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Track Teams Visit Stanford for Pac-10 Championship Meet
Release: 06/21/1999
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May 19, 1998

The Schedule:
Sat.-Sun, May 23-24 --
Pacific-10 Conference Championships, Stanford, Calif.
1:00 p.m. Saturday,
11:15 a.m. Sunday; Cobb Track & Angell Field

This Week: Many of the nation's finest collegiate athletes will converge on the Cobb Track & Angell Field complex at Stanford, Calif. for the Pacific-10 Conference Championship Meet, Saturday and Sunday, May 23-24. The Husky men finished third at the last two Pac-10 meets, their best performances since a runner-up effort in 1976. The UW women seek to improve on an eighth-place finish from last year. Despite no invididual winners last year in Seattle, at least one Husky athlete won a Pac-10 individual track & field title 11 of the last 13 years. Three Huskies boast the best mark among Pac-10 competitors in their respective events: Ja'Warren Hooker in the men's 100 meters (10.18), Ben Lindsey in the men's shot put (65-4) and Aretha Hill in the women's discus (215-3). Hill's mark is the finest in the nation this season.

Television Coverage: The meet is nationally televised on a delayed basis by Fox Sports Netw. A two-hour highlight package will be produced for airing throughout the Northwest on Fox Sports Northwest, Saturday, May 30 at 1:00 p.m.

Discus Duel: One of the Pac-10 meet's featured events is Sunday's women's discus. The top five competitors in the NCAA are from Pac-10 schools, including Washington senior Aretha Hill (215-3) and four UCLA competitiors; senior Suzy Powell (213-5), sophomore Seilala Sua (212-2), senior Rachelle Noble (193-2) and senior Nada Kawar (197-2). All five have thrown at least nine feet farther than any other NCAA competitor. Powell and Hill made up two-thirds of the United States' women's discus corps at the Atlanta Summer Olympics, a major upset in a field event traditionally dominated by more veteran athletes. This year is the rubber match between Hill and Powell. Hill won the 1996 Pac-10 discus championship when it was hosted by UCLA and Powell won the 1997 title in Seattle. The neutral site of Stanford will decide the series. Don't discount Sua, the 1997 NCAA champion who currently ranks third nationally. Hill unleashed a throw of 215-3 on March 29 in San Diego that is the best ever by an American collegian and the second-best discus performance ever by an American female. Six of 11 NCAA women's discus champions were Pac-10 competitors.

Fast Frosh Phenom: Washington has had only one conference sprint champion, Al Davis who won the Pac-8 100-yard title in 1974. The Huskies may add another sprint title this week as freshman sprint sensation Ja'Warren Hooker boasts the leading 100-meter time (10.18) in the Pac-10 and ranks third in the 200 meters (20.84). 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 10 outdoor 100-meter races to date, including an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 10.18 on May 2 at Husky Stadium that is the fastest time in the Pac-10 this year and ranks No. 9 nationally. His 10.18 broke the school record of 10.26 established by Pablo Franco in 1975. Hooker won all 15 of his outdoor sprint races this spring, winning four 200-meter races and one in the 400 meters. He won the Drake Relays 100-meter title (10.41) and topped an international field at the Harry Jerome Classic in Burnaby, B.C. (10.33). Hooker played receiver on the Husky football team last fall and scored four touchdowns, including an 89-yard kickoff return at Arizona the first time he touched the ball as a collegian. He took part in the first two weeks of spring drills, but did not participate in the Spring 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 ranks No. 3 in the NCAA, but national leaders Doug Reynolds (Arizona) and Ian Waltz (WSU) are both from Pac-10 schools. Lindsey is assured spots at the NCAA championships in two events after reaching automatic standards in the discus (202-7) and shot put (65-4). His shot put mark of 65-4 on May 2 at Husky Stadium was a two-foot improvement on his career best and ranks second nationally behind South Carolina's Brad Snyder (66-11 1/4). Lindsey's shot put mark is the second best effort in Husky history, trailing only the school record 65-11 set in 1979 by Steve Summers. Lindsey finished fifth in the shot put (62-5 3/4) at the 1998 NCAA Indoor Championships. He won the Washington state high school discus title three times and claimed two prep shot crowns.

Belz Toils: Swiss steeplechaser Christian Belz is anxious for another crack at the Pac-10 championships. The Husky junior was the conference runner-up last year in Seattle. His time of 8:48.36 was within 0.2 of the winning time of 8:48.17 turned in by Arizona's Jonathan Pillow. Belz's season-best time of 8:49.08 ranks No. 21 nationally and is second among Pac-10 competitors. He competed at the NCAA championships last spring, but was ill and finished 23rd.

