/4).

Last year Washington sent three men and two women to the NCAA Championship meet in Bloomington, Ind. Hill earned All-America accolades for a fourth-place discus performance (190-7) and Lindsey for a ninth-place discus effort (187-2). Brice Newton finished 12th in the men's 1,500 meters (3:55.91), Christian Belz was 23rd in the steeplechase (9:15.31) and Keisha Griffis 18th in the women's 400-meter hurdles (59.17).

Washington's 1998 NCAA Outdoor Championship Qualifiers

Automatic Qualifiers (3)    Event           Mark        Year    Hometown (High School/JC)
Women (1)
Aretha Hill                 Discus          215-3       Sr.     Renton, Wash. (Renton HS)

Men (2) Ben Lindsey Discus 202-7 So. Lynnwood, Wash. (Lynnwood HS) Ben Lindsey Shot Put 62-10 1/4 So. Lynnwood, Wash. (Lynnwood HS)

Provisional Qualifiers (8) Event Mark Year Hometown (High School/JC) Women (4) Anna Aoki 10,000 meters 34:56.62 So. Vancouver, Wash. (Fort Vancouver HS) Aretha Hill Shot Put 51-5 Sr. Renton, Wash. (Renton HS) Danelle Kabush 3,000 meters 9:34.92 Sr. Courtenay, B.C. (George Vanier) Deeja Youngquist 10,000 meters 35:00.26 Jr. Enumclaw, Wash. (Enumclaw HS)

Men (4) Christian Belz 5,000 meters 14:13.88 Jr. Bolligen, Switzerland Craig Connors Pole Vault 17-3 Sr. Clackamas, Ore. (Clackamas CC) Ja'Warren Hooker 100 meters 10.28 Fr. Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg HS) Ja'Warren Hooker 200 meters 20.84 Fr. Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg HS) Derek Prior 400 meters 46.13 Jr. San Jose, Calif. (San Jose JC)

Next Week: Thurs. - Sat., April 23-25 -- UW Track & Field at Penn Relays; Franklin Field; Philadelphia, Pa.

Fri. - Sat., April 24-25 -- UW Track & Field at Drake Relays; Drake Stadium; Des Moines, Iowa

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