May 26, 2007
EUGENE, Ore. - Ashley Lodree won the 100-meter hurdles and Ryan Brown won the 800 meters at the NCAA West Regional Championships on Saturday, leading nine more Huskies to automatic berths at next month's NCAA Championships.
Washington's men - sixth at the Pac-10 meet two weeks ago - placed third in the final team standings, just 13 points behind No. 4 and regional champion USC, and just five points back of fifth-ranked Pac-10 champion Oregon. Eighth-ranked UCLA was a distant fourth, at 53.5, while No. 10 ASU rounded out the top-five with 53 points. The UW women were 10th, as second-ranked ASU won its second-straight regional crown with 94 points to easily outpace No. 10 USC (74).
"Our men knew they were better than the sixth-best team in the Pac-10, and they wanted to prove that this weekend," said fifth-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "The West Region is extremely competitive this year, with four top-10 teams and seven in the top-20 ... if you can finish at or near the top in the West, you can do the same at nationals, so that's a big confidence-booster for our team heading to Sacramento."
While the Huskies' men led the team heroics, it was senior hurdler Ashley Lodree who provided the day's most outstanding individual performance, earning her first-ever postseason crown with a win in the 100-meter hurdles. Lodree and Pac-10 champion Candice Davis ran side-by-side for the first 70 meters before Davis stumbled over the penultimate hurdle, allowing Lodree to pull away for a quarter-second victory in a wind-aided time of 13.06 seconds.
"I didn't even notice," said Lodree of Davis' mishap. "I had total tunnel vision on the finish line. My whole goal coming here was to win the hurdles - that's something I haven't done yet in my career. It gives me a lot of confidence for nationals - there are going to be a lot of great hurdlers there, but my goal is going to be to win the race."
Already a five-time NCAA All-American, Lodree will have two chances to win a UW-record sixth All-American honor at next month NCAA meet, having qualified in both the hurdles and the long jump, where she placed third Friday.
Joining Lodree atop the victory podium Saturday was Brown, who remained undefeated in 800-meter finals over the last calendar year with a narrow victory over USC's Duane Solomon, avenging his last defeat - to Solomon, at the 2006 NCAA West Regional. As is his custom, Brown held back before outsprinting the field to the finish line for the win in 1 minute, 45.65 seconds, just four-hundredths ahead of Solomon's 1:49.69.
"The race went out really slow, which is just perfect for me, really," said Brown. "I'm very confident in my sprinting ability, so when it went out slow, I knew I'd be able to out-kick everyone down the stretch."
The senior from Renton, whose win Saturday earned his third-career regional crown (including two at 800 meters and one in the 4x400-meter relay) and his 10th postseason victory all-time, enters next month's national meet seeking his third-straight NCAA 800-meter title.
"It's definitely different going to nationals having already won before," Brown says, "but it's going to be the last race of my college career, the last chance for me to build on my reputation, so I'm excited for that."
In addition to wins by Lodree and Brown, an additional seven Washington athletes punched their tickets to Sacramento for next month's national meet with top-five finishes Saturday.
None were more dramatic - or as unexpected - as Carl Moe's performance in the steeplechase. The junior from Auburn - who entered the meet seeded just ninth in the West Regional field - moved into fourth on the final lap and was closing in on the third-place runner before stumbling off the last hurdle and doing a literal somersault in the water pit as BYU's Chandler Goodwin ran past. Moe, however, quickly regained his footing after the somersault and sprinted hard to the finish, re-passing Goodwin with 60 meters to go and placing fourth in a time of 8:48.93, a personal best and the 10th-fastest mark in UW history.
"How good was Carl Moe today? Holy cow!" said Metcalf after the race. "Kind of gets you excited to think what he would have run without the somersault, doesn't it? Seriously, though, I'm very excited for Cal. He's worked really hard to become a great steepler, and it's paying off in a big way."
Other Huskies to earn spots Saturday at next month's national meet included sprinter juniors Norris Frederick (2nd, high jump, 7-1), Alex Harcourt (3rd, 400 meters, 46.39) and James Fredrickson (4th, 400-meter hurdles, 51.29) and Amanda Miller (5th, 1,500 meters, 4:22.06), senior Stevie Marshalek (5th, pole vault, 13-3 3/4) and the men's 4x400-meter relay team of freshman Jeff Gudaities, Fredrickson, Brown and Harcourt (2nd, 3:08.73).
Those nine qualifiers, when added to the five who earned automatic-qualifying spots on Friday, bring to 14 the total number of automatic-qualifying performances by Washington athletes over the two-day meet, including a pair of individual qualifying performances for both Lodree (3rd in the long jump, 1st in the 100-meter hurdles) and Frederick (1st in the long jump, 2nd in the high jump).
"What's exciting about this is that we're at a point right now where we expect to take that large a group to nationals, if not larger," says Metcalf. "And they're not just fringe qualifiers either - we have several folks who are going to NCAAs with a legitimate goal of winning the meet. Last year, having two folks win NCAA titles, has made the idea of winning very real and tangible to all of our athletes, and they're performing now like people who believe they can win at that level."
For complete results from the 2007 NCAA West Regional Championships, or for more information on Washington track and field, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
2007 NCAA West Regional Championships
Hayward Field, Eugene, Ore.
May 25-26, 2007
Top-10 Men's Teams (Final) - 1. USC 83; 2. Oregon 75; 3. Washington 70; 4. UCLA 53.5; 5. Arizona State 53; 6. Washington State 46; t7. Arizona 43.5, Stanford 43.5; 9. BYU 35.5; 10. California 27, Long Beach State 27.
Men's Event Results* (UW Only, All Event Finals) -- 400m Dash: 3. Alex Harcourt, 46.39; 800m Run: 1. Ryan Brown, 1:49.65; Steeplechase: 4. Carl Moe, 8:48.93, 24. Brad Liber, 9:21.93; 400m Hurdles: 4. James Fredrickson, 51.29; 4x400m Relay: 2. Washington (Gudaitis/Fredrickson/Brown/Harcourt), 3:08.73; High Jump: 2. Norris Frederick, 7-1, 7. Teddy Davis, 6-11; Shot Put: 18. Cameron Elisara 54-3 3/4, 21. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, 52-11.
Top-10 Women's Teams (Final) - 1. Arizona State 94; 2. USC 74; 3. UCLA 67; 4. Stanford 48.5; 5. San Diego State 53; 6. BYU 48.5; 7. California 48; 8. Oregon 44; 9. Arizona 33; 10. Washington 29.
Women's Event Results* (UW Only, All Event Finals) - 1500m Run: 5. Amanda Miller, 4:22.06; 100m Hurdles: 1. Ashley Lodree, 13.06w; Pole Vault: 5. Stevie Marshalek, 13-3 3/4, t31. Myrriah Swango, 12-0, --. Kelley DiVesta, NH; Discus: 18. Janine Sandell, 148-3.
* Top five finishers in event finals advance automatically to NCAA Championships.