Feb. 26, 2005
SEATTLE - Husky sophomore Ashley Lodree set a school record in the 60-meter hurdles and earned a pair of top-three finishes, leading Washington's women's track and field team to third place in the 2005 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships at Dempsey Indoor. The two-day meet combined teams from the Pac-10 and Big West Conferences, including six teams ranked among the top-25 in the nation.
Top-ranked Stanford won its third-straight conference women's title with 180.5 points, more than second-place Cal (96) and third-place Washington (69) combined. Washington State placed sixth.
While the women's team title was never in doubt on the meet's second day, the men's championship went down to the final two events, with UCLA senior Yoo Kim's victory in the pole vault - at a Korean national record of 18 feet, 4 3/4 inches - ultimately lifting the defending champion Bruins past Stanford in the team standings. UCLA was first with 117.5, followed by Stanford (93.5), Arizona (93) and Cal (90). Washington placed sixth with 62 points, and Washington State was seventh with 49.
Dempsey Indoor cemented its reputation as one of the nation's top competitive indoor facilities, with athletes combining for two facility records, eight MPSF Championships records and a stunning 86 NCAA qualifying marks over the meet's two days. Husky athletes were especially prolific, setting three school records and posting 16 marks among the top-10 all-time in UW history.
"Our crowd was huge for us today," said third-year head coach Greg Metcalf, alluding to the estimated 1,200 fans who packed the Dempsey bleachers Saturday. "This meet should really give us a lift going into our outdoor season."
Lodree lowered her own 60-meter hurdles record to 8.15 seconds in the day's second women's track final, finishing three hundredths behind UCLA's three-time All-American Dawn Harper in a photo finish. Lodree's time was the fifth-fastest in the nation this year, and matched the NCAA automatic qualifying standard in the event, clinching the sophomore a second-straight trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Lodree also placed third in the 60-meter dash to finish with 14 of Washington's 69 team points, the highest total of any UW individual at the meet. Senior Lindsey Egerdahl scored big with an NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 4:46.24 in the mile to earn second, while freshman Amanda Miller (4th, 800 meters), sophomore Kira Harrison (7th, 800 meters), juniors Brynne Steward (7th, 60-meter hurdles) and Lauran Dignam (8th, 400 meters), seniors Sidney Brown (8th, high jump) and Camille Connelly (8th, 3,000 meters) and the team's 4x400-meter relay (8th) all put points on the board for UW.
The relay was of even more significance on the men's side, as Washington's NCAA-qualified foursome of Sean Williams, Ryan Brown, Shane Charles and Bruce Jackson targeted a conference title and the Huskies' school record of 3:07.33, set by an All-American foursome in 1998. Washington and conference favorite Oregon traded the lead for much of the first three legs, before Ducks' anchor Matt Scherer pulled the visitors ahead for good on the final leg. Both teams ran below the previous meet record, with Oregon finishing in 3:06.98, and Washington in 3:07.94, the latter faster than all but eight relays in the nation this year, but a half second off the UW record pace.
"Those guys ran their hearts out," Metcalf said. "I know they wanted that record, but I think they're going to be pretty happy with that time. That will hopefully get them into the NCAAs, so they should have another shot at that record before the indoor season's done."
Washington's thrilling relay capped an exciting day on the men's side in which 10 Huskies scored, including a second-place finish by Charles in the 800 meters, and a third-place effort by senior Davaon Spence in the 60-meter dash. Spence was one of two scorers for UW in the 60, with Husky quarterback Isaiah Stanback taking seventh in 6.91 seconds.
Freshman Austin Abbott (4th) and senior Andy Fader (8th) each scored for Washington in the mile, while junior Warren Eickhoff (4th) and freshman Norris Frederick (5th) earned top-five finishes in the high jump. Eickhoff, a Snohomish High School grad, brought one of the largest roars of the day from the partisan Dempsey Indoor crowd with a high-jump clearance of 7 feet, 1/4 inch that was second-best ever indoors at UW, and made the junior just the 11th Husky jumper ever to top the seven-foot barrier, indoors or out.
Friday's competition saw Husky senior Kate Soma win the conference pole vault title, and saw heptathlete Grace Vela and half-mile specialist Charles each break UW indoor records. For the UW women, the third-place finish matched their MPSF Championships effort of a year ago, while the Husky men improved two spots from eighth, adding nearly 15 points to their 2004 scoring total.
"I saw a lot from our teams this weekend that has me excited for the rest of this season," said Metcalf. "These folks are all ready to go and show the conference that Washington track and field is back in a big way."
For complete results of the 2005 MPSF Indoor Championships, visit www.gohuskies.com.