March 11, 2005
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Freshmen Norris Frederick, Amanda Miller and Austin Abbott were among a record-shattering eight Husky individuals to earn All-America honors Friday at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., a total which includes every UW competitor in competition on the event's first day.
The Huskies' record total included four individual All-Americans and one relay, shattering the team's previous indoor record of five All-America honors set in 1998. All eight were first-time All-Americans, including freshmen Frederick, Miller and Abbott, who became the first UW frosh since Ja'Warren Hooker in 1998 to accomplish the feat.
The record-setting day was particuarly notable for the UW women, who saw three competitors earn All-America honors Friday, a feat just eight had accomplished in the previous 24 years of indoor competition, since the NCAA added women's track and field in 1981.
Washington will take a shot at its all-time record of nine All-Americans -- set at the 1983 NCAA Outdoor Championships -- on Saturday when four Huskies, including national leader Kate Soma of Portland, compete in the women's pole vault.
"What an absolutely incredible day for our program," Metcalf said. "I don't want to say that I never could have imagined this, because that would be selling our kids short. I've dreamed of this kind of success for them for a long time, so to see them put it all together on college track's biggest stage is truly special. For some folks, this is a fitting end to a great career, and for others, it's just the beginning. For our program, though, today's impact will be immeasurable."
Roosevelt High School grad Frederick, currently the top-ranked American under the age of 20, placed sixth in his NCAA Championships debut Friday. The Seattle native fouled his first two preliminary attempts before clearing 25-2 to advance to the finals, where his leap of 25 feet, 5 1/4 inches sealed the sixth-place finish.
Frederick's placing equaled the highest at the NCAA Championships by a Husky long jumper in more than 40 years, since former world-record holder Phil Shinnick placed third at the 1964 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Shinnick is also the only Husky ever to outleap Frederick, whose season best of 25-6 1/4 ranked fifth nationally entering Friday's competition.
"Norris really showed his maturity today after fouling those first two jumps," said third-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "A lot of freshmen would have folded under the pressure, but not Norris. This is just the beginning for him."
It was also just the beginning for Wenatchee native Miller, who lowered her own UW 800-meter record by more than half a second in her NCAA Championships debut. Miller's time of 2 minutes, 6.76 seconds -- well below the record of 2:07.32 she set in Seattle just six days ago -- earned seventh in the second of two preliminary heats, but was ninth-fastest overall. Despite falling just eight hundredths of a second shy of one of eight spots in Saturday's final, the freshman is still guaranteed All-America status as one of the top-eight placing Americans in the NCAA field.
"Amanda ran a tremendous race today," said Metcalf. "If the track had been 20 meters longer, she would be in the final -- she was on fire at the end of that race. Considering that this was the first time she's ever competed away from Seattle, I was really impressed. She really made a name for herself today."
Miller's run was closely followed by that of senior Lindsey Egerdahl (Auburn, Wash./Auburn), whose fifth-place effort in the first of two women's mile heats guaranteed the senior not only a place in Saturday's final, but also her first-career All-America honor. Egerdahl's time of 4:46.44 grabbed the last of 10 qualifying spots in a mile final that will include at least two foreign-born athletes, guaranteeing the senior the Huskies' first-ever All-America award in the indoor women's mile.
"Lindsey's given so much to this team as a leader over the last two years, that it's great to see her get something for herself," Metcalf said.
Also earning All-America honors Friday was sophomore Ashley Lodree (Richmond, Calif./El Cerrito), whose time of 8.22 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles earned fifth in the first of two preliminary heats, and was 10th overall. Just seven hundredths of a second separated Lodree from Illinois' Yvonne Mensah, who earned the last of eight qualifying spots in Saturday's final. With Canadian-born competitors Mensah and Priscilla Lopes of Nebraska ahead of her, however, Lodree became just the second Husky hurdler ever to earn All-America honors, and the first since Claudine Robinson in 1994.
Rounding out the Huskies' effort Friday was a fifth-place run in the distance medley relay, the highest by a UW relay in national-meet competition since the team's 4x400-meter squad placed fifth outdoors in 1990. Washington's All-America foursome of Austin Abbott, Sean Williams, Ryan Brown and Andy Fader were dynamic on the Tyson Center's banked oval, taking the lead after three legs before being overtaken for a fifth-place finish, in 9:36.40. The foursome, all of whom earned their first-career All-America honors, became the first distance medley relay ever to garner All-America acclaim, and just seventh relay of any kind, indoors or out, to accomplish the feat.
"Those guys wanted it today," Metcalf said. "They're national ranking might have said ninth, but they weren't here to settle for that. Austin got us off to an incredible start; he's going to have an amazing career."
Washington's men earned seven points Friday, though final men's team standings were not available as of this posting. Tennessee leads all women's squads with 21 points. For complete results from Friday's first day of competition at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, visit www.ncaasports.com.