March 25, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. - Three UW throwers earned NCAA Regional Championships berths and three climbed UW's all-time top-10 Saturday at Auburn's Springtime Invitational, as Washington's track and field teams competed in split-squad action on the first full weekend of outdoor track and field competition.
The Huskies' remaining competitors are in action at the ASU Invitational in Tempe, Ariz; results of that competition will follow upon its conclusion.
Senior Will Conwell (Kent, Wash./Kentwood) and junior Martin Bingisser (Bellevue, Wash./Interlake) posted the biggest marks Saturday, each earning NCAA Regional berths and climbing UW's all-time outdoor top-10. Conwell's toss of 185 feet, 5 inches in the discus was a seven-foot outdoor personal best, and raised the senior to No. 10 on UW's all-time charts. Bingisser, meanwhile, climbed to third all-time at Washington in the hammer, his winning throw of 212 feet, 4 inches more than four feet beyond his previous lifetime best.
Though the first national performance list for the 2006 season will not be released until Apr. 1, both throwers should rank among the nation's best at year's end - Conwell's mark would have ranked 18th overall in the final 2005 national rankings, while Bingisser's was bettered by just 11 collegiate throwers last season.
"Will and Martin are two of the hardest workers on our team," said fourth-year head coach Greg Metcalf, "and their success this early in the season is an indication of that effort. They're a great example of what dedication to offseason workouts and training can do for you."
Conwell finished second only to his coach, UW assistant Reedus Thurmond. The Auburn University graduate and 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials competitor launched a 185-foot, 8-inch toss to better his protégé by just three inches. Conwell also finished second in the discus with a 51-foot 3 _-inch effort, edging out teammate Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (50-9, 3rd).
Former Husky Aretha (Hill) Thurmond made it a clean sweep for the UW coaching staff in the discus events, taking the women's crown with a toss of 186-1. The two-time Olympian, now a volunteer assistant at UW, outdistanced the field by more than 30 feet in her first competition of the 2006 outdoor campaign.
Other UW throwers also excelled, with senior Tiffany Zahn (Newberg, Ore./Newberg) opening her season with a regional-qualifying winning throw of 153-5 in the javelin that was just four feet shy of her lifetime best, and has been bettered by just two other women in UW history. Redshirt freshman Arlecier West (Kent, Wash./Kent-Meridian) placed fifth in the hammer with a 152-foot, 6-inch toss that ranks seventh all-time at Washington.
The UW throwers will rejoin their teammates in Seattle next week to prepare for the annual Oregon Invitational, Apr. 1 in Eugene, Ore. For complete results of Saturday's Springtime Invitational at Auburn, visit www.auburntigers.com.