May 3, 2005
On the Track: A decorated senior class including All-Americans Lindsey Egerdahl, Andy Fader, Kate Soma and Sean Williams will compete at Husky Stadium for the final time Saturday in the Ken Shannon Invitational, the team's final tuneup before next weekend's Pac-10 Championships. The Huskies open the stadium doors to dozens of the Northwest's top colleges and clubs for this week's meet, beginning with field events at 11:00 a.m., and track events at 12:30 p.m. Admission is free to all spectators, though parking will be charged due to Windermere Cup races Saturday morning.
Traffic Reminder: The Montlake Bridge will be closed to all traffic from 9:40 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., due to the crew races and Opening Day boat parade. Access to Husky Stadium can be found from the North, by exiting Interstate 5 at 45th Ave N, and following 45th Ave east to Montlake Boulevard, then turning right to reach the stadium.
Pac-10 Multis: While her teammtes wrapup the regular season in Seattle, senior Grace Vela will try to put some early points on the board for Washington in the multi-events portion of the Pac-10 Championships, held a week prior to main meet for scheduling purposes. The fourth-place finisher in the Pac-10 heptathlon last season, Vela enters the competition, to be held Friday and Saturday at UCLA, without a legal mark in the heptathlon this season. The Toronto native placed 21st in the heptathlon at last year's NCAA Championships, and boasts a best mark of 5,225 points in the event that ranks second in school history.
Event Schedule: Following is a schedule of events for Saturday's Ken Shannon Invitational at Husky Stadium. All times are Pacific and subject to change:
9:00 a.m. -- Hammer (M)*
10:00 a.m. -- Hammer (W)*
11:00 a.m. -- Javelin (W)
11:00 a.m. -- Pole Vault (W)
11:00 a.m. -- Long Jump (W)
12:00 p.m. -- Javelin (M)
12:30 p.m. -- Shot Put (W)
12:30 p.m. -- Long Jump (M)
12:30 p.m. -- Steeplechase (W)
12:45 p.m. -- Steeplechase (M)
1:00 p.m. -- High Jump (W)
1:00 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay (W)
1:05 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay (M)
1:10 p.m. -- 1500m Run (W)
1:25 p.m. -- 1500m Run (M)
1:40 p.m. -- 100m Hurdles (W)
1:50 p.m. -- 110m Hurdles (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Triple Jump (W)
2:00 p.m. -- Discus (W)
2:00 p.m. -- Shot Put (M)
2:00 p.m. -- 400m Dash (W)
2:10 p.m. -- 400m Dash (M)
2:20 p.m. -- 100m Dash (W)
2:30 p.m. -- 100m Dash (M)
2:30 p.m. -- High Jump (M)
2:40 p.m. -- 800m Run (W)
2:50 p.m. -- 800m Run (M)
3:00 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles (W)
3:10 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles (M)
3:15 p.m. -- Triple Jump (M)
3:15 p.m. -- Discus (M)
3:20 p.m. -- 200m Dash (W)
3:30 p.m. -- 200m Dash (M)
3:40 p.m. -- 5000m Run (W)
4:00 p.m. -- 5000m Run (M)
4:20 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (W)
4:25 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (M)
* at West Seattle Stadium.
Meet Results: Results will be posted throughout the meet on the wall adjacent to Tunnel 23 in Husky Stadium. Results will also be posted to GoHuskies.com, with a full recap to be posted at the meet's conclusion.
Ken Shannon Honored: Washington renamed its annual spring invitational three years ago to honor former head coach Ken Shannon, the second-longest tenured coach in University of Washington history. In 29 years as head coach of Washington men's track and field team, from 1968-97, Shannon guided the Huskies to seven top-12 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including a best of sixth in 1972. Under Shannon's tutelage, Husky athletes combined to earn 81 All-America certificates, 38 Pac-10 titles, and 18 NCAA championships, while setting 10 NCAA records. After stepping down as Washington's head coach following the 1997 season, Shannon remained on staff as the UW's throws coach, mentoring seven more All-Americans over the next four years, including 2000 U.S. Olympian Aretha Hill, before retiring for good in 2001.
