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Dominant Dawgs Return to Idaho for Regular-Season Finale
Release: 02/16/2000
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Feb. 16, 2000

The Schedule: Fri. , Feb 18 -- McDonald's II Scoring Meet University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, Sat, Feb. 19 -- Vandal Invitational, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.

This Week: Fresh off dual-meet sweeps of Idaho, Eastern Washington and Western Oregon at last week's McDonald's Scoring Invitational, the Husky track and field teams return to Moscow, Idaho for Friday's McDonald's II Invitational and Saturday's Vandal Invitational. Roughly 25 Husky athletes will attend the events which will include college and university teams from around the northwest.

Last week: The Husky men's and women's track teams combined to win 17 events en route to dual meet sweeps at the Moscow McDonald's Scoring Invitational in the University of Idaho's Kibbie Dome. Sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg, Wash.) moved up in the national rankings with a victorious 6.64-second dash in the 60-meter final, and added a 21.09-second victory in the 200 meters. On the women's side, seniors Margaret Butler (West Vancouver, B.C.) and Cami Matson (Kent, Wash.) each posted career-bests with 1-2 finishes in the mile and 800 meters. Other individual Husky event winners included Matt Phillips in the pole vault, David Bazzi in the mile, Kelsey Sheppard in the 400m, Seselia Thomas in the shot put, Sandy Erickson in the pole vault, Greg Barber in the 55m hurdles, Chelsie Pentz in the 200m, Anna Aoki in the 3,000m, Jason Fayant in the 3,000m, and Geoff Perry in the 800m.

The rankings: Washington's dual meet sweeps Saturday helped the Husky women maintain their No. 18 ranking in this week's NCAA Dual Meet Rankings, while the Husky men slipped three spots from 19th to 22nd. The rankings, compiled weekly at Idaho State University, moved Nebraska past Big-12 rival Kansas State atop the women's rankings, while Florida remained at No. 1 for the second-consecutive week on the men's side. Both Husky squads remained unranked in this week's Trackwire 25, with No. 2 Stanford closing the gap on NCAA champion Arkansas on the men's side, and the Texas Lady Longhorns putting pressure on Louisiana State for the Lady Tigers' perch atop the national rankings. The Trackwire 25 ranks teams based on predicted finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Spring Break in Portugal: Husky freshman Kate Bradshaw (Issaquah, Wash.) will be trading in the purple and gold of Washington for a red, white, and blue "U.S.A" bib at next month's Junior Cross Country World Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal. Bradshaw earned a berth on the U.S. squad with a sixth-place finish at last weekend's U.S. Junior Cross Country Winter Nationals. Bradshaw, who currently ranks among the top five Huskies in both the mile and 3,000 meters, will run for the U.S. in the March 18 World Championship race after covering the 6,000-meter distance in 23:03 on Saturday, barely a minute behind race-winner Shanae Flanagan of Marblehead, Mass. Fellow freshman John Russell (Spokane, Wash.) just missed qualifying after losing a shoe in the muddy track at the 3,000-meter mark. Russell finished 13th.

Generation X-Cellent: Washington has seen an explosion of young talent in the past three years, from sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker's NCAA indoor title as a freshman in 1998, to promising 2000 newcomers Jamara Smith (Oakland, Calif.) and miler Russell. Following is a list of UW freshmen ranked among the top two Husky competitors in their events: Men's: 55m, 2nd, Greg Forni, 6.59s, 60m, 2nd, Forni, 7.05s, 200m, 2nd, Walters, 22.84s, Mile, 1st, John Russell, 4:09.22, Pole Vault, 2nd, Brad Walker, 15'-9, Shot Put, 1st, Doug Jackson, 51'-6.25", 35-lb. Weight, 2nd, Jackson, 41'-9.75", Women's: 55m, 1st, Jamara Smith, 7.12s, 60m, 1st, Jamara Smith, 7.63s, 200m, 2nd, Smith, 25.27s, High Jump, 1st, Brittany Roberts, 5'-4.25, Long Jump, 2nd, Smith, 18'-5.75", Triple Jump, 1st, Smith, 37'-3.75", 2nd, Roberts, 36'-3".

