April 12, 2003
EUGENE, Ore. - Huskies Eric Garner, John Russell and Jeremy Park swept the top three spots in the 1,500 meters at Saturday's Pepsi Team Invitational, helping Washington's men's track and field squad to a third-place team finish at Oregon's Hayward Field.
The Huskies scored 113 team points, trailing the 211 of champion Oregon and 171 of runner-up Minnesota, but edging Colorado, which placed fourth with 108. Washington's women also finished third, with 149 points, trailing Oregon (204) and Minnesota (172), but again ahead of Colorado (100).
All three of Washington's outstanding milers earned NCAA Regional Championships and Pac-10 Championships qualifying marks with their finishes, as did freshman Jonathan Hickey, who placed seventh.
The ninth-place finisher in the event at last year's U.S. Senior National Championships, Garner won the event in 3 minutes, 45.72 seconds, nearly a second ahead of Russell and Park, who crossed the line nearly simultaneously. The electronic timer separated the UW duo by just one hundredth of a second, at 3:56.57 and 3:56.58, respectively. Hickey finished in 3:49.18.
In the women's 1,500 meters, sophomore Lindsey Egerdahl clocked an NCAA Regional qualifying time of her own, placing third in 4:30.00. Rounding out the Huskies' NCAA qualifiers Saturday was senior Courtney Inman, who placed second in the 800 meters in 2:07.70 after being passed late in the race by winner Eri Macdonald of Oregon.
While the milers were doing damage on the track, a pair of Husky throwers led the way for Washington in the field events. Senior Kameko Gay crushed her own school record in the hammer throw by more than three feet with a heave of 174 feet, 4 inches to place third, while freshman javelin thrower Tiffany Zahn recorded the UW's third-best mark since the new javelin was introduced in 1999, hurling the spear 155 feet, 2 inches in a second-place effort.
"I thought that both of our teams performed well," said first-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "Our men's team was really undermanned, with three of our top athletes ill and our top sprinters and jumpers gone for the duration of spring football. It was our first scoring meet of the year and we added six more NCAA qualifiers to the 23 we already had, so I think we're right where we want to be heading into the second month of our outdoor season."
In addition to the four Pac-10 qualifying marks in the men's 1,500 meters, Washington added a pair of conference qualifiers in the women's 1,500 meters, with sophomores Camille Connelly and Kathryn Touran each bettering the standard with respective finishes of 4:35.09 and 4:36.04.
With 29 NCAA qualifiers and 33 Pac-10 qualfiers already this season, the Huskies will return home Sunday in preparation for next week's prestigious Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.