Feb. 22, 2006
On the Track: Eleven of the West's top track and field programs -- including eight of the nine Pac-10 track and field squads -- will be represented in full force this weekend at Dempsey Indoor as Washington plays host to the 2006 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Conference Championships. The Huskies have hosted the event -- which serves as the indoor conference championships for Pac-10 and Big West Conference teams -- each year since 2004, with 15 meet records falling over that two-year span. Multi-events begin Friday at 11:15 a.m., with events on the track running from 2:50-6:35 p.m. Saturday's action begins with multi-events at 10 a.m., and features track finals from 12-3 p.m., along with a number of field events. As with all UW home invitationals, admission is free to all spectators.. For the most up-to-date meet information, including schedules, entries, meet history and results, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
Meet Preview: With each team limited to just 27 men's and 27 women's competitors, this week's fields will include only the West Coast's truly elite collegiate athletes. Among those entered are NCAA champions Robert Cheseret of Arizona, Tommy Skipper of Oregon, Chelsea Johnson of UCLA and Jackie Johnson of Arizona State, as well as a number of Pac-10 champions and NCAA All-Americans. Just as exciting will be the team matchups, as the 11th-ranked ASU women and No. 14 UCLA women attempt to end No. 2 Stanford's three-year run atop the MPSF, while on the men's side, seventh-ranked Arizona and No. 15 Oregon seek to end UCLA's four-year conference-championship streak. In all, the MPSF Championships field includes nine teams ranked among the Top-25 in the nation, and 22 athletes currently ranked fifth or better nationally.
What is the MPSF?: Established in 1992 to serve the competitive needs of member institutions from the Big West, Pacific-10, Mountain West, Western Athletic and West Coast Conferences and other selected universities in the western United States, the MPSF provides championship competition for Division I intercollegiate Olympic sports in a conference setting. During the 2005-06 season, the MPSF will manage nine Olympic sports and serve approximately 1,500 student-athletes and 80 head coaches from 32 universities in 12 western states. Teams competing in the MPSF for indoor track include Pac-10 representatives Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Washington State, and Big West competitors UC Irvine (women only), and Cal Poly (women only). The MPSF was one of the nation's most successful conferences in 2004-05, with four conference teams winning NCAA championships, and over a dozen teams and hundreds of student-athletes participating in the NCAA postseason. For all-time UW winners and MPSF team champions, see page 7 of this release.
Meet Results: Fans of track and field can follow the 2006 MPSF Championships as it happens via the live results page at www.GoHuskies.com. Results will be uploaded at the conclusion of each event, and will be added to the schedule/results page immediately following the conclusion of each day's events. For those attending the meet, results will be posted at the conclusion of each event near the Dempsey Indoor entrance, and are available at the finish line for coaches only. Final results will be faxed to all local media and participating schools roughly 30 minutes following the meet. Results can also be e-mailed by request; contact SID Brian Beaky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2005 MPSF Championships Redux: The MPSF Championships returned to Dempsey Indoor in 2005, and Washington's athletes kept the home fans happy. Senior vaulter Kate Soma won her first MPSF title, while pentathlete Grace Vela and sophomore hurdler Ashley Lodree each set UW indoor records, leading the Huskies to a second-straight third-place conference finish. On the men's side, junior Shane Charles earned matching second-place finishes in the 800 meters and the 4x400-meter relay, setting a UW record in the former, while freshman Norris Frederick earned a pair of top-five finishes in his MPSF Championships debut. The Husky men placed sixth, as UCLA rolled to its fourth-straight men's crown, and Stanford captured its third-straight MPSF women's title.
Dempsey Indoor: In only four full seasons, Washington's Dempsey Indoor has already earned a reputation as one of the nation's top indoor competition venues. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. Dempsey Indoor has hosted dozens of Olympians, witnessed 25 top-10 world marks, 22 UW indoor school records and hundreds of NCAA qualifying marks, and is the host site of the MPSF Championships, the indoor conference championships for most major West Coast college teams. In addition to its competitive use, the building serves as an indoor practice facility for many UW teams, and hosts numerous banquets and rallies. For more information on Dempsey Indoor, see page six of this release, or visit www.GoHuskies.com.