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 champion, won the 1996 and 1997 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 nine of the 10 discus competitions she has taken part in this year, losing only to Kent State's Roberta Collins on April 23 in pursuit of her third straight Penn Relays title. Following the second-place Penn performance, Hill won the Drake Relays discus title on April 25. She topped the field in all six of her shot put outings.

Hill Hurting: An injured left foot has hampered much of Aretha Hill's training since March, drastically limiting her repetitions in practice sessions and competition warm-ups. Hill has decided to compete only in the discus at the Pac-10 and NCAA Championship meets despite also qualifying in the shot put. A prior stress fracture in Hill's left foot has been aggravated and developed a bone spur that causes pain by pressing on a nerve when she competes. After completing her collegiate career in June, Hill will have corrective surgery on her left foot. After monitoring the injury, she may postpone surgery until after the U.S. Championships on June 19-21 in New Orleans, La.

Hot Hurdler: Junior Keisha Griffis (Los Angeles, Calif./Washington Prep HS) is proving that last year was no fluke. Griffis clocked a time of 57.59 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles on April 18 in Eugene, Ore. That is the ninth fastest time in the nation this season, the third-best among Pac-10 competitors. She competed in her first-ever collegiate open 400-meter race and registered a school-record time of 54.44. That mark bettered the previous record of 54.45 established in 1996 by current Husky assistant coach Patrice Turner. Griffis capped a brilliant 1997 season with an appearance at the NCAA Championship Meet where she finished 18th. She dramatically improved her time last season in the circular hurdles, shaving over six seconds off her quickest freshman mark to join the nation's elite hurdlers. Her career-best time of 57.35 seconds, registered May 25, 1997 in a third-place finish at the Pac-10 championships in Seattle, is the second fastest in Husky history. Griffis trails only Washington school record holder Terra Barter whose mark of 57.13 was established en route to an eighth-place finish at the 1995 NCAA meet.

Deeja's Double Duty: Again this season, junior distance standout Deeja Youngquist (Enumclaw HS) will compete in the two longest races on the track. She will compete in the women's 10,000-meter race Saturday night and attempt to revive herself sufficiently to compete in Sunday afternoon's 5,000 meters. Currently, Youngquist ranks third among Pac-10 competitors in the 10,000 (35:00.26), a mark that places her 12th nationally. She ranks ninth among Pac-10 5,000-meter competitors (16:54.68). Youngquist successfully negotiated this difficult double the last two seasons. As a freshman in 1996, she placed third in the 10,000 (35:29.23) and seventh in the 5,000 (17:09.46) at the Pac-10 meet. As a sophomore last year, Youngquist again placed third in the 10,000 (35:20.22) and was 10th in the 5,000 (16:50.05).

Super Sophomore: Sophomore Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash./Fort Vancouver HS) aims to make up for lost time this spring as she was sidelined most of last season with an injury. As a freshman, Aoki earned a berth in the 1997 NCAA Indoor Championships, placing 13th in the 5,000 meters. She is an NCAA provisional qualifier in the 10,000 meters with a career-best time of 34:56.62 that is the third fastest in Washington history. Aoki ranks 10th nationally and second among Pac-10 competitors in the 10,000 meters. She also ranks No. 8 among Pac-10 5,000-meter runners (16:54.21).

Prolific Prior: Washington boasts one of the finest quarter-milers in the nation in junior Derek Prior, a transfer from San Jose Junior College. Prior clocked a 46.13 in the 400 meters to rank second among Pac-10 competitors and No. 16 nationally. His time of 46.13 ranks second among all-time Huskies, trailing only the school record of 45.81 established in 1990 by Orlando McKay.

Coach Richburg: After 12 years as head women's track & field coach at Washington, Orin Richburg takes on a new assignment this season. He was named head men's and women's track & field/cross country coach in July. His past success with the women's track & field team is a sure indicator that the Husky track & field/cross country programs are in capable hands. Richburg converted the Washington women's track & field team into one of the best dual-meet squads in the nation. He has the most women's dual-meet victories in Washington history, more than doubling his closest rival. He led the Washington women to an impressive 64-21 dual-meet record since coming to the school. 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 championship meet, the best national finish in the school's history. His Washington teams have produced eight conference and two national individual champions. 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 accolades as a sprinter at Kent State, finishing sixth in the 200-yard dash at the 1967 NCAA championships.