Historic Husky Stadium: On the shores of Lake Washington and with vistas of Mount Rainier, Husky Stadium is the largest stadium in the Pacific Northwest and the nation's 15th-largest on-campus facility. Built in 1920 at a cost of $600,000, the facility has hosted some of the world's most prestigious meets, including the 1990 Goodwill Games, the 1971 NCAA Championships, the 1972 AAU Championships and the 1990 and 1997 Pacific-10 Conference Championships.
Huskies Topple Cougs:, Junior Shane Charles set a Grenadan national record to earn one of 11 event victories for the Husky men Saturday in dual-meet action against Washington State, helping Washington to its first win over its cross-state rivals since 2000, and just its fourth since 1975. Charles' record of 50.76 seconds was below the meet record of 51.13 set by current WSU assistant coach Mark Macdonald in 1990, and was the second-fastest time ever by a Husky in the event. Sophomore Martin Bingisser (204-7, hammer) and junior Bruce Jackson (46.70, 400m dash) also earned impressive wins for Washington, whose total of 110.5 points was its most in the meet's 105-year history. Senior Laura Halverson (10:41.67, steeple) and sophomore Ashley Lodree (13.59, 100m hurdles) also set meet records, but it wasn't enough for the UW women as WSU swept all eight field events for a 111-92 win. Washington improved to 31-51-1 all-time in men's competition against WSU, and is 19-10 all-time vs. the Cougars' women.
National Records Abound: Washington athletes accounted for two national records last weekend, with Grenada's Shane Charles clocking his country's fastest-ever 400-meter hurdles time in dual-meet action at Husky Stadium, and 2000 UW alum Christian Belz breaking Switzerland's national record at 10,000 meters in the Cardinal Invitational at Stanford. Charles' time, the second-fastest in UW history, broke his own Grenadan national record of 50.95 seconds set in 2004, giving the Husky junior both Grenada's junior and senior national records in the event. Belz, meanwhile, clocked a 27:54.11 in the first 10,000-meter race of his professional career to break the 20-year-old Swiss record of 27:54.29 set by Markus Ryffel. A two-time Olympian, Belz already owns Switzerland's national record in the steeplechase, and has now qualified himself for this summer's IAAF World Championships in both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events.
Monster PR of the Week: It may not have been the flashiest PR of the week -- Shane Charles', Martin Bingisser's and Bruce Jackson's being the most eye-popping -- but senior Camille Connelly's 10:43.26 effort in the steeplechase was just as significant. Connelly's time -- the fourth-best ever in the event for a UW woman -- provided key depth for the Huskies in an event battered by injuries and attrition, and earned the Marysville, Wash., native her second-career trip to the NCAA West Regional in Oregon later this month. Connelly placed 22nd at the Regional in 2003, after a seventh-place Pac-10 effort.
Rankings Report: Charles' record and big marks by Bingisser and Jackson helped the Huskies climb three spots to 10th in this week's USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings, which simulate head-to-head competition between the nation's top college teams. The Huskies' 353.55 points are a season-high for UW, which stands just 33 points behind Texas Tech for the No. 1 ranking. The UW women also earned a jump in the USTCA ranking, climbing from 19th last week to 15th Tuesday, their 335.99-point total 60 behind the 398.90 of top-ranked UCLA. NCAA indoor champion Arkansas continued to lead the men's rankings in the Trackwire 25, which projects team scoring at the NCAA Championships. The Razorbacks led all schools with 67 points, while UW went unranked. The Huskies also fell short of Trackwire's top-25 women's ranking, led by Texas' 60 points.
Pac-10 Format Change: For the first time, Pac-10 athletes will no longer qualify for the Pac-10 championships by meeting pre-determined qualifying standards. Instead, each Pac-10 school will be allowed to bring any 24 men and any 24 women to UCLA for the May 14-15 meet, regardless of entry mark. In previous years, only qualified athletes were allowed to compete, while each team was granted three wildcards, and was allowed to enter one competitor in every event for which it had no qualifier. To view the 2005 Pac-10 Performance List, visit www.DirectAthletics.com, and follow the links at the top of the page. No password is required. The top-25 only in each event can also be viewed at www.Pac-10.org.
