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Track & Field Squad Prepares for NCAA Championships
Release: 06/21/1999
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May 29, 1999

The Schedule

Wed.-Sat., June 2-5 -- NCAA Track & Field Championships;   Boise, Idaho (CBS TV)
Bronco Stadium;  11:00 a.m.-Wed.,  12 noon-Thurs.,  12:30 p.m.-Fri.,  11:00 a.m.-Sat. (all times PDT)

This Week:
Four women and two men from the University of Washington track & field team, including Pacific-10 Conference runners-up Anna Aoki (women's 10,000 meters) and Cecilia Barnes (women's discus) travel to Boise, Idaho for the NCAA Track & Field Championships, Wednesday through Saturday, June 2-5 at Bronco Stadium. Four Washington state natives are among the six-athlete contingent, including both Aoki and senior Deeja Youngquist in the women's 10,000-meter race. Junior Ben Lindsey, who ranks fourth nationally in the men's discus, and senior women's 400-meter hurdler Keisha Griffis, are both participating in their third consecutive championships. Barnes and sophomore men's javelin thrower Justin St. Clair are making their inaugural NCAA appearances.

Television Coverage:
The meet is nationally televised on a delayed basis by CBS Sports. A two-hour highlights package airs on Sunday, June 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on CBS (KIRO, channel 7 in Seattle).

Big Ben:
Washington junior Ben Lindsey was named the Pacific-10 Conference men's track & field athlete of the week on April 12. Lindsey boasts the nation's fourth-best discus performance this year, tops in the Pac-10, when he heaved the disc an NCAA automatic-qualifying distance of 200-8 to win on April 10 at the San Diego State Quad Meet. That is just shy of his career-best mark as he registered a discus throw of 202-7 on March 28, 1998 in San Diego that is the third longest in Washington history. The school record of 214-7 was set by Borys Chambul in 1976. The three-time All-American improved upon a ninth-place NCAA discus effort his freshman year with a fifth-place performance (193-1) last spring. Also a standout shot putter, Lindsey was the 1998 Pac-10 runner-up and finished fifth (62-5 3/4) at the 1998 NCAA Indoor championships. He reached the NCAA provisional standard on with a put of 60-4 1/2, but will not compete in the NCAA shot competition. His shot put mark of 65-4 on May 2, 1998 at Husky Stadium was the second best effort in Husky history, trailing only the school record 65-11 set in 1979 by Steve Summers. Lindsey won the Washington state high school discus title three times and claimed two prep shot championships.

Mono-a-Mano:
It seems only an illness could defeat Washington junior Ben Lindsey in the discus this season. Lindsey was undefeated in nine discus competitions during the 1999 campaign before being weakened by a bout with mononucleosis. The illness surfaced the week of the Pac-10 championships as a fever limited Lindsey's practice time. Only after the conference meet, on Monday, May 24, did physicians discover that Lindsey had mono, probably for three weeks. Despite the illness, Lindsey placed third in the shot put at the Pac-10s with a heave of 60-2 that was just two inches behind the winning effort of UCLA's Wade Tift (60-4). He finished fifth in the discus, registering a throw of 182-9 that was within six feet of the winning mark of 188-3 posted by USC's Gordon Hovey. Husky throws coach Ken Shannon suspected that Lindsey was ailing, noting that his flawless technique at the Pac-10 meet should have yielded longer throws. Shannon's theory that Lindsey was not at full strength was validated by the doctor's diagnosis of mono. Fortunately, Lindsey has been cleared to continue training and compete for the NCAA championships. He will likely limit his practice time and may even curtail his practice throws at the championship meet.