Distance Dominance: Dempsey Indoor is rapidly cementing its reputation as America's fastest indoor distance track. Five men broke four minutes in the mile at the 2006 Husky Classic, while seven collegiate men and two collegiate women bested the NCAA automatic qualifying standard in the meet's 5,000-meter races. In fact, of the NCAA's 27 automatic men's qualifiers at 5,000 meters over the past two seasons, 16 achieved their mark on Dempsey Indoor's 307-meter oval, as have eight of the event's 19 automatic women's qualifiers since 2005. The facility's influence even extends to the 2006 IAAF World Rankings -- nearly half of the marks in the mile, 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters ranked by the IAAF this year have been achieved at one of UW's three home invitationals, including the men's and women's oversized-track world-leaders at each distance.
Vaulters at USA Championships: While their former teammates compete in Seattle, a pair of former Huskies and Dempsey Indoor regulars will compete in Boston at this weekend's USA Indoor Championships. Two-time NCAA indoor pole vault champion Brad Walker, currently the No. 1-ranked vaulter in the IAAF World Rankings, will attempt to defend his 2005 USA indoor title on Saturday, before cheering on former teammate and 2005 NCAA pole vault champion Kate Soma in the women's vault competition on Sunday. Full meet information, including entries, schedules and results, can be found at www.usatf.org.
Rankings Report: Neither of UW's teams appeared in this week's Trackwire 25, a national ranking which predicts the individual and team placings at the NCAA Championships. Washington's men went scoreless in the ranking for the third-straight week, while the UW women fell six points shy of Top-25 mention with a four-point score on a projected fifth-place hurdles finish for junior Ashley Lodree. Texas continued to hold a dominant 51-37 advantage over Stanford on the women's side, while LSU's 47 points narrowly edged Arkansas' 45 for No. 1 among men's teams.
Monster PR of the Week: Much has been made of Washington's success in the women's vault -- the UW sent five vaulters to the NCAAs in 2005, and three were All-Americans. Senior Myrriah Swango wasn't one of those five, but that hasn't stopped the Laguna Hills, Calif., native from continuing her steady climb up the UW record books. Swango has seen her marks improve every year since walking on to the UW squad in 2002, culminating in a first-ever 12-foot clearance at February's Husky Classic. Swango's clearance is the ninth-best in UW history, and an improvement of more than a foot from her freshman year.
The `Lo' Down: If only Ashley Lodree -- currently the nation's sixth-fastest 60-meter hurdler-- could have kept on running in 2005. The junior from Richmond, Calif., ran the seven-fastest 100-meter hurdles times of her life in her final seven races of the 2005 season, capped by a 13.17-posting at the USA Championships to match the UW record she set two weeks prior in the NCAA final. Lodree placed 10th at USAs and fifth at NCAAs, the latter good for her second All-America honor in three months, including a ninth-place finish in the 2005 NCAA 60-meter hurdles final indoors. Prior to the year, some had wondered how Lodree could possibly top her breakout freshman season of 2004, which included two school records, five marks among UW's all-time top-10, an NCAA Championships appearance and a top-10 world junior ranking. Lodree, however, did just that, becoming just the sixth UW woman ever to earn multiple All-America honors and shattering her UW hurdles records indoors and out. Lodree also added to UW's all-time top-10 lists in each of the nine events in which she competed, and boasts top-10 all-time marks in 10 of the 11 events she has attempted in her UW career, including four school records. Lodree has already set two school records in 2006 -- in the 60- and 200-meter dashes --and nearly broke her UW hurdles record of 8.15 seconds in her season debut, clocking an 8.16 versus no significant competition at January's UW Indoor Invite. That mark -- just .01 above the NCAA's automatic-qualifying standard -- currently ranks Lodree sixth in the NCAA, and 13th among U.S. women this year.
Tracking Ashley Lodree in 2006 (Individual Finals Only)
Event, Time, Place, Date
60m Dash, 7.44, 1st, 1/14
60m Hurdles, 8.16, 1st, 1/28
60m Dash, 7.38 (UW Record), 3rd, 2/11
200m Dash, 24.42 (UW Record), 1st, 2/11
Four-Minute Man: Washington sophomore Austin Abbott ran into the history books at February's Husky Classic, becoming just the third Husky runner ever to break four minutes in the mile. Abbott's time of 3:59.47 was UW's third-fastest ever, and is the fifth-fastest mark in the nation this year. A graduate of W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash., Abbott enjoyed a banner freshman season in 2005, capturing All-America honors in the distance medley relay, and earning a third-place finish in the Pac-10 1,500-meter final. Abbott also set UW freshman records in the 800 meters indoors, and the 1,500 meters outdoors, including a half-mile best of 1:49.64 that was a UW record for two weeks, before teammate Shane Charles bettered it with a 1:49.59 posting. His four-minute mile in February was one of just, and one of just seven by collegiate athletes this year, and one of 16 by American men in 2006.
