March 2, 2006
On the Track: Another historic season of track and field at Dempsey Indoor comes to a close Saturday as Washington hosts the 2006 Last Chance Qualifier. As one of just six last chance meets being held nationwide, Saturday's meet will draw many of the West's top collegiate athletes as they seek to bolster their NCAA profile prior to Monday's announcement of the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships field. Check GoHuskies.com Thursday evening for a finalized event schedule, and a complete list of meet entries.
What To Watch For: With each athlete competing Saturday presumbly on the NCAA's qualifying bubble, the level of competition should be up to the Dempsey's elite standards. All-American Virginia Powell of Rainier Beach High School and USC fame leads the field in the 60-meter hurdles, and will run directly alongside UW star Ashley Lodree in the 60-meter dash. Oregon's Michael McGrath and Nike's Jason Jabaut are each entered below four minutes in the mile, while NCAA champion Robert Cheseret of Arizona could take the oversized-track indoor world lead in the 5,000 meters. The Qualifier also boasts strong fields in the women's 800- and men's 3,000 meters, and includes eight of the nation's top-25 women's vaulters. For complete entries, visit GoHuskies.com.
Huskies Hunt Marks on Road: In addition to the UW athletes competing at Dempsey Indoor on Saturday, Washington will have a number of competitors seeking qualifying marks away from home. Freshman heptathlete Daria Pavlov, currently ranked 26th in the nation, will compete in the Last Chance Qualifier at Idaho State on Friday, while the UW's men's distance medley and 4x400-meter relay squads head to Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational. In addition to the relays, Jordan Boase (200 meters), Ryan Brown (800 meters) and Carl Moe (mile) may attempt to improve their NCAA qualifying efforts. The Huskies have a history at Notre Dame -- in 2004, UW's DMR set a school record of 9:35.35 in the Wilson meet, and in 2005 clocked a qualifying time of 9:36.20 en route to an All-America performance at NCAAs. For complete meet information and results for both meets, visit www.isubengals.com and www.und.com, repsectively.
Meet Results: Fans of track and field can follow the 2006 UW Last Chance Qualifier as it happens via the live results link at www.GoHuskies.com. Results will be uploaded at the conclusion of each event, and will be added to the track and field schedule/results page immediately following the meet's conclusion. For those attending the meet, results will be posted continuously near the Dempsey Indoor entrance, and are available at the finish line for coaches only. Final results will be faxed to all local media and participating schools roughly 30 minutes following the meet. Results can also be e-mailed by request; contact SID Brian Beaky at email@example.com.
NCAA Championships Selection: To qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, athletes must either meet the NCAA's automatic qualifying standards in their event, or boast a provisional-qualifying mark that ranks among the top 16-18 marks in the nation (individual events), or top-10-12 for relays. The final list of those accepted to the 2006 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships is scheduled to be released at 5 p.m. Monday on NCAASports.com, with a full release detailing UW's entrants to be posted to GoHuskies.com shortly thereafter.
NCAA Qualifying Notes: Washington currently boasts 14 athletes on the NCAA's provisional qualifying list, including qualifying marks in both the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles by junior Ashley Lodree. At No. 8 nationally in the hurdles, Lodree is one just two Huskies virtually guaranteed NCAA Championships berths, joining fifth-ranked miler Austin Abbott. Huskies on the bubble include pole vaulter Carly Dockendorf (tied for 15th), long jumper Norris Frederick (tied for 14th) and Lodree in the dash (tied for 19th), with each of UW's remaining qualifiers boasting NCAA rankings lower than 20th. It is those latter individuals with the most at stake this weekend -- only the top 16-18 individuals and 10-12 relays will be selected to the Championships field on Monday. For a complete rundown of UW's NCAA qualifiers, see pages 8-9 of this release.