Washington NCAA Competitor Time Schedule & Pronunciation Guide

(All Times are Pacific Daylight Time)

Competitor Pronunciation Event (men/women) Semifinal Final Anna Aoki aay - OKEY 10,000 meters (w) none Thurs. June 3, 7:10 pm Cecilia Barnes suh - SEAL - yuh Discus (w) none Sat. June 5, 5:15 pm Keisha Griffis KEY - shuh GRIFF - us 400m Hurdles (w) Wed. June 2, 4:45 pm Fri., June 4, 5:30 pm Ben Lindsey LIN - zee Discus (m) none Wed. June 2, 4:00 pm Justin St. Clair SAINT CLARE Javelin (m) none Fri. June 4, 2:00 pm Deeja Youngquist DEE - juh YUNG - kwist 10,000 meters (w) none Thurs. June 3, 7:10 pm

Washington's 1999 NCAA Outdoor Championship Competitors

NCAA Competitor           Event           Mark    NCAA Rank  Year    Hometown (High School)
Women (4):   
Anna Aoki                10,000 meters   34:05.30    9th      Jr.    Vancouver, Wash. (Fort Vancouver HS)
Cecilia Barnes            Discus         175-8      13th      Fr.    Fresno, Calif. (Clovis West HS)
Keisha Griffis           400m Hurdles    58.00      20th      Sr.    Los Angeles, Calif. (Washington HS)
Deeja Youngquist         10,000 meters   34:04.70    8th      Sr.    Enumclaw, Wash. (Enumclaw HS)

Men (2) Ben Lindsey Discus 200-8 4th Jr. Lynnwood, Wash. (Lynnwood HS) Justin St. Clair Javelin 231-3 12th So. Tacoma, Wash. (Franklin Pierce HS)

Dynamic Distance Duo:
Washington features two of the finest women's distance runners in the nation. Both junior Anna Aoki and senior Deeja Youngquist will compete at the NCAA Championships for the second straight season. Aoki, the 1998 conference 10,000-meter champion, was the Pac-10 runner-up this year. Her career-best time of 34:05.30 ranks ninth nationally this season and is the third best in Husky history. Youngquist placed eighth in the 10,000 meters at the recent Pac-10 meet after placing third the previous three years. Her career-best time of 34:04.70 is the best in the Pac-10 this season, ranks No. 8 nationally and is the second best time in school history. Only 1984 Irish Olympic marathoner Regina Joyce has run a better women's 10,000-meter time in a Washington singlet than Youngquist and Aoki. Joyce set the school record of 33:13.45 in 1983. The current distance duo also reached the NCAA provisional 3,000- and 5,000-meter standards. Aoki clocked times of 9:36.86 and 16:45.73 while Youngquist has times of 9:33.70 and 16:46.58. They both made their NCAA championship meet debuts last spring in Buffalo, N.Y. Aoki placed 17th in the 10,000 meters and Youngquist was 20th.

Frosh Phenom:
The most surprising of Washington's entries to the NCAA Championship meet is freshman Cecilia Barnes who qualified for the women's discus competition on the strength of a phenomenal performance in her last competition. Barnes added over eight feet to her previous best of 167-0 registering an NCAA qualifying throw of 175-8 at the Pac-10 championships. She finished second at the conference meet behind defending national champion Seilala Sua of UCLA. Barnes' mark of 175-8 ranks 13th nationally and was the third-best throw in Husky history. Barnes is coached by Aretha Hill, a four-time discus All-American whose collegiate career concluded last year with a second-place performance at the NCAA championships. Hill was a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team and roomed with Cecilia's mother, Lacy Barnes-Mileham, during the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Lacy is a world-class discus thrower who competed at the 1996 Olympics. Cecilia's step-father, Mathew Mileham, represented Great Britain as a hammer thrower at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games.

F A S T F A C T S :
Four of Washington's six NCAA championship individual-event competitors are from the state of Washington: Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash./Fort Vancouver HS), Ben Lindsey (Lynnwood, Wash./Lynnwood HS), Justin St. Clair (Tacoma, Wash./Franklin Pierce HS) and Deeja Youngquist (Enumclaw, Wash./Enumclaw HS) . . . The last time a Washington individual won an NCAA outdoor track & field championship was 1988 when Jennifer Ponath won the women's shot put crown. The last Husky men's outdoor national title was registered in 1986 by Mike Ramos who won the decathlon with a total of 8,322 points that stood for 12 years as the collegiate record before being broken earlier this year by Tennessee's Tom Pappas (8,463) . . . The best team finish for the Washington women's squad was a 10th-place performance in 1988 . . . The best finish in recent history for the Husky men was a sixth-place effort in 1979. Since then, the UW men have cracked the national top-20 twice, finishing 15th in 1985 and 18th in 1983 . . . Four-time discus All-American Aretha Hill completed her collegiate career last spring with a Pac-10 title and runner-up NCAA performance. The 1996 U.S. Olympian and American collegiate record-holder (215-3) is now coaching the Washington throwers, assisting her mentor Ken Shannon . . . Two individuals represented Washington at the 1999 NCAA Indoor Championships, junior Anna Aoki and senior Derek Prior. Aoki, a 13th-place 3,000-meter finisher at the 1997 NCAA Indoors, finished 12th in the 5,000 meters with a career-best time of 16:33.51. Prior, who is red-shirting the outdoor season, was fourth in his preliminary heat of the men's 400 meters with a time of 47.27 that did not enable him to advance.