Half-Mile Madness: Don't be surprised to see Washington dominating the Pac-10's 800-meter rankings in 2006. In addition to Pac-10 and Regional champion Ryan Brown, Washington put a school-record four runners under 1:50 in the event last year, all four of whom return in 2006. Sophomore Austin Abbott and seniors Bruce Jackson and Shane Charles joined Brown under the 1:50 mark in 2005, including a mark of 1:49.59 by Charles that is a UW record indoors, and a best of 1:47.31 by Brown that is UW's second-fastest outdoors. The foursome each rank among the Pac-10's top-11 returnees in 2005, and will be joined by a freshman class boasting outstanding talent in the middle-distance events. Prior to the 2005 season, Washington had only boasted one other year, 1992, in which as many as three men's runners broke the 1:50 mark, while prior to 2005, no two Huskies had done so in the same season since 1998.
Vault Supremacy: The 2005 season left little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting. An NCAA-record five UW women's vaulters competed at the NCAA Championships in 2005 -- including four each indoors and out -- while three earned All-America honors, and senior Kate Soma brought home the 2005 NCAA outdoor title. The story should be much the same in 2006, as four of the five return, including senior All-Americans Ashley Wildhaber (5th, indoors) and Carly Dockendorf (6th, outdoors), junior Stevie Marshalek and sophomore Kelley DiVesta. All five, including the departed Soma, boast bests above 13 feet, a feat never before accomplished by any NCAA quintet, while three of the five -- including Soma, Wildhaber and Dockendorf -- rank among the 10-best vaulters in Pac-10 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
Carly Dockendorf, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4
9. Ashley Wildhaber, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4i
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
Rare Double: From the first time she entered a vault competition -- going 12-1 1/2 at Husky Stadium in 2002 -- it was obvious that senior Carly Dockendorf, already a decorated UW gymnast, was in an elite class of athletes. In 2004, though, Dockendorf moved into a class all her own, qualifying individually for the NCAA Championships in both track and field and gymnastics. While it is not uncommon for an athlete to compete in multiple NCAA Championships in one year, to do so in two unrelated sports in which qualification is based on individual, not team, performance is extremely rare. She nearly repeated the feat in 2005, qualifying for the NCAA Track Championships indoors and out, but falling just 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 -- the nation's No. 2 returning vaulter, along with teammate Ashley Wildhaber -- is one of the finest two-sport athletes in Washington sports history. The Port Moody, B.C., native added to her legend last 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. Dockendorf then closed the 2005 campaign with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, her vault of 13-9 1/4 equal to the ninth-best mark in Pac-10 history, and the fifth-best mark ever by a Canadian citizen. Balancing two sports is nothing for Dockendorf -- as a prep, Dockendorf competed in volleyball, wrestling, rugby and soccer, in addition to gymnastics. The UW senior scaled back to just two sports in college, earning back-to-back NCAA gymnastics berths in 2003 and 2004, and three-straight NCAA track berths in 2004-05, including an All-America performance outdoors last season. Amazingly, Dockendorf has been pole vaulting for less than four years, having begun the sport only after watching Husky vaulters train during her freshman gymnastics season in 2002, and has still vaulted just 30 times in competition during her entire pole-vaulting career. 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. She completed her gymnastics eligibility in 2005 with the most perfect 10s (six) of any UW gymnast all-time, and will have one full year of track eligibility remaining in 2006.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Dana Buller, 2005, 14-9 1/2
2. Kelsie Hendry, 2005, 14-7 1/2
3. Stephanie McCann, 2004, 14-5 1/4
4. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 3/4
5. Carly Dockendorf, 2005, 13-9 ¼
6. Sue Kupper, 2005, 13-7 1/4
6. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
8. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
8. Adrienne Vangool, 2004, 13-5 3/4
10. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
Brown is Back: Less than two years ago, Ryan Brown was out of track and field, having walked away from a promising career citing a desire to focus on school over sports. So it was a bit surprising to see Brown outkick Pac-10 favorite Jon Rankin of UCLA down the homestretch to win the 2005 Pac-10 title at 800 meters last May, his time of 1:47.31 the second-fastest in Washington history and the eighth-best by a collegiate athlete in 2005. Just two weeks later, Brown proved the race was no fluke by outkicking Rankin again to win the same event at the NCAA West Regional -- UW's first-ever regional track title -- and capped the year with matching 10th-place finishes in the 800- and 4x400 meters at the NCAA Championships. Brown competed just one year at Renton (Wash.) High School, going undefeated at 800 meters as a senior and defeating current UW teammate Tim Freeman for the state title. He walked on to the Washington squad in 2002-03 and had a terrific indoor season, before leaving the team in the summer. Brown returned to the track in 2005, leading UW's distance medley relay to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships and breaking UW's indoor 800-meter record, before embarking on his epic outdoor campaign. The junior enters the 2006 season with the nation's sixth-fastest returning mark at 800 meters, and will also run on UW's top 4x400-meter and distance medley relays.