2006 MPSF Champions: Washington's men's team capped the major portion of its 2006 indoor season in dramatic fashion last weekend, defeating seven of the other eight Pac-10 teams for the 2006 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor conference title at Dempsey Indoor. The three individual titles won by sophomore Norris Frederick (long jump) and juniors Martin Bingisser (weight throw) and Ryan Brown (800 meters) equaled the third-most conference titles in UW history -- indoors or out -- while the team's win was its first in confernce championship competition since winning the Pacific Coast Conference crown in 1928. The Huskies saw a 30-point day-two lead dwindle to just seven by meet's end, after scratches in the pole vault and triple jump and a dropped stick in the 4x400-meter relay. Still, Washington's 107 points were enough to hold off Stanford (100) and four-time defending champion UCLA (88) for UW's first-ever indoor conference crown. Sophomore Ashley Lodree's victory in the hurdles helped the UW women to fifth at 60.5, while Stanford won its fourth-straight MPSF women's crown with a 161-point total. In all, athletes competing at the two-day meet combined for 122 NCAA qualifying marks, while setting seven meet records and three facility bests.
Walker Wins U.S. Vault Title: While his former teammates were busy winning the MPSF crown in Seattle last Saturday, 2004 UW alum Brad Walker was busy capturing his second-straight USA indoor pole vault championship, and his third-straight USA championship overall. Currently ranked No. 1 overall in the IAAF's World Rankings, Walker will be among the favorites for a gold medal at next week's World Championships in Moscow. The 24-year-old Walker set a Pac-10 record and won two NCAA indoor titles at Washington from 2000-04, and has since excelled professionally, winning three U.S. titles and world silver medal in 2005. Walker's lifetime best of 19-6 1/2 in the vault ranks sixth in U.S. history, and was the world's leading mark last season..
Rankings Report: Neither of UW's teams appeared in this week's Trackwire 25, a national ranking which predicts the individual and team placings at the NCAA Championships. The MPSF champion UW men men earned two team points on the strength of a projected seventh-place finish in the long jump for sophomore Norris Frederick, six points below the score needed for top-25 mention. The UW women, meanwhile, netted an identical score on a projected seventh-place hurdles finish for junior Ashley Lodree. Texas continued to hold a dominant 52-44 advantage over Stanford on the women's side, while defending champ and NCAA host Arkansas' 59 points surged well ahead of No. 2 LSU's 45. In addition to those Huskies in scoring places, several other UW athletes were listed among Trackwire's Dandy Dozen for individual events -- junior Carly Dockendorf is listed 10th in the pole vault, and sophomore Austin Abbott is listed 11th in the mile.
Monster PR of the Week: Senior Blake Bidleman hasn't had the easiest road to success. A top prep hurdler at Redmond's Inglemoor High School, Bidleman saw steady improvement through his first two seasons before missing nearly all of the 2004 and 2005 campaigns with a foot injury. Healthy again for the first time in nearly two years, Bidleman has found his niche in the multi-events, setting a UW record in the heptathlon with a score of 4,809 at January's UW Invitational, then crushing that mark with a 5,126-point effort at the MPSF Championships. Bidleman's score earned two team points for the conference-champion UW men, and was just 74 points shy of the NCAA's provisional-qualifying standard.
The `Lo' Down: If only Ashley Lodree -- currently the nation's eighth-fastest 60-meter hurdler-- could have kept on running in 2005. The junior from Richmond, Calif., ran the seven-fastest 100-meter hurdles times of her life in her final seven races of the 2005 season, capped by a 13.17-posting at the USA Championships to match the UW record she set two weeks prior in the NCAA final. Lodree placed 10th at USAs and fifth at NCAAs, the latter good for her second All-America honor in three months, including a ninth-place finish in the 2005 NCAA 60-meter hurdles final indoors. Prior to the year, some had wondered how Lodree could possibly top her breakout freshman season of 2004, which included two school records, five marks among UW's all-time top-10, an NCAA Championships appearance and a top-10 world junior ranking. Lodree, however, did just that, becoming just t2he sixth UW woman ever to earn multiple All-America honors and shattering her UW hurdles records indoors and out. Lodree also added to UW's all-time top-10 lists in each of the nine events in which she competed, and boasts top-10 all-time marks in 10 of the 11 events she has attempted in her UW career, including four school records. In 2006, Lodree has already won and conference hurdles title and set two school records -- in the 60- and 200-meter dashes --while nearly breaking her UW hurdles record of 8.15 seconds in her season debut, clocking an 8.16 versus no significant competition at January's UW Indoor Invite. That mark -- just .01 above the NCAA's automatic-qualifying standard -- currently ranks Lodree eighth in the NCAA, and 16th among U.S. women this year.