NCAA Selection Process: With the 2005 collegiate season season entering its final month, Washington's athletes will be more focused than ever on earning those crucial NCAA Regional qualifyin marks. Automatic NCAA Championships berths will be granted only to the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relay teams, from each of the four Regional Championships contested nationwide May 27-28. Athletes qualify for Regionals by meeting pre-determined NCAA standards, or by winning their conference title. The NCAA will then supplement the Championships field with the highest-ranking competitors (roughly 6-7 per individual event and 5-6 per relay) from the national performance lists, provided the athlete competed at a Regional competition and was not among the finishers to earn automatic NCAA berths. The lone exceptions are the 10,000-meter and multi-events, in which athletes qualify directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting provisional and automatic standards. For a complete list of UW's NCAA postseason qualifiers, see the box on page 3 of this release.
Dawg Bites: Sophomore Ashley Lodree was named Pac-10 Women's Track Athlete of the Week on Apr. 25. Lodree ran a Pac-10 leading time of 59.65 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles at Oregon on Apr. 23, and led the Huskies' 4x400-meter relay to a time of 3:44.58, both ninth-fastest in UW history. Lodree was the first UW woman since 1998 to earn the Pac-10 honor ... Washington's 10 All-Americans at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships were its most ever at an NCAA meet, and equaled the team's total from the last four NCAA Championships combined ... Kate Soma and Ashley Wildhaber each earned All-America honors indoors in the pole vault, becoming the first UW event tandem to earn All-America honors at the same meet since 1994 ... Lindsey Egerdahl's indoor All-America honor in the women's mile, and that earned by the men's distance medley relay team of Austin Abbott, Sean Williams, Ryan Brown and Andy Fader were the first such awards ever earned by UW competitors in those events ... Freshmen Austin Abbott, Norris Frederick and Amanda Miller were All-Americans indoors in 2005, the first UW frosh All-Americans since 1999 ... Washington currently boasts four women's pole vaulters with bests over 13-5, the only such quartet in NCAA history ... Two former Huskies are currently serving as Washington assistant coaches. Three-time U.S. javelin champion Duncan Atwood is a volunteer assistant with the Husky spearers, while All-American distance runner David Bazzi works with Washington's men's distance runners.
Huskies are World-Class: National-record setters Shane Charles and Christian Belz aren't the only Huskies making international headlines this spring -- a number of former Huskies and UW coaches are doing their part this year to make Washington a player on the international scene. Two-time NCAA indoor pole vault champion Brad Walker won the vault at the 2005 USA Indoor Championships in February, and is ranked seventh in the world in 2005. UW alum Sabrina Monro won the 2005 NACAC Cross Country Championship, while past UW All-Americans Belz and Courtney Inman each excelled at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in France. Additionally, 2003 Husky grad Mat Schwinn is America's seventh-ranked competitor in the discus, while UW assistant coach Kelly Strong, an Arizona State alum, is the world's seventh-ranked competitor in the steeplechase.
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight: Four-time All-American pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0", but the Husky senior cuts a towering figure in collegiate pole vaulting history. Soma has cleared the elite 14-foot barrier four times in her UW career and three times this season, including a UW indoor record clearance of 14-3 1/2 on Feb. 12 that equals the seventh-best by a collegiate vaulter all-time, and is tops by a collegian this year. The Portland, Ore., native is tied for fifth among American women in the 2005 IAAF World Rankings, and is the 24th-ranked woman in the world. Soma earned second at March's NCAA Indoor Championships, her second-straight runner-up honor in the event and her fourth-career All-America performance, equaling Aretha Hill and Meg Jones for the most such honors in UW history. That consistency has helped Soma to break UW's pole vault record in each of her seven collegiate "seasons," including four indoors and three outdoors. In clearing 14-3 1/2, Soma backed up her UW outdoor record clearance of 14-2 at last year's Pac-10 Championships, a vault which won Soma her first Pac-10 title and qualified her for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Soma followed up her Pac-10 crown with a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships and her second All-America honor of the year, a feat accomplished by just four other UW women all-time. Perhaps it's her support system -- Soma's mother, Donna, boasts an U.S. vault age-group record, while her high school coach designs shoes worn by elite vaulters Dragila and Dmitri Markov.