Stanback on Track: Husky football fans jonesing for a winter fix should head to Dempsey Indoor -- Washington's track and field team includes three members of the UW football team, with one more planning to join the squad outdoors. The most accomplished of the three is junior sprinter Isaiah Stanback, an MPSF Championships qualifier at 60 meters in both 2005 and 2006, and an 11-game starter at quarterback for 2005 Husky football team. Joining him are junior wide receiver Corey Williams, currently UW's top sprint hurdler, and freshman linebacker Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, a 58-foot prep shot-putter, while junior defensive end Brandon Ala is expected to toss the discus outdoors. Washington also boasts the talents of one of UW's finest-ever gymnasts, pole vault All-American Carly Dockendorf, while women's basketball players Jill Bell, Cheri Craddock and Angie Jones are each expected to join the team after the hoops season concludes in March. Perhaps to repay their debt, the UW track team loaned senior J.R. Wolfork, a 2005 NCAA Championships qualifier in the long jump, to the Husky football squad in the fall; Wolfork appeared in all 11 games and forced a fumble on special teams. Washington's football stars will see a familiar face on the track at Saturday's MPSF Championships -- California tailback Marshawn Lynch is entered in the 60-meter dash, and could meet Stanback or Wolfork in the finals.
Remember Me?: To the casual Husky fan, senior Will Conwell may have fallen off the radar in 2003 when he gave up a career as a UW linebacker to throw the discus. After redshirting the 2003 season with two broken wrists, Conwell burst back onto the scene in 2004, taking fourth place at the Pac-10 meet, before adding a fifth-place finish in 2005. The Kent native - once expected to follow his uncle, UW legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory - has picked up in 2006 right where he left off last spring, improving his bests in the shot put and weight throw by more than four feet each, while cracking UW's all-time top-10 in the latter with a toss of 58-0 1/4 at January's UW Indoor Invitational. Though he gave up football three years ago, Conwell is still following in his famous uncle's footsteps - a five-year track letterwinner at Washington, Ernie Conwell ranks fourth in UW history in the shot put, and placed fifth in the event at the 1996 NCAA Championships.
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 established world records in the shot put, and discus.
Dazzling Debut: Sophomore Norris Frederick has done everything he could to back up the hype that accompanied his signing with UW. After earning All-America honors in the long jump indoors in 2005, Frederick broke UW's freshman record in the long jump outdoors, qualified for the NCAA Championships in the high jump, and nabbed top-five Pac-10 finishes in both. The Roosevelt High School alum has already become the only UW athlete ever to long jump 25 feet and high-jump seven feet in his career, boasting career bests of 25-6 1/4 and 7-0 1/2, respectively. Frederick launched six long jumps over 25 feet indoors in 2005, the best a 25-foot, 6 1/4 inch leap that led all NCAA freshmen indoors, and ranked eighth in the IAAF World Junior rankings. The talented freshman placed sixth in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet -- tops by a UW long jumper since 1965 -- and is one of just 12 Huskies ever to clear the seven-foot mark in the high jump. Success for Frederick, America's top-ranked junior-age competitor in 2005, was certainly to be expected -- he ranked second among U.S. prep high jumpers in 2004 with a best of 7-1, and fourth among U.S. prep long jumpers at 24-10 1/2. Frederick literally jumped out of his shoes at the 2004 IAAF World Junior Championships, tearing apart the footwear which guided him to five state titles as a prep. With borrowed shoes, Frederick placed 19th in both events, and closed the 2004 season ranked among the top-35 under-20 athletes in the world.