Tracking Ashley Lodree in 2006 (Individual Finals Only)
Event, Time, Place, Date
60m Dash, 7.44, 1st, 1/14
60m Hurdles, 8.16, 1st, 1/28
60m Dash, 7.38 (UW Record), 3rd, 2/11
200m Dash, 24.42 (UW Record), 1st, 2/11
60m Hurdles, 8.17, 1st, 2/25*
60m Dash, 7.39, 3rd, 2/25*
*MPSF Conference Championships
Four-Minute Man: Washington sophomore Austin Abbott ran into the history books at February's Husky Classic, becoming just the third Husky runner ever to break four minutes in the mile. Abbott's time of 3:59.47 was UW's third-fastest ever, and is the fifth-fastest mark in the nation this year. A graduate of W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash., Abbott enjoyed a banner freshman season in 2005, capturing All-America honors in the distance medley relay, and earning a third-place finish in the Pac-10 1,500-meter final. Abbott also set UW freshman records in the 800 meters indoors, and the 1,500 meters outdoors, including a half-mile best of 1:49.64 that was a UW record for two weeks, before teammate Shane Charles bettered it with a 1:49.59 posting. His four-minute mile in February was one of just seven by collegiate athletes this year, and one of 16 by American men in 2006. Abbott ran second in the mile at last week's MPSF Championships, and will run the 1,200-meter leg of UW's distance medley relay this weekend at Notre Dame.
Four-Minute Miles, UW History
Name, Time, Year, Location
Greg Gibson, 3:59.24, 1974, San Diego, Calif.
Eric Garner, 3:58.93, 2002, Dempsey Indoor
Austin Abbott, 3:59.47, 2005, Dempsey Indoor Brains And Brawn: In just two-plus years, junior Martin Bingisser has already captured an indoor conference title and posted UW's best marks in a decade in the hammer and weight throws --but it's his accomplishments outside the cage that truly set him apart. A two-time third-place hammer finisher at the Pac-10 Championships and the 2006 MPSF Conference champion in the weight throw, Bingisser earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy in June after just three years of college, and is currently enrolled in the UW School of Lawl. The Interlake High School graduate, who plans to use his final two years of eligibility while pursuing his J.D., has been on a tear since transferring from Cal State Northridge in the fall of 2004, culminating with a 64-foot, 8 3/4-inch toss in last week's conference championships -- just the second weight throw competition of his collegiate career. Bingisser's effort -- UW's best since 1985 --echoed his success in the hammer throw, where the Bellevue native ranks fourth in UW history. In addition to his academic and athletic prowess, Bingisser is among the country's leading hammer scholars -- his website, HammerCenter.com, provides the nation's most comprehensive coverage of the hammer at the prep and college level, plus videos and other instruction tools.
Vault Supremacy: The 2005 season left little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting. An NCAA-record five UW women's vaulters competed at the NCAA Championships in 2005 -- including four each indoors and out -- while three earned All-America honors, and senior Kate Soma brought home the 2005 NCAA outdoor title. The story should be much the same in 2006, as four of the five return, including senior All-Americans Ashley Wildhaber (5th, indoors) and Carly Dockendorf (6th, outdoors), junior Stevie Marshalek and sophomore Kelley DiVesta. All five, including the departed Soma, boast bests above 13 feet, a feat never before accomplished by any NCAA quintet, while three of the five -- including Soma, Wildhaber and Dockendorf -- rank among the 10-best vaulters in Pac-10 history:
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
6. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
7. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
7. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
9. Carly Dockendorf, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4
9. Ashley Wildhaber, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4i
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
