March 9, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Washington senior Ashley Lodree ran the eighth-fastest time by an American this year and crushed her own school record en route to a third-place finish Friday at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Lodree was one of seven Huskies to earn All-America honors on the first day of the two-day meet at Arkansas' Randall Tyson Track Center. Washington will have four more All-America opportunities Saturday, when the two-day meet concludes.
The sixth-ranked Washington men, expected by many to compete for a team title, lost projected points in both the pole vault and long jump, but gained points in the distance medley relay to finish the first day tied for 15th overall with seven total points. Top-ranked Wisconsin (20 points) holds a five-point lead over four teams tied for second on the men's side, while No. 1 Arizona State holds a a slim 21-20 advantage over LSU among women's teams. Washington's women are tied for 15th with six points.
While the Huskies' men's team deservedly stole most of the headlines leading into Friday's action, it was Lodree who emerged as the UW's newsmaker.
The Richmond, Calif., native entered Friday's final seeded second after obliterating her school record of 8.15 with a heat-winning 8.04 mark in Friday's preliminary round. Lodree, Georgia Tech's Shantia Moss and LSU's Jessica Ohanaja ran shoulder-to-shoulder in the final, with national-leader Moss outleaning the Lodree and Ohanaja at the finish line for the narrow win. The final times for Moss (7.98), runner-up Ohanaja (8.00) and third-place Lodree (8.01) were the three fastest in the collegiate ranks this year, and rank sixth, seventh and eighth among American women in 2007.
In addition to the school record and best-ever NCAA finish for a UW hurdler, Lodree's placing earned the senior her fifth-career All-America honor, equaling pole vaulter Kate Soma for the most ever by a UW women's track and field athlete.
"Ashley was definitely the highlight out there for us today," said fifth-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "It was so close at the line, I thought she had won at first - I guess I was wishing with my eyes a little bit. But for her to come here and place third, and set two huge PRs, is just awesome."
Lodree's performance stole the show from UW's men's team, which saw six of its seven finals competitors earn All-America honors, but scored just seven total team points.
Four of those points came from the team's distance medley relay squad of Austin Abbott, James Fredrickson, Ryan Brown and Carl Moe, which earned its third-straight fifth-place NCAA Indoor Championships finish. After Abbott and Fredrickson staked Washington to third place after respective legs of 1,200- and 400 meters, six-time All-American Brown ran a terrific 800-meter leg to hand the stick to miler Moe with the Huskies leading top-ranked Stanford by two strides.
Cardinal All-American Russell Brown, however, put Stanford across the finish line first with an outstanding 4:00.9 anchor leg, the Cardinal's 9:33.64 barely edging Cal's 9:33.77. Washington was fifth in 9:38.30, earning All-America honors for each of the relay's four participants.
"Those guys were seeded 10th, and ran fifth, so there's a lot to be said for that," said Metcalf. "We had hoped to be farther ahead at the last handoff, but Ryan got boxed in a little bit at the start of his leg and did a great job just to get out of that and get into the lead. Carl hung right with Russell Brown and [Cal anchor] Kevin Davis through the first part of the mile, but those guys really turned it on at the end and we ended up getting passed by a couple of teams on the last lap. This is the third-straight year that we've come here and finished fifth, which is no small accomplishment, but it's not necessarily the one we were hoping for today."
The Huskies' remaining three points came courtesy of junior Norris Frederick, who earned his third-straight indoor All-America honor in the long jump with a sixth-place finish. Frederick entered Friday's meet seeded third overall, but struggled to record a legal jump during the preliminary round, finally scraping into the final with a 24-9 on his third attempt, then improving that mark to 25-1 ½ on his final jump of the competition.
"Norris' second jump was huge, but was called foul by a microscopic amount," Metcalf said. "I think that might have rattled Norris a little bit, but to his credit he came back and got himself into the finals with his third jump, then improved it in the finals to move up the standings a bit and score us a couple of extra points."
Washington also added an All-American in the pole vault, where freshman Scott Roth - seeded second overall -- tied for 11th overall at 16-10 ¾. Roth topped 18-1 ¾ at last weekend's UW Last Chance Qualifier, but needed three attempts to top the opening height before missing all three of his attempts at 17-4 ½.
"We had hoped to score about 20-25 points today, but to achieve those kinds of goals, you just can't have the kind of things happen that happened to us today," Metcalf said. "We had six All-Americans on the men's side, which is great, but we came into today talking about competing for a team title. That's been put out of reach, but we still have the chance to have some terrific finishes tomorrow, and have the best indoor finish in school history, and we need to go after those goals with all our focus."
The Huskies' men, whose best-ever indoor finish is a tie for 11th in 2001, will have three more scoring opportunities Friday, including Frederick in the high jump and Abbott and Brown in the 800-meter run final. Both Abbott and Brown advanced out of preliminary rounds Friday, and will be the seventh and fifth overall seeds, respectively, in Saturday's final. Washington's women will be represented Saturday by junior Amanda Miller, who advanced out of Friday's mile preliminary with a time of 4:46.48.
A live internet broadcast of all events will be available free online Saturday at ESPN360.com. For more information about the NCAA Championships, including links to schedules, results and the live internet broadcast, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
Quick Hits: Norris Frederick's sixth-place finish earned the junior his third-straight indoor All-America honor; Frederick needs just one more All-America award to crack UW's all-time top-10 ... Ryan Brown's All-America honor was the seventh of his UW career, second-most ever at Washington and just three shy of Ja'Warren Hooker's school record of 10 All-America honors ... Austin Abbott earned his third-career All-America honor - all with UW's distance medley relay squad - while Carl Moe's honor was his second, and James Fredrickson's his first ... junior Alex Harcourt became just the second UW quarter-miler since 1999 to compete in an open 400-meter race at the NCAA Championships when he ran in Friday's 400-meter prelim' Harcourt was fifth in his heat in 47.50 seconds, good for 16th overall ... in addition to her third-place 60-meter hurdles finish, senior Ashley Lodree also ran 18th overall in preliminaries of the 60-meter dash (7.43) ... Harcourt, junior pole vaulter McKane Lee, sophomore miler Dani Schuster and junior hurdler James Fredrickson each made their first-career NCAA Championships appearances ... Washington has boasted at least one NCAA Champion every year since 2003 ... the Huskies men are seeking their first-ever top-10 NCAA Indoor finish; their current best is a tie for 11th in 2001.
2007 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships
Randall Tyson Track Center; Fayetteville, Ark.
Mar. 9, 2007
Men's Results (UW Only)
400m Dash Prelim (Heat 4 of 4): 3. Alex Harcourt, 47.50; 800m Run Prelim (Heat 1 of 2): 5. Austin Abbott, 1:49.34q; (Heat 2 of 2): 2. Ryan Brown, 1:49.87Q. Distance Medley Relay (Final): 5. Washington (Austin Abbott, James Fredrickson, Ryan Brown, Carl Moe), 9:38.30; Pole Vault (Final): 11 (tie). Scott Roth, 16'-10 ¾", --. McKane Lee, NH. Long Jump (Final): 6. Norris Frederick, 25'-1 1/4" (7.65m).
Women's Results (UW Only)
60m Dash Prelim (Heat 3 of 3): 6. Ashley Lodree, 7.46; Mile Run Prelim (Heat 2 of 2): 5. Amanda Miller, 4:46.48q; 7. Dani Schuster, 5:07.06; 60m Hurdles Final: 3. Ashley Lodree, 8.01; 60m Hurdles Prelim (Heat 2 of 2): 1. Ashley Lodree, 8.04Q.