International Delights: From seven-time NCAA champion Scott Neilson to multiple UW record-holder Regina Joyce, Washington has benefited from a number of outstanding international competitors over the decades -- and 2006 should be no different. Sprinter Davaon Spence of Jamaica and Grenadan hurdler Shane Charles have each set national records in their home countries, while Canadian pole vaulter Carly Dockendorf is among the her nation's all-time best. Notable newcomers on the international scene include heptathlete Daria Pavlov of Israel and distance runner Anita Campbell of Vancouver, B.C. Both freshmen have already made their impacts felt -- Pavlov fell just short of UW's pentathlon record with an NCAA provisional-qualifying 3,806 in January, while Campbell was UW's lone qualifier for the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships, and will represent UW -- and Canada -- at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in April.
Passing the Baton: Washington's homegrown 4x400-meter squad -- featuring three runners from the Seattle area -- was electric at the 2005 Pac-10 meet, breaking a 30-year-old UW record with a time of 3:03.85, including a 44.8-second anchor by returnee Bruce Jackson. The time was a four-second improvement over the relay's previous best, and ranked ninth in the nation in 2005. The record-setting foursome improved to 11th at the NCAAs after a 14th-place finish in 2004, and enters the 2006 season seeking to become UW's first All-American 4x4 since 1998, and the first outdoors since 1990. Among those competing for the spot vacated by relay superstar Sean Williams will be Seattle-area natives Jordan Boase of Bothell, an NCAA Championships 4x100m participant in 2005; junior transfer Alex Harcourt of Kent, whose lifetime best of 46.57 tops any current Husky; and senior Phil McCary of Kirkland, the team's first alternate in 2005 and an NCAA Championships participant in 2004. They will vie to join relay returnees Jackson of Seattle, Ryan Brown of Renton and Grenada native Shane Charles.
Newcomers Ready To Roll: Washington's track and field teams may have set numerous records in 2005, but if the team's outstanding crop of newcomers has anything to say about it, those records might not last long. Three meets into the 2006 season, newcomers already lead or share the lead for UW in six individual events ¬- including four such leading marks for freshman heptathlete Daria Pavlov - and have had a hand in three of UW's four top relays. Junior transfer Alex Harcourt boasts a best of 46.57 for 400 meters that is just .01 shy of UW's all-time top-10, while high jumper Teddy Davis cleared seven feet as an Oregon freshman two years ago. The Husky women, meanwhile, will lean heavily on their freshman class, including Pavlov, top prep hurdler Falesha Ankton, hammer thrower Shannon Harvey, high jumper Laurie Roberts, and distance runners Tori Tyler, Brooke Lademan, Anita Campbell and Annaliese Chapa. That list doesn't even include prep All-American hammer throwers Zack Midles and Shannon Harvey, or cross country star Jordan McNamara, each of whom could redshirt 2006 to prepare for record runs of their own in 2007.
Former Husky Returns: While Washington fans may need some time to learn the names and faces of the team's talented newcomers, there's at least one new face on the Husky squad that should be familiar to all who follow Washington track and field. Former Husky Aretha (Hill) Thurmond returns to Montlake this year as a volunteer assistant throws coach, working alongside her husband, first-year UW assistant coach Reedus Thurmond. A four-time All-American during her time at Washington, the former Aretha Hill has made an even bigger name for herself since graduating from the UW in 1998, winning back-to-back U.S. discus titles in 2003 and 2004, and representing the United States at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games. Thurmond, who was elected captain of the U.S. team at the 2005 World Championships, boasts a discus best of 216-1 that is the third-best in U.S. history, while her collegiate best of 215-3 is Pac-10 record, and is the second-best ever by a U.S. collegian. Interestingly, Thurmond is one of five former Huskies on the UW coaching staff, including head coach Greg Metcalf (UW, `93), assistant coach David Bazzi (UW, `01) and volunteer assistants Duncan Atwood (UW, `78), and Jacob Predmore (UW, `00).