Elite Meet: This is the premier conference meet in the country involving numerous world-class competitors. Former Pac-10 track & field athletes accounted for 12 medals at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. They won six gold medals, three silver and three bronze. Several current Pac-10 track & field athletes competed in the Atlanta Olympics, including seniors Aretha Hill and Suzy Powell who comprised two-thirds of the United States' women's discus corps in Atlanta. Washington's Hill, a product of Renton (Wash.) High School, edged UCLA's Powell to win the Pac-10 discus championship during 1996 in Los Angeles while Powell won last year in Seattle.

Proud Pac-10 Tradition: The Pac-10 has produced some of the world's most outstanding athletes, including UCLA long jump standout Jackie Robinson, better known for his role in breaking major league baseball's color barrier 51 years ago. Robinson won the conference and NCAA championships in the broad jump during 1940. UCLA also produced two time Olympic heptathlon gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and 1960 Olympic decathlon winner Rafer Johnson. Two-time Olympic decathlon champion Bob Mathias (1948, 1952) competed at Stanford. During the early 1970s, Oregon featured legendary distance runner Steve Prefontaine who recently had two film biographies produced. Washington State distance standout Henry Rono established a world steeplechase record (8:05.4) during 1978 at Husky Stadium. Arizona produced Meg Ritchie, the collegiate record holder in the women's shot put and discus. In the 1960s, the Huskies featured world record holders Brian Sternberg (pole vault) and Phil Shinnick (long jump). Washington's Mike Ramos won the 1986 NCAA decathlon championship along with three Pac-10 titles (1983, 1984, 1986). He established a still-standing NCAA decathlon record of 8,322 points at the 1986 Pac-10 championships.

Conference Meet History: This is the 68th conference championship meet for the men and the 12th for the women. Defending men's champion USC has amassed a conference-leading 30 titles and UCLA is next with 16. Washington has won the conference meet three times, claiming consecutive crowns in 1920-21 and last winning in 1928. The best UW men's finish since then was a runner-up effort to USC in 1976. The Husky men placed third each of the last two seasons, their best efforts since 1976. Since the Pac-10 began sponsoring a women's track meet in 1987, Washington has a best team finish of fourth, registered in 1995 and 1996. Defending champion UCLA claimed the most women's crowns with eight while Oregon is second with two.

1997 Pac-10 Men's Results
(May 24-25, Seattle, Wash.):

1, USC, 143.
2, UCLA, 138.
3, Washington, 96.
4, Oregon, 93.
5, Arizona, 91.5.
6, Washington State, 90.
7, Stanford, 86.
8, California, 74.5.

1997 Pac-10 Women's Results
(May 24-25, Seattle, Wash.):

1, UCLA, 189.5.
2, USC, 134.5.
3, Stanford, 110.
4, Arizona, 87.
5, Oregon, 68.
6, Washington State, 66.
7, California, 64.
8, Washington, 59.

Huskies in the Pac-10 Rankings: The top eight finishers in each event at the Pac-10 Championships score points as follows in descending with first place receiving 10 points: 10 - 8 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1. The following Washington athletes rank among the top-eight in their respective events on the weekly Pacific-10 Conference best list published May 18:

100 meters      Ja'Warren Hooker      1st      10.18
200 meters      Ja'Warren Hooker      3rd      20.84
                Willem Ryan           8th      21.29
400 meters      Derek Prior           2nd      46.13
                Ja'Warren Hooker      3rd      46.42
                B.J. Dawson           8th      46.79
1,500 meters    Geoff Perry           5th      3:43.43
                Chris Ledford         7th      3:44.33
Steeplechase    Christian Belz        2nd      8:49.08
110m Hurdles    Greg Barber           5th      14.27
                Skip Moody            7th      14.49
400m Hurdles    Dan Johnston          4th      51.64
4 x 100 Relay   Washington            3rd      40.14
4 x 400 Relay   Washington            2nd      3:05.21
Pole Vault      Craig Connors         7th      17-3
Triple Jump     Marcus Kelly          8th      48-0 1/2
Shot Put        Ben Lindsey           1st      65-4
Discus          Ben Lindsey           3rd      202-7
Javelin         Justin St. Clair      8th      214-0