Hot Hurdler:
Senior Keisha Griffis (Los Angeles, Calif./Washington Prep HS) makes her third consecutive NCAA championships appearance to conclude a brilliant collegiate career as one of the premier hurdlers in Husky history. Griffis ranks No. 20 among the NCAA field with a season-best time of 58.00. A 1998 All-American, Griffis competed in the 400-meter hurdles at the last two NCAA championships. She placed ninth in 1998 and 18th in 1997. Griffis placed third in the circular hurdles at the recent Pac-10 championships after finishing second in 1998. Her career-best 400-meter hurdle 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 school record holder Terra Barter whose UW standard of 57.13 was registered at the 1995 NCAA championships. Griffis competed in her first-ever collegiate open 400-meter race on May 16, 1998 in Seattle 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.

Spear Specialist:
Sophomore Justin St. Clair is the latest in a long line of Washington javelin standouts. The Tacoma, Wash. native (Franklin Pierce HS) ranks 12th nationally with a career-best throw of 231-feet, 3-inches that is the ninth longest mark in Husky history. He placed third at the 1999 Pac-10 championships (224-5) after finishing seventh in 1998 (209-0). St. Clair was named the Pac-10 men's track & field athlete of the week on April 6. He has added over 17 feet to his career-best this season after entering the year with a top effort of 214-0. St. Clair won seven of the nine javelin competitions he entered this season and placed second at the Drake Relays and third at the Pac-10 championships. He has topped the 220-foot plateau in eight consecutive meets.

Washington's Javelin Legacy:
Since 1970 when men's head coach Ken Shannon began training UW javelin competitors, a Husky has won 10 of 30 conference men's titles. The most any other conference school can claim is five. Add in 1987 Pac-10 women's titlist Helena Uusitalo who won the 1986 NCAA title and Washington athletes have accounted for seven AAU/TAC national javelin championships and three NCAA titles. Also, three UW individuals have earned U.S. Olympic Team berths, including Duncan Atwood twice (1980, 1984). In 1989, Darryl Roberson set an American collegiate record of 249-6 with the new javelin.

The Javelin Streak:
Washington has had at least one men's or women's javelin competitor qualify for the NCAA championship meet and place among the top 13 during 15 of the 17 years since the NCAA began sponsoring women's sports in 1982. Following is the list of those Washington javelin throwers:

Washington Javelin NCAA Top-13 Placewinners (* women's competitors)