Rare Double: From the first time she entered a vault competition -- going 12-1 1/2 at Husky Stadium in 2002 -- it was obvious that senior Carly Dockendorf, already a decorated UW gymnast, was in an elite class of athletes. In 2004, though, Dockendorf moved into a class all her own, qualifying individually for the NCAA Championships in both track and field and gymnastics. While it is not uncommon for an athlete to compete in multiple NCAA Championships in one year, to do so in two unrelated sports in which qualification is based on individual, not team, performance is extremely rare. She nearly repeated the feat in 2005, qualifying for the NCAA Track Championships indoors and out, but falling just one-tenth of a point shy of qualifying for the NCAA gymnastics meet in April.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: There is no doubt that pole vaulter/gymnast Carly Dockendorf -- the nation's No. 2 returning vaulter, along with teammate Ashley Wildhaber -- is one of the finest two-sport athletes in Washington sports history. The Port Moody, B.C., native added to her legend last March with a 17th-place finish in the vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas, just 19 hours after competing in Utah for the Husky gymnastics team. Dockendorf then closed the 2005 campaign with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, her vault of 13-9 1/4 equal to the ninth-best mark in Pac-10 history, and the fifth-best mark ever by a Canadian citizen. Balancing two sports is nothing for Dockendorf -- as a prep, Dockendorf competed in volleyball, wrestling, rugby and soccer, in addition to gymnastics. The UW senior scaled back to just two sports in college, earning back-to-back NCAA gymnastics berths in 2003 and 2004, and three-straight NCAA track berths in 2004-05, including an All-America performance outdoors last season. Amazingly, Dockendorf has been pole vaulting for less than four years, having begun the sport only after watching Husky vaulters train during her freshman gymnastics season in 2002. Dockendorf began her two-sport double on a full-time basis in 2003, winning All-America honors on the gymnastics floor while placing eighth in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Championships. She completed her gymnastics eligibility in 2005 with the most perfect 10s (six) of any UW gymnast all-time, and will have one full year of track eligibility remaining in 2006.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Dana Buller, 2005, 14-9 1/2
2. Kelsie Hendry, 2005, 14-7 1/2
3. Stephanie McCann, 2004, 14-5 1/4
4. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 3/4
5. Carly Dockendorf, 2005, 13-9 ¼v 6. Sue Kupper, 2005, 13-7 1/4
6. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
8. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
8. Adrienne Vangool, 2004, 13-5 3/4
10. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
Freshmen Women Flourish: Washington's female freshmen were among those shining the brightest at last weekend's MPSF Championships. Distance runners Anita Campbell and Tori Tyler each cracked UW's all-time top-10 at 5,000 meters, with Campbell's second-place time of 16:33.27 the Huskies' third-fastest ever and a UW freshman-best, and Tyler's 17:07.58 mark the eighth-fastest ever at UW. Freshman Daria Pavlov, meanwhile, took fourth in the pentathlon with a score of 3,854 points that was UW's second-best all-time, including a high jump effort of 5-7 3/4 that ties for sixth in UW history. In all, female freshmen and redshirt freshmen have combined for nine marks among UW's all-time top-10 this year, and lead UW in six of 15 individual events.
Brown is Back: Less than two years ago, Ryan Brown was out of track and field, having walked away from a promising career. Barely a year after returning to the sport last January, however, Brown has won two conference titles, one regional title and a pair of All-America honors, and will attempt to lead UW's 4x400-meter and distance medley relay squads to NCAA Championships berths this weekend. Brown's turnaround began in last year's Pac-10 800-meter final, as the Renton native outkicked Pac-10 favorite Jon Rankin of UCLA down the homestretch to win in 1:47.31, the second-fastest in UW history and the eighth-best by a collegiate athlete in 2005. Just two weeks later, Brown outkicked Rankin again to win the same event at the NCAA West Regional, and capped the year with matching 10th-place finishes in the 800- and 4x400 meters at the NCAA Championships. Last month, Brown made it two straight in conference championship finals, winning the MPSF Conference 800-meter crown in 1:50.35 to lift the UW men to their first-ever indoor conference title. Brown competed just one year at Renton High School, going undefeated at 800 meters as a senior. He walked on to the UW squad in 2002-03 and was terrific indoors, before leaving the team in the summer. Brown returned to the track in 2005, leading UW's DMR to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships and breaking UW's indoor 800-meter record, before embarking on his epic outdoor campaign. The junior enters 2006 with the nation's sixth-fastest returning mark at 800 meters, and also runs on UW's 4x400-meter and distance medley relays.
