April 23, 2004
DES MOINES, Iowa - Freshman hurdler Ashley Lodree on Friday lowered Washington's wind-legal 100-meter hurdles record for the second time this season, clocking a time of 13.51 seconds in the preliminary heats of the 2004 Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. A sell-out crowd of 18,000 was on hand Friday for the first of two days of competition at Drake, billed as the nation's largest annual outdoor competition.
Lodree's time, three-hundredths faster than the record of 13.54 she set earlier this month, was second fastest in her heat, and third-fastest overall in the loaded Drake field, earning the freshman one of eight spots in Saturday's final. Just four months into her college career, the Richmond, Calif., native has broken every Washington sprint hurdles record, and owns a wind-aided best of 13.39 that is the second-fastest by a U.S. junior women's athlete this season.
The record, however, wasn't fast enough to catch Iowa State's Rebecca Williams, who won the heat in 13.49. Alabama's Beau Walker led all finals qualifiers with a 13.35-second time in heat five, edging out Huskies Grace Vela and Brynne Steward, neither of whom earned finals spots.
Lodree will have company on the track Saturday, though, as the Huskies' 4x400-meter relay team of Cristian Adams, Phil McCary, Sean Williams and Bruce Jackson routed a talented field to win the second of four preliminary heats in 3 minutes, 8.57 seconds. The relay's half-second victory over its opponents earned an automatic spot in the eight-team final, and moved the quartet to fifth in UW history, just four seconds behind the record of 3:04.73 set in 1990.
Williams also competed individually Friday, earning a heat victory in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.94 seconds that was just one-hundredth off his personal best. Fellow Pac-10 qualifier Cambrielle Jensen came within one second of an NCAA Regional-qualifying mark with a 1:01.62 effort in the women's quarter-hurdles.
Lodree will lead a strong corps of Husky sprinters and hurdlers at Drake on Saturday, while her UW teammates battle Oregon, Arizona State, Cal and other regional opponents at the Oregon Invitational in Eugene. Washington's Doug Blaty competed in Oregon on Friday, but was unable to finish the men's decathlon after sustaining an injury in the day's first event, the 110-meter hurdles. Blaty had ranked eighth overall entering the event, with a first-day score of 3,282 points that was his best one-day total of the season.
To follow the action at Drake live on the web, visit www.drakerelays.com. Oregon Invitational results will not be posted live, but can be located following the meet at www.goducks.com.