March 31, 2007
STANFORD, Calif. - Washington sophomore Mart Israel, competing for just the second time in a collegiate uniform, took the 2007 NCAA lead in the discus Saturday with a 208-foot, 9-inch toss at the Stanford Invitational.
Israel's throw, which was one of three longer than 200 feet that he achieved during the competition, is the fourth-longest in the world this year and more than four feet beyond the previous collegiate-leading mark of 204-4 set by Arizona's Adam Kuehl.
A native of Karski-Nuia, Estonia, Israel has long ranked as one of the world's top junior-level throwers, placing eighth at the 2003 World University Games and seventh at the 2002 IAAF Junior World Championships. The sophomore enrolled at Washington to begin his collegiate throwing career last fall, and redshirted the indoor season before making his official collegiate debut last weekend.
His throw Saturday was a foot better than his previous best of 207-3, which ranked 40th in the world during the 2006 season.
"Mart threw last weekend, but I think we can consider this the day he arrived on the collegiate scene," said fifth-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "He popped three throws out over 200 feet today, and if he can continue to throw with that consistency at that distance, he's going to be tough for anyone to beat this year."
Saturday's action at Stanford - one of the largest collegiate meets of the year - also included an historic mark for UW assistant coach Kelly Strong, and several outstanding performances for UW athletes in the distance events.
Strong, who has coached distance runners at UW since 2002, won the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9 minutes 47.68 seconds that was the seventh-fastest ever by an American woman, and the second-fastest in the world in 2007. Strong set the American record in the 2,000-meter steeplechase at Husky Stadium two weeks ago, and is currently the U.S. leader in the event this year.
Sophomore Anita Campbell, meanwhile, shaved a stunning 28 seconds off of her 5,000-meter personal best with a time of 16:00.03 in the event, good for seventh in the nation in 2007 and fourth all-time in the UW record books.
Saturday was also notable for the 1,500-meter debut of defending NCAA champion Amy Lia, who ran a light schedule indoors after claiming the NCAA 1,500-meter crown last June, and peaking again in an All-West Region cross-country performance this fall.
The time off from competition proved no trouble for Lia, who shot right back into the top-five of the collegiate women's rankings in the 1,500 with a time of 4:17.49 on Saturday, just three seconds off her winning mark from last year's NCAA meet and the second-fastest time of her UW career. Junior Amanda Miller, an All-American in the mile indoors earlier this month, also debuted strong at 1,500 meters with a time of 4:21.48, eighth-fastest ever at UW.
Israel, Campbell, Lia and Miller each bettered NCAA Regional qualifying standards Saturday, while Husky volleyball player and discus competitor Janine Sandell achieved a regional-qualifying mark (157-1) in Friday night's action. Long-distance runners Jeremy Mineau (28:57.02) and Mike Sayenko (29:49.41) also added NCAA provisional qualifying marks in the 10,000 meters, one of two events in which NCAA qualification is not subject to regional standards.
"We didn't bring as large a group to this meet as we usually do, so I wasn't really sure what to expect," said Metcalf, who brought just distance runners and throwers to Stanford this year. "But we had some outstanding marks today. Mart and Anita were just terrific, and Amy and Amanda are both running times in March that they weren't running until May last year, so that's great to see. Over the last two weeks, I think we've built some good momentum that we can take into our scoring meet at Oregon next weekend."
As mentioned, Washington will travel to Eugene next weekend for the annual Pepsi Invitational, a four-way scoring meet featuring Washington, Oregon, USC and Kansas State. For complete results of the 2007 Stanford Invitational, or for more information on Washington track and field, visit www.GoHuskies.com.