April 21, 2006
EUGENE, Ore. - Washington sophomores Austin Abbott and Amy Lia each posted times among the 15-fastest in the nation at 1,500 meters Friday, leading four Huskies to NCAA Regional qualifying marks at the Oregon Invitational. The two-day meet, featuring some of the top professional and collegiate athletes in the country, continues Saturday.
Running the event for the first time this season, Abbott clocked the nation's 13th-fastest 1,500-meter mark -- the second-fastest by a Pac-10 runner this year -- with a winning time of 3 minutes, 45.26 seconds in the second of three finals heats. Already a two-time All-American with UW's distance medley relay indoors, Abbott will be seeking his first individual NCAA berth at next month's Regional, for which he is now qualified at both 800- and 1,500-meters.
Also moving up the national collegiate rankings was Lia, whose seventh-place time of 4:22.48 at 1,500 meters ranks 14th among collegiate women this year. The Bothell, Wash., native's time has been bettered just eight times in UW history, including Lia's own 4:18.19 effort at last year's NCAA Championships.
"This was only the second time Amy's run outdoors this season, and she's already running as well as she was at the end of the season last year," said fourth-year head coach Greg Metcalf.
British Columbia native Anita Campbell, meanwhile, continued her terrific freshman season with a regional-qualifying time of 16:50.28 in the 5,000 meters -- the fifth-fastest time by a Canadian woman this year. Campbell, who competed for Canada at the World Cross Country Championships earlier this month, made her outdoor collegiate debut in the race, after a record-setting freshman campaign indoors.
Rounding out the Huskies' NCAA-qualifying quartet was senior Tiffany Zahn. Zahn's second-place javelin effort of 155 feet, 1 inches improved her season-best by nearly two feet, and was her best effort since the 2003-04 season. The Newberg, Ore., native currently ranks fourth in the Pac-10 this season, and will be seeking her fourth-consecutive top-five Pac-10 finish in the event when the Huskies return to Eugene in three weeks for the 2006 Pac-10 Championships.
Washington continues its competition at Oregon on Saturday with a full team in action, including Pac-10 800-meter champion Ryan Brown and the team's pole vault trio of Carly Dockendorf, Ashley Wildhaber and Kelley DiVesta.
For live results of the 2006 Oregon Invitational, visit www.goducks.com.
Note: Results of Friday night's men's high jump and men's hammer throw were not available as of the 11:24 p.m. PDT posting of this release.