Women 800 meters Danelle Kabush 7th 2:08.43 1,500 meters Danelle Kabush 5th 4:20.50 5,000 meters Anna Aoki 8th 16:54.21 10,000 meters Anna Aoki 2nd 34:56.62 Deeja Youngquist 3rd 35:00.26 100m Hurdles Keisha Griffis 8th 14.13 400m Hurdles Keisha Griffis 3rd 57.59 Lara Kelley 8th 1:00.96 4 x 100 Relay Washington 5th 45.89 4 x 400 Relay Washington 4th 3:38.26 High Jump Francine Richardson 6th 5-8 Megan Franza 7th(tie) 5-7 Long Jump Michele Reid 5th 19-5 3/4 i Marzette Penton 8th 19-3 i Triple Jump Michele Reid 5th 40-0 1/2 i Shot Put Aretha Hill 4th 51-5 Sesilia Thomas 7th 47-1 1/2 i Discus Aretha Hill 1st 215-3

Notable: Nine teams will compete at the Pac-10 meet. Oregon State does not field a track & field squad . . . Five double-winners from last year return to defend their titles, four women and one man: Grazyna Penc, USC (800m, 1,500m), Amy Skieresz, Arizona (3,000m, 5,000m), Joanna Hayes, UCLA (100m Hurdles, 400m Hurdles), Suzy Powell, UCLA (discus, javelin) and Ian Waltz, Washington State (shot put, discus) . . . The Pac-10 boasts the national leader in four women's events (Torri Edwards, USC, 100m; Grazyna Penc, USC, 1,500m; Amy Skieresz, Arizona, 10,000m; Aretha Hill, Washington, discus) and four men's events (Mebrahtom Keflezighi, UCLA, 5,000m; Brad Hauser, Stanford, 10,000m; Doug Reynolds, Arizona, discus; Mike Laiho, Arizona State, hammer).

1998 Pacific-10 Conference Championship Schedule

Saturday, May 23 1:00 pm Women Hammer Final 1:00 pm Men Javelin Final 1:30 pm Men Pole Vault Final 3:00 pm Men Steeplechase Final 3:15 pm Women 1,500 meters Qualifying 3:30 pm Men 1,500 meters Qualifying 3:45 pm Women 100m hurdles Qualifying 4:00 pm Men 110m hurdles Qualifying 4:15 pm Women Shot Put Final 4:15 pm Men Long Jump Final 4:15 pm Men Hammer Final 4:15 pm Women 400 meters Qualifying 4:30 pm Men 400 meters Qualifying 4:45 pm Women Javelin Final 4:45 pm Women 100 meters Qualifying 5:00 pm Men 100 meters Qualifying 5:15 pm Men Shot Put Final 5:15 pm Women Long Jump Final 5:15 pm Women 800 meters Qualifying 5:30 pm Men 800 meters Qualifying 5:45 pm Women 3,000 meters Final 6:00 pm Women 400m hurdles Qualifying 6:15 pm Men 400m hurdles Qualifying 6:30 pm Women 200 meters Qualifying 6:45 pm Men 200 meters Qualifying 7:00 pm Women 10,000 meters Final 7:40 pm Men 10,000 meters Final

Sunday, May 24 11:15 am Men Discus Final 11:15 am Women Pole Vault Final 11:15 am Women High Jump Final 12:30 am Men Triple Jump Final 1:15 pm Women 5,000 meters Final 1:35 pm Women 4x100m relay Final 1:45 pm Men 4x100m relay Final 1:45 pm Women Discus Final 1:55 pm Women 1500 meters Final 2:00 pm Men 1500 meters Final 2:00 pm Women Triple Jump Final 2:00 pm Men High Jump Final 2:10 pm Men 110m hurdles Final 2:15 pm Women 100m hurdles Final 2:25 pm Women 400 meters Final 2:30 pm Men 400 meters Final 2:40 pm Women 100 meters Final 2:45 pm Men 100 meters Final 2:55 pm Women 800 meters Final 3:00 pm Men 800 meters Final 3:10 pm Women 400m hurdles Final 3:20 pm Men 400m hurdles Final 3:30 pm Women 200 meters Final 3:35 pm Men 200 meters Final 3:45 pm Men 5,000 meters Final 4:05 pm Women 4x400m relay Final 4:10 pm Men 4x400m relay Final

Last Week (Decathlon Recap): California's Ross Bomben successfully defended his decathlon title while Washington junior Mike MacPherson and sophomore E.J. Iddings finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the Pacific-10 Conference multi-event championships at Stanford. Bomben overcame a 111-point first-day deficit en route to a career-best total of 7,808. Arizona's Dominic Johnson, the first-day leader, was the runner-up for the second straight season with 7,764 points. MacPherson posted a career-best score of 6,727 points. The Sehome High School product registered personal-best performances in four of the 10 events, including three during the second day. He placed fourth in the pole vault (15-1 1/4), fifth in the discus (121-9) and sixth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.31). Iddings, who finished sixth last season, moved from eighth to seventh during the second day and finished with 6,572 points.