All-Time NCAA Division-I Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Thorey Elisdottir, Georgia, 2001, 14-9 1/2i
4. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
5. Lacy Janson, Florida State, 2003, 14-7 1/4i
5. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
7. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
7. Melissa Price, Fresno State, 1998, 14-3 1/2
9. April Steiner, Arkansas, 2003, 14-3 1/4i
9 Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
Moving On Up: Including her second-place effort at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, senior Kate Soma has matched or improved her finish in each of her six-career appearances at the NCAA meet, having placed 16th outdoors in 2002, 12th indoors and seventh outdoors in 2003, fifth (tied) indoors and second outdoors in 2004, and second indoors in 2005. Should that trend continue at June's NCAA Outdoor meet, Soma could become just the third NCAA champion in UW women's history, and the first since 1988.
Vault Supremacy: There is little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting. Four UW women qualified for the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, most-ever for any team in the event. Senior Kate Soma and junior Ashley Wildhaber each earned All-America honors with top-five finishes, giving UW four vaulters with career top-13 NCAA finishes under their belts, including a 13th-place finish by sophomore Stevie Marshalek on Saturday, and an 11th-place finish by junior Carly Dockendorf at the 2004 NCAA outdoor meet. The four also are the only quartet in collegiate vault history to each boast bests above 13-5, including marks by Soma (14-3 1/2) and Wildhaber (13-9 1/4) that rank among the top-10 in Pac-10 Conference history.
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
6. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
7. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
7. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
9. Ashley Wildhaber, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4i
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
Resourceful Recruiting: Washington's coaches in 2005 have found a creative way to add elite athletes to the squad without giving up scholarships -- recruit talent from UW's other sports. The current UW track roster includes three members of UW's football team, two women's basketball players, and a UW gymnast. The most accomplished of the sextet is gymdawg Carly Dockendorf, a two-time NCAA competiror in the pole vault with a lifetime best of 13-5 1/4. Dockendorf is joined by football players Isaiah Stanback, Cody Ellis and Matt Fountaine, and women's basketball players Angie Jones and Jill Bell. Stanback, who played in seven games at quarterback for the UW in 2004, qualified for the MPSF meet indoors in the 60-meter dash, and clocked a 10.93 for 100 meters outdoors. Wide receiver Ellis and cornerback Fountaine also competed at 60 meters indoors, while sophomore Jones, a reserve guard, has competed in the high jump. The gem of the group could be Bell, who made her UW long jump debut in Oregon earlier this month. The basketball team's top rebounder, Bell set a state prep record in the long jump in 2000, and was the ninth-place finisher in the event at the 1999 World Youth Championships. On the flipside, Husky jumper J.R. Wolfork suited up at wide receiver for the Husky football team during spring practice.
You Might Recall: The practice of mining talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for the Husky track program in the past. In fact, a glance at Washington's career top-10 charts reveals several such performers, including 110m hurdles record-holder Spider Gaines, a tailback for the UW football team in the 1970s, and sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, the UW record-holder at 100m, 200m, and 400m and a Husky wide receiver from 1997-98. Others on the list include football players Ernie Conwell (No. 5, shot put), Dana Hall (No. 3, 110m HH), Sterling Hinds (No. 3, 100m/200m), Pete Kaligis (No. 6, shot put), Orlando McKay (No. 2, 400m), Brent Merritt (No. 6, 400m) and Tony Parrish (No. 5, triple jump), basketball players Tara Davis (No. 1, triple jump; No. 2, long jump) and Heather Reichmann (No. 2, javelin) and All-American volleyball star Makare Desilets (No. 5, high jump). UW's two-sport stars have even excelled on the world stage -- Herman Brix and Paul Jessup, who starred for UW's football teams in the 1920s, each competed at the Olympic Games, and set world records in the shot put and discus, respectively.
Remember Me?: To the casual Husky fan, junior Will Conwell may have fallen off the radar in 2003 when he gave up football -- where he was a UW linebacker -- in favor of track and field. After redshirting the 2003 season to rehab two broken wrists, Conwell burst back onto the scene in 2004, earning an NCAA Regional bid in the discus with a throw of 173-5 and taking fourth place at the Pac-10 Championships. The Pac-10's No. 3-returning discus thrower in 2005, Conwell has his season off to a fast start with an indoor PR of 188-5 and an outdoor best of 178-10, both beyond the NCAA's regional qualifying standard. Once expected to follow his uncle, Husky legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory, Conwell is instead focusing on matching his famous uncle's throwing accolades. A five-year letterwinner in track and field at Washington, the elder Conwell ranks fourth all-time at UW in the shot put, and was the fifth-place finisher in the event at the 1996 NCAA Championships.