Back on Track: Junior sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg HS) inched closer to a defense of his 1998 NCAA title in the 60 meters with a 6.64-second mark in the event at last week's McDonald's Invitational. The provisional-qualifying time placed Hooker among the top-10 collegiate runners nationally, and marked the fifth time this season he has bested the provisional standard, pushing his record in events under 400m to a perfect 7-0 during the 2000 indoor season. Hooker will likely be competing in two events at March's NCAA meet, having posted a NCAA qualifier of 21.34c seconds in the 200 meters, the nation's 12th-fastest time in 2000. With personal-bests of 6.55c seconds in the 60m (the distance at which the NCAA sprint championship is held) and 21.20c in the 200m, Hooker has plenty of room to move up in the national rankings. On January 15, Hooker blew away the competition in his first indoor races since an ankle injury derailed his 1999 season last March. Hooker tied or broke two long-standing course records, shattering the Multi-Sport Facility record of 21.31 in the 200 with a 21.21-second mark, and tying the record of 6.75 seconds in the 60m. In 1998, Hooker captured Washington's first-ever national sprint title, winning the 55-meter dash in a blistering 6.13 seconds. Hooker's defense of the title was cut short by 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, bypassed the Huskies' 1999 football season to focus on earning a berth on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2000 Sydney games.

Catching Up With "Hook": Husky sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker has been on fire this year in both the 60- and 200-meter dashes, besting the NCAA's provisional qualifying standard a total of seven times. How fast has he been? Following is a comparison of Hooker's first four sprint finals (converted to the NCAA-standard 60-meter distance) to his first three sprint finals in 1998, when Hooker went on to win an NCAA title in the 55-meter dash.

2000: 1. 6.75, Penn State Quadrangular, 2. 6.72, Ohio State Buckeye Invitational, 3. 6.69, Silver State Invitational, 4. 6.64, McDonald's Scoring Invitational
1998: 1. 6.79, UW Indoor Classic, 2. 6.70, Eastern Washington Invitational, 3. 6.69, McDonald's Scoring Invite, 4. 6.59, Vandal Invitational

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 works 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.

Husky Qualifiers: Four 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 (aa) and track size (c) to meet NCAA standards. NCAA meet invitations are traditionally extended to the top 15 qualifiers in each event:

* Melinda Campbell -- 3,000m (Prov: 9:40.54c -- ranks 29th nationally) Sophomore, Newport, Ore. (Newport HS/Boise State University)

* Sandy Erickson -- Pole Vault (Prov: 11'-11.75" -- tied for 37th) Sophomore, Whitefish, Mont. (Whitefish HS)

* Ja'Warren Hooker -- 200m (Prov: 21.34c seconds -- tied for 12th) 60 meters (Prov: 6.64 seconds -- tied for 8th) Junior, Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg HS)

* Seselia Thomas --Shot Put (Prov: 49'-9.75" -- ranks 22nd) Senior, Spanaway, Wash. (Spanaway Lake HS)

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.

Last Year at the McDonald's II/Vandal Invitational: Sophomore sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker posted an NCAA-provisional qualifying mark to win the 60-meter dash, leading the Husky indoor squads to dual victories at Idaho's Kibbie Dome. Hooker crossed the line in a season-best 6.72 seconds, just ahead of senior teammate Willem Ryan, who placed fourth in a career-best 6.87 seconds. Freshman Shavon Hawkins made a splash in the women's 60m event, placing second in 7.75 seconds, while seniors Lara Kelley (400m), Patrice Davis (55m hurdles), and Jason Cadman (800m) also managed second-place finishes for the Huskies. Washington also dominated last year's McDonald's II Invitational, claiming three event victories. Kelley and junior Ben Meyer swept the 55m hurdles events, while sophomore Chelsie Pentz captured the 400m title.

Goin' Deep: Husky senior Seselia Thomas (Spanaway Lake HS) has thrust herself back into the national shot put rankings for the second consecutive year. On Jan. 22, Thomas launched a personal-best 49'-9.75" put at Ohio State's Buckeye Invitational, besting the NCAA's provisional qualifying standard by nearly a foot. The mark ranks 22nd nationally as of February 16th, and puts Thomas in position to make her first trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships. Thomas bested the NCAA provisional qualifying standard in 1999 as well, but fell just short of earning an invitation to the national meet.

Up, Up, and Away: That's what Husky track fans have been saying about sophomore vaulter Sandy Erickson (Whitefish, Mont.) since her arrival on campus in 1999. Two weeks ago at the University of Nevada's Silver State Invitational, Erickson became the fourth Husky to qualify for March's NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., clearing the bar at a personal-best 11'-11.75". This weekend, Erickson looks to improve her mark at Idaho's McDonald's Scoring Invitational, where last year she finished seventh with a 9'-8" vault. Erickson continued her success in the 1999 outdoor season, tying her career high in the vault at the Pac-10 Championships en route an eighth-place conference finish.

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.

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), senior Ben Lindsey (shot put), Thomas (shot put), departed letterwinner Deeja Youngquist (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters), and 4x400-meter relay specialists James Mackey and Scott Anabel.

Next Week: Fri.-Sat., Feb. 25-26 - MPSF Championships, Univ. of Nevada, Reno, Nev.

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