April 26, 2005
On the Track: The state's most historic track and field rivalry reaches a fever pitch Saturday at Husky Stadium, when Washington and Washington State meet in head-to-head competition for the 98th time since 1900. This year's dual could be one of the most exciting in the prestigious history of the long-running dual, with both schools' men's squads ranked among the top-13 teams in the country, and the two women's teams each among the top-20. Washington's 13th-ranked men, in the midst of their finest season in years, are seeking to break a four-year streak of victories by their cross-state rival, while the 19th-ranked Husky women will attempt to defend their 2004 dual meet crown. Admission is free to all spectators, with field events scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. with the women's javelin, and events on the track kicking off at 1:15 p.m.
Event Schedule: Following is a schedule of events for Saturday's UW-WSU Dual at Husky Stadium. Note: Hammer throws will be conducted Friday evening at West Seattle Stadium. All times are Pacific and subject to change.
10:15 a.m. -- Javelin (W)
11:00 a.m. -- Pole Vault (W)
11:00 a.m. -- Long Jump (W)
11:30 a.m. -- Javelin (M)
12:30 p.m. -- Shot Put (W)
12:30 p.m. -- Long Jump (M)
1:00 p.m. -- High Jump (W)
1:15 p.m. -- Steeplechase (W)
1:30 p.m. -- Steeplechase (M)
1:45 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay (W)
1:50 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay (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. -- 1500m Run (W)
2:10 p.m. -- 1500m Run (M)
2:15 p.m. -- Shot Put (M)
2:20 p.m. -- 100m Hurdles (W)
2:25 p.m. -- 110m Hurdles (M)
2:30 p.m. -- High Jump (M)
2:30 p.m. -- 400m Dash (W)
2:35 p.m. -- 400m Dash (M)
2:40 p.m. -- 100m Dash (W)
2:45 p.m. -- 100m Dash (M)
2:50 p.m. -- 800m Run (W)
3:00 p.m. -- 800m Run (M)
3:05 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles (W)
3:15 p.m. -- 400m Hurdles (M)
3:15 p.m. -- Triple Jump (M)
3:15 p.m. -- Discus (M)
3:25 p.m. -- 200m Dash (W)
3:30 p.m. -- 200m Dash (M)
3:35 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)
UW-WSU Dual History: When the Huskies' and Cougars' athletes enter Husky Stadium on Saturday, they will carry with them the legends of 98 years of dueling in a rivalry that dates back to 1900. Interrupted just once since 1945, the rivalry has proven bountiful for both squads, with the Cougars owning a 66-30-1 advantage in men's competition, and the Huskies boasting a 19-8 edge in women's duals, which date back to 1979. The Huskies have had more success against the Cougars at home than in Pullman, winning 17 of 41 men's matchups all-time in Husky Stadium, and 10 of 12 women's matchups at home. The teams' last meeting in Seattle came in 2003, with Washington State earning the last of three-straight sweeps over their cross-state rivals. The Husky women snapped that streak in Pullman last year, defeating the Cougs by a 108-95 margin, while the UW men were downed for the fourth-straight year, by a score of 112-90.
Scouting the Dual: By just about any measure, Washington and Washington State appear headed for one of the closest duals ever between the two schools. Both the Huskies and Cougars boast teams ranked among the nation's top-13 on the men's side, with WSU 12th and Washington 13th, while the Husky women rank 19th and the Cougars 16th. A simulated dual between the two at TeamPower.org, which simulates head-to-head competition using the top-two marks in each event for each team from the 2005 regular season, predicts a 103-98 win for Washington State on the men's side, and a 101-98 victory for the Husky women. Never in meet history have both duals been decided by fewer than five points, while just once (2002) have fewer than 10 points separated both squads.
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.
