March 10, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Washington senior Ryan Brown became just the second Husky track and field athlete in the past 38 years to win multiple NCAA titles Saturday, coming from 10 meters back on the final lap to win the 800-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Brown's win helped the Washington men to a tie for seventh in the final team standings, the best-ever performance by a UW men's team indoors.
The reigning NCAA outdoor champion in the event, Brown entered Saturday's final with the nation's fifth-best mark overall. Just as he did in winning the 2005 Pac-10, 2005 Regional, and 2006 NCAA outdoor titles, Brown let others lead for the first 600 meters, remaining clear of traffic while staying within 5-10 meters of the leaders throughout.
At the 100-meter mark, Michigan's Andrew Ellerton made a move on the outside and Brown went with him, the two quickly passing leaders Paul Harris of Navy and Kyle Smith of Northern Iowa. Brown and Ellerton ran side-by-side through the final turn before Brown outsprinted the Wolverines senior to the finish line for the win.
"I just wanted to stay out of trouble and make my kick at the end," Brown said. "This weekend was the first time I've ever run an open 800 on a 200-meter banked track before, so I tried to make my kick a little early since I knew there wasn't going to be as much room on the straightaway after I came off that last corner."
"Ryan's the best stretch runner of anyone I've ever seen," said fifth-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "Guys were getting jostled around, but Ryan stayed out of trouble for the first 600 meters or so, then just timed his move perfectly on that last lap."
Brown's time of 1:48.40 is the second-fastest by an American athlete this year, and was 15 hundredths of a second ahead of Ellerton's 1:48.55. Smith placed third in 1:49.09, with Husky junior Austin Abbott sprinting past five runners on the final lap for a fourth-place finish, in 1:49.65.
Brown is just the fifth Husky ever to win multiple NCAA track and field titles, and is the first to do so exclusively in events on the track since 1930. Brad Walker, who won back-to-back NCAA indoor pole vault crowns in 2003 and 2004, is the most recent to win as many as two NCAA titles, while thrower Scott Neilson holds the all-time UW record with seven NCAA titles won from 1976-79.
"It defintely felt different this year being 'expected' to win," Brown said. "I kind of like being a surprise, and just sort of sneaking up on people at the end, but I guess I can't really do that anymore. I think it definitely helped having won NCAAs last year, I didn't feel a lot of pressure to win or anything. I could just go out and relax and do my thing."
The win by Brown also earned the senior his second All-America honor of the meet and the eighth of his career, bringing him within two of sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker's all-time UW record of 10 All-America honors.
Brown's win, plus the fourth-place finish by Abbott, briefly lifted the Huskies into fifth place in the men's team scoring with 22 points. With no athletes competing in the day's final five events, however, the Huskies ultimately finished in a tie for seventh with Arkansas, still the best-ever finish for a UW men's team indoors. No. 1 Wisconsin captured the men's team title with 40 points, ahead of Florida State (35) and Texas (34), while top-ranked Arizona State earned its first-ever NCAA women's crown with 38 points, edging LSU (33) and Tennessee (30). Washington's women tied for 34th overall, scoring six points.
"On one hand, you're excited to have finished better than any Washington team before, but on the other hand, you're looking at the points we lost in some of the field events and wondering what could have been," said Metcalf. "But that's what great about where we're at as a program right now. Just coming to this meet isn't enough anymore, we're trying to compete for trophies. Particularly for our younger guys like Austin, Norris and Scott Roth, who all have a chance to come back again next year, this just shows them how small the difference is between seventh place and a national title. We were just two big performances short this year, but we were in the conversation all week, at least, and that's exciting."
Washington also received a history-making performance from junior Amanda Miller, who became the first Husky woman ever to be an All-American in both the 800 meters and mile with a ninth-place mile finish. Miller, who earned All-America honors indoors in the 800 meters as a freshman, grabbed her second-career honor Saturday with a time of 4:49.13, seven seconds back of winner Shannon Rowbury of Duke.
Back on the men's side, junior Norris Frederick (Seattle, Wash./Roosevelt) completed his busy weekend with a tie for 10th in the men's high jump, earning his second All-America honor in as many days and the fourth of his UW career. Frederick, who placed sixth in Friday's long jump to earn his third-straight indoor All-America honor in that event, cleared 6-10 ¾ on his second attempt Saturday, before missing all three attempts at what would have been a personal-best height of 7-2 ½.
Frederick and Abbott, each earned their third- and fourth-career All-America honors at this weekend's meet, a total surpassed by just five other Huskies all-time, including Brown. In all, 11 Huskies earned All-America honors at the two-day meet, breaking the Washington single-meet record of 10 set at both the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Indoor Championship meets.
For complete results from the NCAA Championships, or for more information on Washington track and field, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
2007 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships
Randall Tyson Track Center; Fayetteville, Ark.
Mar. 10, 2007
Men's Team Scores (Top-10): 1. Wisconsin 40; 2. Florida State 35; 3. Texas 34; 4. Stanford 28; 5. Auburn 25; 6. Michigan 23; 7 (tie). Washington 22, Arkansas 22; 9. Northern Iowa 21.50; 10 (tie). Baylor 21, Tennessee 21, LSU 21, Louisville 21.
Women's Team Scores (Top-10): 1. Arizona State 38; 2. LSU 33; 3. Tennessee 30; 4. Georgia 28; 5. Auburn 26; 6. Stanford 24; 7. UCLA 23; 8. Texas 22; 9. Michigan 21; 10 (tie). South Carolina 20, Texas Tech 20; 34 (tie). Washington 6.
Women's Results (UW Only)
Mile Run Final: 9. Amanda Miller, 4:49.13.