June 11, 2003
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Washington senior Heather Reichmann made her NCAA Track and Field Championships debut memorable Wednesday, fighting through cold, windy conditions to qualify for the finals of the women's javelin throw.
Junior distance runner Todd Arnold also competed Wednesday as the Huskies opened competition at the four-day meet, hosted by Sacramento State University.
A graduate of Seattle's King's High School, Reichmann threw 157 feet, five inches on her first throw of the night, a mark which earned the Husky ninth place in Wednesday's qualifying round. Seeded 18th nationally entering the event, Reichmann is guaranteed to finish no lower than 12th in Friday night's final.
Indiana's Irina Kharun was the top qualifier with a throw of 177-10, while Georgia's Krista Woodward earned the last of 12 finals spots in with a throw of 155-3.
"The longer you had to sit around tonight, the colder you got, so it was good that Heather was able to throw big right off the bat," said first-year head coach Greg Metcalf.
The school record-holder in the event, Reichmann was awarded one of six provisional berths to this year's national meet after failing to earn an automatic berth at the NCAA West Regional Meet. The senior is completing her first full season of track and field competition, having joined the team late in each of the previous three seasons due to her participation with the Huskies' women's basketball team.
"She's just beginning to scratch the surface of her potential," said Metcalf.
Junior Todd Arnold also made his NCAA Championships debut Wednesday, running in the last of four preliminary heats of the men's 800-meter run.
The Ocosta, Wash., native, who qualified for his first-ever national meet with a fourth-place finish at May's NCAA West Regional, found himself boxed inside early after cutting in from the outside lane at the 100-meter mark.
Needing to finish among the top three in his heat to guarantee a spot in the finals, Arnold was held at the rear of the pack for the first 600 meters, before finally drawing an opening and accelerating down the home stretch to place sixth.
Arnold finished in a time of 1:50.80, just over a second behind the time of 1:49.49 needed to earn one of four provisional spots in the semifinal.
"Because Todd is so totally focused on success, he would never admit this himself, but it's fantastic just for him to be here," said Metcalf of Arnold, who just four weeks ago had not yet bettered the Pac-10's 800-meter qualifying standard. "He learned a lot from his race today, and he'll be able to use that throughout what should be an outstanding senior season in 2004."
Washington will have seven athletes in action on Thursday, which includes the preliminaries of the women's pole vault, triple jump, and 1,500 meters, the men's 1,500-meter prelims and the finals of the women's 10,000-meter run.
For live results of the 2003 NCAA Track and Field Championships, visit www.hornetsports.com, or www.ncaasports.com.