Brains And Brawn: In just two short years, sophomore Martin Bingisser has earned a third-place Pac-10 finish and climbed to fifth in UW history in the hammer -- but it's another accomplishment that truly sets the 21-year-old apart. Bingisser will earn his bachelor's degree in philosophy in June after just three years of college, and has been accepted into the UW School of Law for fall quarter enrollment. The Interlake High School graduate, who plans to use his final two years of eligibility while pursuing his J.D., has rocketed up UW's hammer rankings since transferring from Cal State Northridge prior to the 2004 season, culminating with a personal-best toss of 204-7 at April's UW-WSU Dual. Bingisser is one of just seven Huskies ever to toss the hammer over 200 feet, and is the first to do so since 1995. In addition to his prowess on the field and in the classroom, Bingisser is among the nation's leading hammer scholars, with a website -- HammerCenter.com -- providing the nation's most comprehensive coverage of the hammer at the prep and college level, plus videos and other instruction tools.
Island Fever: Don't be surprised if Seattle seems tropical this spring-- with three Caribbean sprinters on the UW roster, there's a distinct island flavor to the 2005 season. Grenada's Shane Charles joins Jamaica's Patrick Davidson and Davaon Spence on the Husky roster this year, giving the UW three sprinters with international experience. Grenada's national champion in the 400-meter hurdles in 2003, Charles set a senior national record in the event at April's UW-WSU dual, clocking a time of 50.76 seconds to add to the junior national record he set in 2001. Charles earned junior-college All-America honors at Central Arizona JC in 2004, clocking a 50.95 in the 400-meter hurdles, and is currently the nation's eighth-ranked collegian in the event this year. Spence and Davidson, meanwhile, teammates at Kingston, Jamaica's St. Jago High School, combined for a world youth record in the 4x400 meters at the 1999 World Youth Games in Poland, and led Jamaica's mile relay to a silver medal at the 1999 PanAm Games. The two split up to attend junior colleges in the U.S. before reuniting at UW last season, each setting Pac-10 qualifying marks before injuries cut their seasons short in May. The two have rebounded strong in 2005, each boasting legs of UW's NCAA-qualified 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays.
Rare Double: From the first time she entered a pole vault competition -- going 12-1 1/2 at Husky Stadium in 2002 -- it was obvious that junior Carly Dockendorf, already a decorated UW gymnast, was in an elite class of athletes. Just two years later, Dockendorf moved into a class all her own, adding an NCAA Track Championships berth to the NCAA Gymnastics invite she earned last April. While it is not uncommon for a college athlete to compete in multiple NCAA Championships in one year -- track/cross country and volleyball/basketball doubles being among the most common -- to do so in two unrelated sports in which qualification is based on individual, not team, performance is extremely rare. Dockendorf finished 11th in her NCAA pole vault debut, after placing 24th on the floor exercise at April's NCAA gymnastics meet. The junior nearly repeated the feat this season, placing 17th in the pole vault at March's NCAA Indoor Track Championships before falling one-tenth of a point shy of qualifying for the NCAA gymnastics meet in April.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: There is no doubt that pole vaulter/gymnast Carly Dockendorf is one of the finest two-sport athletes in UW history. The Port Moody, B.C., native added to her legend in March with a 17th-place finish in the vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas, just 19 hours after competing in Utah for the Husky gymnastics team. Balancing two sports, though, is nothing new to Dockendorf -- the junior earned a second-straight NCAA gymnastics berth last April, before a terrific 2004 track season that included a sixth-place finish at the Pac-10 meet, third place at the NCAA Regional, and 11th place at June's NCAA Championships. After missing the first two months of the 2005 indoor track season with an injury, Dockendorf cleared 13-5 1/4 in her Mar. 5 season debut to cinch an NCAA berth, and move into sole possession of eighth-place in Canadian women's history. Amazingly, Dockendorf has been pole vaulting for less than three years, having begun the sport only after seeing Husky vaulters working out at Dempsey Indoor during her freshman gymnastics season in 2002. Dockendorf began her two-sport double on a full-time basis in 2003, winning All-America honors on the gymnastics floor while placing eighth in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Championships. Her seven perfect 10s are the most by any UW gymnast all-time, while her six-career vaults over 13 feet rank second in UW history.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Dana Buller, 2004, 14-8