Year    UW Competitor    NCAA Place  Mark
1998    None
1997    None
1996    Troy Burkholder     4th     235-11
1995    *Laura Kruse       13th     151-4
1994    *Laura Kruse        8th     160-11
        *Monika Parker     10th     159-1
1993    *Monika Parker     7th      162-8
        *Kristin Ronning   11th     148-4
1992    Tony Parsley       13th     213-6
1991    Tony Parsley       10th     214-6
1990    Darryl Roberson    10th     222-3
1989    Darryl Roberson     5th     238-2
        *Shelly Sanford    12th     147-0
1988    Darryl Roberson     5th     235-10
        *Shelly Sanford     7th     171-2
1987    *Helena Uusitalo    2nd     182-0
        Bob Rockett         9th     226-9
1986    *Helena Uusitalo    1st     193-1
1985    Bob Rockett         2nd     276-2
1984    Bob Rockett         3rd     263-10
1983    *Deanna Carr        5th     168-9
        Bob Rockett         7th     248-1
1982    *Deanna Carr        6th     170-5
Washington NCAA Javelin Champions
Year    UW Competitor       Mark
1986    *Helena Uusitalo    193-1
1979    Tom Sinclair        261-3
1971    Cary Feldman        259-0
Where the Washington Tracksters Rank Nationally . . .
Women                Event          NCAA Rank       Mark      NCAA Leader     School      Mark
Anna Aoki            10,000 meters    9th         34:05.30    Leigh Daniel    Texas Tech  32:53.95
Cecilia Barnes       Discus          13th         175-8       Seilala Sua     UCLA        212-4
Keisha Griffis       400m Hurdles    20th         58.00       Natasha Danvers USC         55.75
Deeja Youngquist     10,000 meters    8th         34:04.70    Leigh Daniel    Texas Tech  32:53.95
Men
Ben Lindsey          Discus           4th         200-8       Gabor Mate      Auburn      202-4
Justin St. Clair     Javelin         12th         231-3       Matti Narhi     UTEP        269-1
High Husky Finishers:
The Huskies are seeking the school's first individual outdoor track & field national title since Jennifer Ponath won the 1988 women's shot put crown. The last championship for the Husky men was 1986 when Mike Ramos won the decathlon competition with a total of 8,322 points that stood for 12 years as the collegiate record. The Huskies hope to continue a streak that has seen at least one UW men's athlete post a top-10 NCAA finish each of the last 26 years, dating back to 1974. Three Huskies were top-10 finishers last year: then-freshman sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker was third in the 100 meters, Ben Lindsey placed fifth in the discus and Geoff Perry placed 10th in the 1,500 meters. Following is a list of the highest Washington finishes by a men's competitor each year since Ramos' NCAA decathlon title in 1986.

Place    Year    Athlete              Event          (mark)   Place   Year    Athlete Event  (mark)
 1st     1986    Mike Ramos           Decathlon     (8,322)    5th    1993    Adam Setliff    Discus (194-10)
 3rd     1987    Dan Bell             Steeplechase  (8:36.68)  7th    1994    Pete Kaligis    Shot Put (60-11 1/4)
 5th     1988    Darryl Roberson      Javelin       (235-10)   5th    1995    Ernie Conwell   Shot Put (61-1 1/4)
 5th     1989    Darryl Roberson      Javelin       (238-2)    4th    1996    Troy Burkholder Javelin (235-11)
 3rd     1990    Rick Noji            High Jump     (7-6 1/2)  9th    1997    Ben Lindsey Discus (187-2)
 5th     1991    Todd Wilson          Discus        (188-8)    3rd    1998    Ja'Warren Hooker    100 meters (10.25)
10th     1992    Greg Metcalf         Steeplechase  (8:58.69)

Coach Richburg:
After 12 years as head women's track & field coach at Washington, Orin Richburg took on a new assignment last season. He was named head men's and women's track & field/cross country coach in July of 1998. Prior to taking charge of the men's squad, 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 68-22 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 10 conference and two national individual champions. The UW women placed seventh in the Pac-10 this spring and posted a 4-1 dual-meet record. The Husky men, ninth-place Pac-10 finishers, had a perfect 5-0 dual-meet ledger and defeated Oregon and Washington State during the same season for only the first time since 1968. Last year, the Richburg-coached Huskies had an 8-1 women's dual-meet record and finished fourth at the Pac-10 meet The Husky men had a 7-2 dual-meet mark in 1998 and placed 23rd at the NCAA Championships, their best finish since 1985. 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.

1998 NCAA Recap:
Washington sent five women along with three men's individual qualifiers and a relay team to the 1998 NCAA Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. Six Huskies claimed All-America awards: Aretha Hill in the women's discus (2nd, 192-5), Ja'Warren Hooker in the men's 100 meters (3rd, 10.25), Ben Lindsey in the men's discus (5th, 193-1), Danelle Kabush in the women's 1,500 meters (9th, 4:22.85), Keisha Griffis in the women's 400-meter hurdles (9th, 59.26) and Geoff Perry in the men's 1,500 meters (3:48.57). Four of those All-Americans; Hooker, Lindsey, Griffis and Perry, return to compete for the 1999 Washington track & field squad.

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