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Track Team Splits up to Compete at Different Events
Release: 06/21/1999
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May 12, 1998

The Schedule: Sat., May 16 -- UW Track & Field at Seattle Pacific Invitational 9:00 a.m. Husky Stadium; Seattle, Wash.

Sat.-Sun, May 16-17 -- Pacific-10 Conference Multi-Event Championships
Sat.-Noon, Sun.-10 a.m. Cobb Track & Angell Field; Stanford, Calif.

Sun., May 17 -- UW Track & Field at Harry Jerome Track Classic
Swanguard Stadium; Burnaby, B.C. Canada

This Week: Divide and conquer is the motto this week for the Washington track & field teams. The Huskies go three separate directions with the majority remaining in Seattle to compete at the SPU Invitational on Saturday, May 16 at Husky Stadium. A small cadre of competitors travel to Canada for the Harry Jerome Track Classic in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, May 17. Two Huskies help kick off the Pacific-10 Conference track & field championship meet that begins with the multi-event championships on Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17 in Stanford, California. No UW women are scheduled to compete in the heptathlon while sophomore E.J. Iddings (Tahoma HS) and junior Mike MacPherson (Sehome HS) will vie for honors in the two-day, 10-event decathlon. The entire Washington team will compete at the Pac-10 championships the following weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 23-24 at Stanford.

SPU Invitational: Athletes from throughout the Northwest converge on Husky Stadium for the annual Seattle Pacific Invitational. The meet begins with the women's hammer throw at 9 a.m. The women's 3,000-meter race is the first event on the track, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. The final event on the slate is the men's 4 x 400 relay at 2:35 p.m.

Harry Jerome Classic: Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg HS) puts his perfect outdoor record on the line against an elite 100-meter field of world-class sprinters. Also representing Washington in Canada on the men's side are Willem Ryan (100m), Chris Ledford (1,500m), Geoff Perry (1,500m) and a 4 x 100 relay group that includes Hooker and Ryan. A pair of Canadians are scheduled to represent the Washington women's team at the Jerome meet in the 1,500-meter event, seniors Angela Froese (Clearbrook, B.C.) and Danelle Kabush (Courtenay, B.C.).

Pac-10 Multi-Events: The multi-event championships (heptathlon/decathlon) take place this weekend, preceding the rest of the Pac-10 track & field championships by a week. No UW athletes will compete in the heptathlon while two Husky men participate in the decathlon. Sophomore E.J. Iddings seeks to improve on last year's sixth-place effort while junior Mike MacPherson, who ranks seventh in the conference, makes his Pac-10 meet debut. Arizona's Dominic Johnson is the Pac-10 leader (7,632) and favorite after finishing second to Cal's Ross Bomben last spring.

Proud Pac-10 Tradition: The Pac-10 has produced some of the world's most outstanding decathletes, including Bob Mathias (Stanford) who captured Olympic gold in both 1948 and 1952. Another former conference competitor, Rafter Johnson (UCLA) won the 1960 Olympic gold medal. 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.

E.J. Iddings: Sophomore E.J. Iddings (Maple Valley, Wash./Tahoma HS) placed sixth in the decathlon at the 1997 championships with a total of 6,677 points. He capped that performance by winning the 1,500-meter event with a personal-best time of 4:29.66. Iddings has not competed in a decathlon this season. His career-best total of 6,991 points in the two-day, 10-event competition is the seventh-best figure ever for a Husky decathlete. Iddings was a decathlete in high school who amassed a total of 6,118 points in 1996, using collegiate implements, to rank No. 2 nationally. The state of Washington does not offer a high school decathlon championship, but Iddings was second at the 1996 state AAU championships. The last Washington athlete to win the Pac-10 decathlon title was Mike Ramos, a three-time winner who amassed a total of 8,322 points in 1986 that still stands as a collegiate record.

Mike MacPherson: Junior Mike MacPherson (Bellingham, Wash./Sehome HS) makes his Pac-10 championships debut this weekend, seeking to add athletic accolades to his lengthy list of academic honors. MacPherson was the recipient of the prestigious Sophomore Medal, which is awarded to the junior at the university having the highest scholastic standing for the first two years of coursework. This is not an award designed only for athletes. MacPherson was the top sophomore in the entire Washington student body last year. He was a first-team All-Pac-10 academic selection last spring with a 3.92 grade point average in biochemistry. MacPherson's career-best mark of 6,387, posted on April 5-6 in Bellingham, Wash., ranks seventh among Pac-10 decathletes. He was a state prep high jump champion.

Decathlon Schedule & Husky Best Marks

Saturday   Event      Iddings (6,991)   MacPherson (6,387)
12:30 am  100 meters   11.3       11.69
1:15 pm   Long Jump    20-2 1/2   20-9 1/4
3:00 pm   Shot Put     37-5       35-9 1/4
4:30 pm   High Jump    6-1 1/2    6-6
6:00 pm   400 meters   50.20      52.7

Sunday Event Iddings MacPherson 10:00 am 110m Hurdles 15.6 15.80 11:00 am Discus 128-10 121-8 12:30 pm Pole Vault 15-3 1/2 15-1 3:00 pm Javelin 192-8 167-10 4:30 pm 1,500 meters 4:29.66 4:55.8

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 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.