2. Stephanie McCann, 2004, 14-5 1/4
3. Kelsie Hendry, 2005, 14-4 1/2i
4. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 ¾
5. Trista Bernier1998, 13-7 1/4
6. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
7. Adrienne Vangool, 2004, 13-5 3/4
8. Carly Dockendorf, 2005, 13-5 1/4i
9. Sue Kupper, 2005, 13-3 1/2i
10. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 ¼
Dazzling Debut: Freshman Norris Frederick has done everything he can to back up the hype that accompanied his signing with Washington, earning All-America honors indoors in the long jump while breaking UW's freshman long jump record outdoors. The Roosevelt High School graduate launched six jumps over 25 feet during the 2005 indoor season, the best a 25-foot, 6 1/4 inch monster that led all NCAA freshmen indoors, and ranks sixth in the 2005 IAAF World Junior Rankings. The talented freshman placed sixth in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet, tops by a Husky long jumper since 1965, and is already qualified for NCAA Regional competition in the long and high jumps outdoors. Success for Frederick, currently America's 18th-ranked male long jumper, and the top-ranked American junior-age competitor, is certainly to be expected -- he ranked second among U.S. prep high jumpers in 2004 with a best of 7-1, and was the United States' fourth-ranked prep long jumper at 24-10 1/2. Frederick literally jumped out of his shoes at July's IAAF World Junior Championships in Italy, tearing apart the footwear which had guided him to five state titles during his four-year prep career. With borrowed shoes, Frederick managed to place 19th in both events at the world meet, and closed the 2004 season ranked among the top-35 under-20 athletes in the world.
2005 IAAF Junior Men's Long Jump Rankings
Name, Country, Mark
1. Viktor Kuznyetsov, Ukraine, 26-11 3/4i
2. Mihail Mertzanidis-Despoteris, Greece, 25-9 1/2
2. Jie Ding, China, 25-9 1/2i
4. Chris Noffke, Australia, 25-8 1/4
4. Saleh Abdelaziz Al-Haddad, Kuwait, 25-8 1/4
6. Norris Frederick, United States, 25-6 1/4i
7. Adrian Vasile, Romania, 25-4 3/4i
8. Zutao Jin, China, 25-4i
9. Sebastian Bayer, Germany, 25-3 1/2i
The `Lo' Down: Some wondered how Ashley Lodree could possibly top her breakout freshman year of 2004 -- including two school records, five marks among UW's all-time top-10, an NCAA Championships appearance and a top-10 world junior ranking -- but the 19-year-old has shown little signs of slowing in her sophomore season. Known mostly for her exploits in the sprint hurdles¬ -- having earned All-America honors in the 60-meter hurdles indoors in 2005, and boasting school records in the 60- and 100-meter hurdles -- Lodree is currently the Pac-10's second-ranked competitor in the 400-meter hurdles, an event she has competed in just twice in her collegiate career. Lodree ran the ninth-fastest 400-meter hurdles mark in UW history at April's Oregon Invitational, and currently ranks among UW's all-time top-10 in eight different events. But then, everything Lodree does is fast. The Richmond, Calif., native placed 10th in the hurdles at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, earning her first All-America honor and the first by a UW women's hurdler since Claudine Robinson in 1994. Lodree was a one-woman whirlwind in 2004, placing 14th in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2004 NCAA indoor meet before bettering UW's 100-meter hurdles record seven times outdoors, including a wind-aided best of 13.39 at the Texas Relays, and a legal record of 13.41 seconds at the Drake Relays. Despite just missing an NCAA outdoor berth with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, Lodree's efforts ranked the freshman No. 7 in the world among junior-age runners in the 2004 IAAF World Rankings, and No. 2 among U.S. juniors. At February's 2005 MPSF Championships, Lodree lowered her own school 60-meter hurdles record to 8.15 seconds, eighth-fastest by any collegiate woman in 2005, and four hundredths of a second below the UW record of 8.19 seconds she set in 2004. The sophomore also boasts marks this year in the 60-meter dash (7.44 seconds, 2nd all-time), indoor 200-meter run (24.81, 2nd) and 4x400-meter relay (3:44.58, 9th) that rank among UW's best all-time, and finished the indoor season tied for the world lead in the hurdles for athletes under the age of 20.