Last Week (Harry Jerome Recap): Freshman Ja'Warren Hooker remained undefeated in outdoor races this spring with a 100-meter victory and the Husky 400-meter relay team finished second to a Canadian all-star squad on May 17 during the Harry Jerome Classic at Swanguard Stadium. Hooker won his 10th straight 100-meter race, clocking a speedy time of 10.33 seconds despite strong headwinds. The Washington 4 x 100 relay unit of Hooker, Willem Ryan, Tyler Rose and B.J. Dawson posted a season-best time of 40.14 and finished behind the winning mark of 39.46. The victorious Canadian team included Donovan Bailey, Bruny Surin and Glenroy Gilbert who made up three-fourths of the gold medal team that upset the U.S. National Team during the 1996 Olympic Games. Washington's Geoff Perry and Chris Ledford each improved their NCAA provisional qualifying marks in the 1,500 meters. Perry posted a third-place time of 3:43.43 while Ledford was fourth in 3:44.33.

Last Week (SPU Invitational Recap): Junior Keisha Griffis broke the Washington school record in the women's 400-meter race with a winning time of 54.44 on May 16 at the Seattle Pacific Invitational in Husky Stadium. She eclipsed the previous standard of 54.45 established in 1996 by current Husky assistant coach Patrice Turner. Griffis also won the 200-meter race in 24.50. Two other Washington women were double-event winners; junior Michele Reid won the long (18-4 3/4) and triple jumps (40-2 1/4) while sophomore Sesilia Thomas won the shot put (44-3 1/4) and discus (137-2).

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: Thirteen Washington athletes and two relay teams reached NCAA qualifying standards in 20 total events, including four 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 (65-4). Freshman Ja'Warren Hooker is an automatic 100-meter qualifier. Last year Washington sent three men and two women to the NCAA Championships 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).

Where the Husky Tracksters Rank Nationally . . . 

Women Event NCAA Rank Mark NCAA Leader, School Mark Aretha Hill Discus 1st 215-3 Aretha Hill, UW 215-3 Keisha Griffis 400m Hurdles 9th 57.59 Saidat Onanuga, UTEP 56.37 Anna Aoki 10,000 meters 10th 34:55.62 Amy Skieresz, Arizona 32:50.67 Deeja Youngquist 10,000 meters 12th 35:00.26 Amy Skieresz, Arizona 32:50.67 Danelle Kabush 1,500 meters 13th 4:20.50 Grazyna Penc, USC 4:15.13 Aretha Hill Shot Put 17th 51-5 Tressa Thompson, Nebraska 61-7 3/4 Glass, Griffis, Penton, Muhammad 4 x 400 Relay 21st 3:38.26 Texas 3:30.72 Danelle Kabush 3,000 meters 30th 9:34.92 Jessica Koch, Arkansas 9:14.04 Rebecca Morrison Hammer 64th 169-1 Amy Palmer, BYU 220-1

Men Ben Lindsey Shot Put 2nd 63-4 Brad Snyder, S. Carolina 66-11 1/4 Ben Lindsey Discus 3rd 202-7 Doug Reynolds, Arizona 206-11 Hooker, Prior, Anabel, Dawson 4 x 400 Relay 6th 3:05.21 Baylor 3:01.39 Ja'Warren Hooker 100 meters 9th 10.18 Percy Spencer, TCU 9.96 Derek Prior 400 meters 16th 46.13 Marlon Ramsey, Baylor 45.01 Christian Belz Steeplechase 21st 8:49.08 Matt Kerr, Arkansas 8:32.05 Geoff Perry 1,500 meters 22nd 3:43.43 Kevin Sullivan, Michigan 3:36.62 Craig Connors Pole Vault 24th(tie) 17-3 Jacob Davis, Texas 19-4 1/4 Chris Ledfford 1,500 meters 27th 3:44.33 Kevin Sullivan, Michigan 3:36.62 Ja'Warren Hooker 200 meters 29th(tie) 20.84 Shawn Crawford, Clemson 20.12 Christian Belz 5,000 meters 48th 14:13.88 Mebrahtom Keflezighi, UCLA 13:30.22

Next Meet: NCAA Championship Meet -- June 3 -6, Buffalo, N.Y.

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