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 nine 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. 7 nationally. His 10.18 broke the school record of 10.26 established by Pablo Franco in 1975. Hooker is undefeated in 14 outdoor sprint races this spring, winning four 200-meter races and one in the 400 meters. He won the Drake Relays 100-meter title with a time of 10.41. Hooker took part in the first two weeks of spring drills as a receiver on the Husky football team, but did not 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 (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 is the second best effort in Husky history. The UW school shot put standard is 65-11 set by Steve Summers in 1979. Lindsey won the Washington state high school discus championship three times and claimed two prep shot put titles.

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 seventh fastest time in the nation this season, the third-best among Pac-10 competitors. 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. At the Pac-10- meet, Griffis cut nearly one second off her personal best time of 58.33 recorded April 26 in a winning performance at the Drake Relays. Griffis' career-best of 57.35 is a stunning 6.12-second improvement over her best mark of 1:03.47 entering the 1997 season.

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.

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  8th       57.59    Saidat Onanuga, UTEP   52.77
Anna Aoki      10,000 meters 9th       34:55.62 Amy Skieresz, Arizona  2:50.67
Danelle Kabush 1,500 meters  11th      4:20.50  Grazyna Penc, USC      4:15.13
Deeja Youngquist10,000 meters10th      35:00.26 Amy Skieresz, Arizona 32:50.67
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  28th      9:34.92  Jessica Koch, Arkansas   9:14.04
Rebecca Morrison Hammer      62nd      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 5th 3:05.21 Baylor 3:01.39 Ja'Warren Hooker 100 meters 7th 10.18 Percy Spencer, TCU 9.96 Derek Prior 400 meters 13th 46.13 Brandon Couts, Baylor 45.04 Christian Belz Steeplechase 18th 8:49.08 Matt Kerr, Arkansas 8:32.05 Ja'Warren Hooker 200 meters 21st(tie) 20.84 Joe Criner, Cal State Northridge 20.14 Craig Connors Pole Vault 22nd(tie) 17-3 Jacob Davis, Texas 19-4 1/4 Chris Ledfford 1,500 meters 23rd 3:44.53 Seneca Lassiter, Arkansas 3:39.28 Geoff Perry 1,500 meters 34th 3:45.42 Seneca Lassiter, Arkansas 3:39.28 Christian Belz 5,000 meters 42nd 14:13.88 Mebrahtom Keflezighi, UCLA 13:30.22

Track Tidbits: Three Washington school record have fallen this year and a fourth was established. Senior Aretha Hill topped her own women's discus mark (196-7) with a throw of 215-3, freshman Ja'Warren Hooker bettered Pablo Franco's 1975 100-meter record (10.26) with a 10.18 clocking and the women's 4 x 400 relay standard set in 1994 was eclipsed by the quartet of Monique Glass, Marzette Penton, Keisha Griffis and Asya Muhammad who turned in a time of 3:38.26. Chris Withey established a record of 11-0 1/4 in the women's pole vault, a new event in 1998 . . . 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: Ja'Warren Hooker and Ben Lindsey each won two men's events while Marzette Penton and Aretha Hill were women's double winners on May 9 at Husky Stadium, helping the Washington track and field teams sweep Oregon in a dual meet for only the second time in history. Hooker won the 100 meters in a meet-record time of 10.29 and also won the 200 in 20.90. He ran a leg on both winning Washington relays, including an opening leg on the 1,600-meter relay event that concluded the meet. The Huskies overcame an 81-77 deficit with a relay victory, sparked by Hooker's lead leg that opened a large margin en route to the quartet's meet-record 3:07.65 performance. The Huskies won 82-81 in the men's competition, securing their first back-to-back dual-meet victories over Oregon since 1967-68. Washington outpointed the Ducks 108-95 last year in Eugene. The defeat spoiled the final dual-meet outing for Oregon under legendary 26th-year Coach Bill Dellinger who is retiring following the 1998 season. The Washington women registered an 85.5 to 68.5 victory, the first time the UW men and women defeated Oregon during the same meet since 1990. Hill topped the fields in both the women's discus (191-1) and shot put (49-1) while Penton outraced all competition in the 100 (12.04) and 200-meter (24.77) events. The UW women won 12 of 18 events. Lindsey replicated Hill's feat on the men's side, winning the discus (191-2) and shot put (63-0). He led the Husky men who won 10 of 19 events. Two Washington men registered NCAA provisional qualifying marks. Sophomore Geoff Perry turned in a time of 3:45.42 in the 1,500 meters. Junior Christian Belz, an NCAA championships competitor last spring, clocked an 8:49.08 in the steeplechase.

Next Week: Sat.-Sun., May 23-24 -- UW Track & Field at Pacific-10 Conference Championships Cobb Track & Angell Field; Stanford, Calif.

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