Multi-Talented: Senior multi-eventer Grace Vela is nothing if not determined -- witness her performance at last year's Pac-10 Championships, where the Toronto native competed in the heptathlon, long jump, triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and 4x100-meter relay, ultimately toeing the line 11 different times. Vela has been just as successful in 2005, crushing UW's indoor pentathlon record with a score of 3,915 points that included marks in the high jump and 60-meter hurdles which were each among UW's all-time top-10. The Husky senior, born in Zimbabwe but currently boasting Canadian citizenship, ranked among Canada's top-10 competitors in 2004 in the heptathlon (sixth), long jump (seventh), 100-meter hurdles (ninth) and triple jump (ninth), while her bests of 5,225 in the heptathlon and 3,915 in the pentathlon are both all-time bests for a Zimbabwe-born woman. Vela will earn her economics degree this spring, with plans to return to Zimbabwe and work to improve the nation's economy.
Half-Mile Madness: Washington has dominated the Pac-10's men's 800-meter rankings in 2005, with three Huskies currently ranked among the top-eight conference competitors. The event could be a big one for Washington at the Pac-10 Championship meet in two weeks, with all three currently in scoring positions. Tops among the trio is freshman Austin Abbott, whose time of 1:48.57 is the Pac-10's fifth-fastest in 2005, and is the third-fastest by a collegiate freshman this year. Sophomore Ryan Brown (1:49.21, 7th in Pac-10) and junior Shane Charles (8th, 1:49.59) join Abbott to form the first UW half-mile trio since 1992 to each boast season-bests below the 1:50 mark. In fact, no two Huskies had accomplished the feat in the same season since 1998, before Abbott and Brown both did so for the first time in February.
Record Rookies: Husky freshmen have been outstanding in 2005, combining for three All-America honors, one school record, six freshman records and 19 marks among the team's top-10 all-time. Seattle's Norris Frederick, the sixth-place long jumper at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet, broke a 34-year-old UW freshman record in the event at April's Mt. SAC Relays, clearing 25-3 1/4 to climb to fourth in UW history overall. Chehalis native Austin Abbott also set a UW freshman record at Mt. SAC, his time of 3:44.36 in the 1,500 meters just under Carl Moe's record set one year ago. Abbott and Wenatchee's Amanda Miller joined Frederick on the All-America stand at the NCAA Indoor meet in March, becoming the first freshman trio ever to earn All-America honors at the same NCAA competition. In fact, just six Husky freshmen had earned All-America awards, indoors or out, since 1990, including none since 1999. All three have added to UW's record books this season, with Miller setting an indoor school record of 2:06.76 in the 800 meters, and Frederick adding indoor marks of 25-6 1/4 in the long jump and 7-0 1/4 in the high jump to rank second all-time on both lists. The success hasn't just been limited to those three, however. Freshmen Jordan Boase and Kelley DiVesta posted marks among UW's all-time outdoor best in the 4x400-meters and pole vault, respectively, while distance runners Jeremy Mineau and Jon Harding have both earned international cross country acclaim, including a 68th-place finish by Mineau at March's IAAF World Cross Country Championships, and a sixth-place finish for Harding at the North, Central American and Caribbean Cross Country meet in February.