Ridiculous Records: Washington's athletes have certainly been keeping the team's indoor record-keepers busy. Barely a month into the 2006 season, Husky athletes have already combined for 26 marks among UW's all-time indoor top-10, including school records in the 60- and 200-meter dashes by junior Ashley Lodree, and a pair of top-10 efforts in the high jump and pentathlon for freshman Daria Pavlov. Washington's highly-acclaimed indoor facility, Dempsey Indoor, has certainly had an effect on the Huskies' indoor list, with 24 school records and an eye-popping 200 marks among UW's all-time top-10 having been achieved since the start of the 2002 season, UW's first in the facility. For a complete list of the top-10 indoor marks set in 2006, see the box above.
2006 Season Preview: Never has a UW team returned more All-Americans than the Huskies' eight in 2006, nor has any UW squad ever counted 16 NCAA Championships competitors among its returnees. Gone from UW's record five-woman NCAA Championships pole vault contingent is NCAA champion Kate Soma, but All-Americans Carly Dockendorf (6th, outdoors) and Ashley Wildhaber (5th, indoors) return, along with NCAA competitors Kelley DiVesta and Stevie Marshalek. The UW also returns a loaded 800m unit, including All-Americans Amanda Miller (9th, indoors) and Ryan Brown (10th, outdoors). The 2005 Pac-10 and NCAA Regional champ, Brown was one of a record four UW half-milers to break 1:50 in 2005, all of whom return in 2006. Two-time All-American hurdler Ashley Lodree will make a run at an NCAA title in 2006, while sophomores Austin Abbott (5th, DMR) and Norris Frederick (6th, long jump) will each seek to repeat as All-Americans after record-setting freshman campaigns. The UW men return 63.5 of their 75.5 points from the 2005 Pac-10 meet, including six individuals and one relay that placed third or higher. The UW women boast six top-six Pac-10 returnees, including three vaulters, Lodree, senior spearer Tiffany Zahn and All-American miler Amy Lia. The Huskies' depth is further bolstered by a talented freshman class that includes prep All-Americans Zack Midles in the hammer and distance runner Tori Tyler, and Israeli heptathlete Daria Pavlov. Transfers, too, will contribute, with high jumper Teddy Davis seeking a second NCAA berth, and sprinter Alex Harcourt joining UW's school-record 4x400-meter relay.
Dempsey Indoor Draws World's Best: If Washington's home indoor meets over the past five seasons have seemed to shimmer in gold, it is likely due to the numerous Olympians who have highlighted the fields at Dempsey Indoor. Adam Goucher, a U.S. Olympian in 2000, set a facility record in the 5,000 meters in his first of two appearances at Dempsey Indoor in 2005, while fellow Olympian Bolota Asmeron clocked a Dempsey-best 7:48.59 at the 2004 UW Indoor Invite. Already in 2006, numerous former Olympians have put Dempsey on their schedule, including 2004 hurdles gold medalist Joanna Hayes, 2004 pole vault silver medalist Toby Stevenson, as well as 2004 Olympians Kristin Heaston and Goucher. Past luminaries include two-time Olympic medalist John Godina, U.S. Olympians Seilala Sua, Michael Stember and Paul Terek, as well as world No. 1 pole vaulter Brad Walker and highly-ranked Americans Jenny Adams and Alice Schmidt.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his fourth year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross country, and his ninth year overall on the UW staff. In his first three seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to three top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, and has guided the Husky men to consecutive top-30 indoor finishes in each of the last two years. Individually, 15 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with six 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 eight of his first nine years at the helm. In eight years atop Washington's distance program, Metcalf has coached 17 All-Americans, six Pac-10 champions, 13 school-record setters and 74 NCAA Championships competitors. 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 2006 is in no way short on accolades. Ninth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has coached 12 All-Americans, including NCAA champions Brad Walker and Kate Soma. Second-year sprints/hurdles coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., meanwhile, had a banner first year, mentoring Ashley Lodree to All-America honors indoors and out and guiding two UW men's relays to NCAA berths for the first time in school history. First-year throws coach Reedus Thurmond was a three-time All-American at Auburn, and captured the SEC discus title as a senior, while fifth-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 fourth-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 recruiting classes annually ranked among the nation's best. Ironically, the most accomplished members of the Husky coaching staff are two of the the team's volunteer assistants -- former Huskies and U.S. Olympians Aretha (Hill) Thurmond and Duncan Atwood. A four-time All-American, two-time Olympian and two-time U.S. champion, Thurmond enters her first year at UW, assisting husband Reedus Thurmond with the UW throwers. Atwood, meanwhile, was a two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, and has helped UW javelin throwers earn two All-America honors in his three years.