Rankings Report: This week's dual features a matchup of two of the nation's top collegiate teams, with both men's squads boasting rankings in the top-13 of the USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings, and the two schools' women's squads each among the USTCA's top-19. Washington's men fell three spots to 13th in this week's USTCA ranking, which simulates head-to-head competition between the nation's top college squads. The Huskies' 339.46 points was just one behind WSU's No. 12 total of 340.66, and within 50 points of top-ranked Texas Tech's 385.77. The UW women, meanwhile, scored 319.33 points to rank 19th overall, while WSU was 16th at 307.61. Neither Husky team earned mention in this week's Trackwire 25, with both the nine points scored by the UW women and the two points earned by the UW men too few for top-25 mention. Arkansas continued to lead the Trackwire men's rankings with 69 points, while Texas claimed top honors on the women's side with 65.
Just Dandy, Thank You: Three Huskies earned mention in this week's Trackwire Dandy Dozen, which predicts the order of finish in each event at the NCAA Championships. Senior Kate Soma, the NCAA runner-up indoors, is picked second in the pole vault, while indoor All-Americans Ashley Wildhaber (8th, pole vault) and Norris Frederick (7th, long jump) also earned mention in the listing, used to compile the weekly Trackwire 25 team rankings.
Monster PR of the Week: In what was one of the most hotly-contested battles for Monster PR of the Week in recent memory, it was junior Phil McCary who emerged victorious, his time of 53.56 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles nearly one second better than his previous career best. A graduate of Juanita High School in Kirkland, McCary in 2004 was a part of the first UW relay to reach the NCAA Championships since 1998, helping the Huskies to a 14th-place finish in the 4x400 meters. McCary edged out Bruce Jackson (46.95, 400m) and the women's 4x400m squad (3:44.58) for this week's MPROW honor.
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 Husky since Brad Walker in 2003 to receive the Pac-10 honor, and the first UW woman to do so since 1998 ... 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 All-Americans indoors in 2005, becoming the first UW frosh to earn the honor 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.
NCAA Selection Process: Automatic NCAA Championships berths will be granted 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 pre-determined provisional and automatic standards. Already this year, 32 Huskies have combined for 34 regional qualifying marks and two NCAA provisional qualifying marks.
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 13-14 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.
Huskies are World-Class: 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 Christian 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 ASU alum, is the world's fourth-ranked competitor in the steeple.
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.
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 in 2005. 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
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 ¼
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
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.
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 Bernier, 1998, 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 1/4
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 fifth 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 16th-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. Jie Ding, China, 25-9 1/2i
3. Chris Noffke, Australia, 25-8 1/4
3. Saleh Abdelaziz Al-Haddad, Kuwait, 25-8 1/4
5. Norris Frederick, United States, 25-6 1/4i
6. Adrian Vasile, Romania, 25-4 3/4i
7. Zutao Jin, China, 25-4i
8. Sebastian Bayer, Germany, 25-3 1/2i
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.
Half-Mile Madness: Washington has dominated the Pac-10 men's 800-meter rankings in 2005, with three Huskies currently ranked among the top-seven 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 third-fastest in 2005, and leads all collegiate freshmen this year. Sophomore Ryan Brown (1:49.21, 6th in Pac-10) and junior Shane Charles (7th, 1:49.59) join Abbott to form the first UW half-mile trio since 1992 to each boast season-bests below 1:50. 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.
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.
The `Lo' Down: She's barely halfway through her 2005 collegiate season, but already sophomore Ashley Lodree boasts five times among the top-10 in UW history. Known mostly for 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 Conference leader 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 the 19-year-old does is fast. Lodree 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. The Richmond, Calif., native 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. junior. 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 mark 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.
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. Charles led all of his countrymen in the 400-meter hurdles in 2003 and 2004, and debuted fifth in UW history in the event last weekend. Grenada's national champion in the 400-meter hurdles in 2003, and the junior national record holder in the event, Charles earned All-America honors at Central Arizona JC in 2004 with a best of 50.95 seconds that would have qualified him for last year's NCAA Championships, and already boasts a time of 51.84 seconds in the event this year that ranks sixth in UW history. Spence and Davidson, meanwhile, teammates at Kingston, Jamaica's St. Jago High School, teamed for a world youth record in the 4x400m at the 1999 World Youth Games in Poland, and led Jamaica's relay to a silver medal at the 1999 Pan Am 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.
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.
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.