20 Years of Spear Success: From Fred Luke and Duncan Atwood to Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo, Washington has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the javelin. Since 1982, when women's track and field joined the NCAA, the Huskies have sent at least one javelin thrower to all but three NCAA Championships, including All-American performances by Megan Spriestersbach in 2004, and Heather Reichmann in 2003. The list of Washington's javelin greats includes four Pac-10 Champions (Uusitalo, `87; Roberson, `88-89; Troy Burkholder, `96), three NCAA champions (Uusitalo, `86, Tom Sinclair, `79 Cary Feldman, `71) and three U.S. Olympians (Atwood, `80, `84; Rod Ewaliko, `80; Fred Luke, `72). In UW history, only the four NCAA titles won in the hammer -- all by Scott Neilson -- eclipse the Huskies' national-championship prowess in the spear, which includes a UW-record 27 All-Americans all-time. Five Husky javelin throwers qualified for the 2004 NCAA West Regional Championships, including senior Spriestersbach, who followed up a second-place regional finish with a fourth-place effort at the national meet, tops by a UW woman in the event since 1987. The senior set a Washington school record and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials with her final collegiate toss, a 173 foot-7 inch monster that broke her own UW benchmark by more than six feet, and was the third-best in Pac-10 history.
Everett Connection: Washington junior Mark Mandi and senior Andy Fader have come a long way from the days when Mandi flipped burgers at a McDonald's in Everett, Wash., and Fader was one of his regular customers. Back then, Mandi was an aspiring high-school distance runner who had not picked up the sport until his junior year at Everett's Mariner High School, and was admittedly in awe of the local prep stars, including Fader, who patronized the Everett McDonald's where he then worked. Cascade alum Fader, meanwhile, was one of the state's top prospects, with four-career top-10 state track finishes and a pair of WesCo league titles to his credit. Four years later, the Everett tandem are two of the nation's fastest competitors at 5,000 meters, with Mandi clocking an NCAA Regional-qualifying time of 14:05.99 at Stanford in March, and Fader two seconds behind in 14:08.07. While Fader was among UW's top recruits in 2001, Mandi enrolled at Washington as a student, before walking on to the UW cross country squad in the fall. Just a year later, Mandi was running in UW's top-seven at every varsity competition, while Fader earned a second-straight top-10 finish in the 1,500 meters at the Pac-10 Championships. In 2003, the two united to lead Washington's men's cross country squad to its first NCAA Championships since 1993, with Mandi leading all Huskies in 67th overall, less than three years after barely cracking the top-50 at the state cross country meet as a high-school senior. The two have since ensured that their remarkable story will not soon be forgotten, with Mandi clocking the UW's seventh-fastest 10,000-meter mark all-time, and Fader earning marks among UW's top-10 all-time indoors in the 5,000 meters and mile, while anchoring the UW's distance medley relay to All-America honors and a fifth-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his third year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross country, and his eighth year overall on the UW staff. In his first two-plus seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to three top-30 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including 18th outdoors in 2004 and a tie for 16th indoors in 2005, and has guided the Husky men to consecutive top-30 indoor finishes in each of the last two years. Individually, 12 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with four grabbing All-America accolades, a list which does not include the team's All-America distance medley relay in 2005. In addition, Metcalf has led the Huskies' women's cross country team to the NCAA meet in each of his eight years atop the UW distance program, marking the sixth-longest active streak of NCAA appearances in the nation. In all, Metcalf has coached 17 All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 16 school-record setters and 71 NCAA qualifiers. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeple, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2005 is in no way short on accolades. Ninth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed 10 All-Americans, including two-time NCAA champion Brad Walker. Third-year throws coach Bud Rasmussen founded the prestigious Iron Wood Thrower Development Camp, has mentored two All-Americans in two years at Washington, and in seven years at North Idaho College coached 82 NJCAA All-Americans, 18 national champions and five NJCAA record holders. First-year sprints/relays coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr. mentored Ashley Lodree to All-America honors in 2005, after leading eight Eastern Kentucky sprinters to Ohio Valley Conference titles in 2004, and coaching athletes to 13 school records in four years at Marshall University. Fourth-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is third-year distance coach Kelly Strong, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles, and is largely credited with putting together a women's recruiting class in 2003 that was ranked sixth in the nation by Track and Field News. Ironically, the most accomplished member of the Husky coaching staff is one of the team's volunteer assistants -- former Olympian Duncan Atwood. A UW All-American, two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, Atwood has helped Husky women's javelin throwers earn All-America honors in each of his two seasons with the team, and mentored freshman Brian Harris to an IAAF Junior World Championships berth in 2004.