Half-Mile Madness: Don't be surprised to see Washington dominating the Pac-10's 800-meter rankings in 2006. In addition to Pac-10 and Regional champion Ryan Brown, Washington put a school-record four runners under 1:50 in the event last year, each of whom return in 2006. Sophomore Austin Abbott and seniors Bruce Jackson and Shane Charles joined Brown under the 1:50 mark in 2005, including a mark of 1:49.59 by Charles that is a UW record indoors, and a best of 1:47.31 by Brown that is UW's second-fastest outdoors. The foursome each rank among the Pac-10's top-11 returnees in 2005, and will be joined by a freshman class boasting outstanding talent in the middle-distance events. Prior to the 2005 season, Washington had only boasted one other year, 1992, in which as many as three men's runners broke the 1:50 mark, while prior to 2005, no two Huskies had done so in the same season since 1998.
Passing the Baton: Washington's homegrown 4x400-meter squad -- featuring three runners from the Seattle area -- was electric at the 2005 Pac-10 meet, breaking a 30-year-old UW record with a time of 3:03.85, including a 44.8-second anchor by returnee Bruce Jackson. The time was a four-second improvement over the relay's previous best, and ranked ninth in the nation in 2005. The record-setting foursome improved to 11th at the NCAAs after a 14th-place finish in 2004, and enter the 2006 season seeking to become UW's first All-American 4x4 since 1998, and the first outdoors since 1990. Among those competing for the spot vacated by relay superstar Sean Williams will be Seattle-area natives Jordan Boase of Bothell, an NCAA Championships 4x100m participant in 2005; junior transfer Alex Harcourt of Kent, whose lifetime best of 46.57 tops any current Husky; and senior Phil McCary of Kirkland, the team's first alternate in 2005 and an NCAA Championships participant in 2004. They will vie to join relay returnees Jackson of Seattle, Ryan Brown of Renton and Grenada native Shane Charles.
Stanback on Track: Husky football fans jonesing for a winter fix should head to Dempsey Indoor -- Washington's track and field team includes three members of the UW football team, with one more planning to join the squad outdoors. The most accomplished of the three is junior sprinter Isaiah Stanback, the second-place finisher in the 60-meter dash at last week's MPSF Championships, and an 11-game starter at quarterback for 2005 Husky football team. Joining him are junior wide receiver Corey Williams, currently UW's top sprint hurdler, and freshman linebacker Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, a 58-foot prep shot-putter, while junior defensive end Brandon Ala is expected to toss the discus outdoors. Washington also boasts the talents of one of UW's finest-ever gymnasts, pole vault All-American Carly Dockendorf, while women's basketball players Jill Bell, Cheri Craddock and Angie Jones are each expected to join the team after the hoops season concludes in March. Perhaps to repay their debt, the UW track team loaned senior J.R. Wolfork, a 2005 NCAA Championships qualifier in the long jump, to the Husky football squad in the fall; Wolfork appeared in all 11 games and forced a fumble on special teams.
Remember Me?: To the casual Husky fan, senior Will Conwell may have fallen off the radar in 2003 when he gave up a career as a UW linebacker to throw the discus. After redshirting the 2003 season with two broken wrists, Conwell burst back onto the scene in 2004, taking fourth place at the Pac-10 meet, before adding a fifth-place finish in 2005. The Kent native - once expected to follow his uncle, UW legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory - has picked up in 2006 right where he left off last spring, improving his bests in the shot put and weight throw by more than four feet each, while cracking UW's all-time top-10 in the latter with a toss of 58-0 1/4 at January's UW Indoor Invitational. Though he gave up football three years ago, Conwell is still following in his famous uncle's footsteps - a five-year track letterwinner at Washington, Ernie Conwell ranks fourth in UW history in the shot put, and placed fifth in the event at the 1996 NCAA Championships.
You Might Recall: The practice of mining talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for the Husky track program in the past. In fact, a glance at UW's career top-10s reveals several such performers, including 110m hurdles record-holder Spider Gaines, a tailback for the UW football team in the 1970s, and sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, the UW record-holder at 100m, 200m, and 400m and a Husky wide receiver from 1997-98. Others on the list include football players Ernie Conwell (No. 5, shot put), Dana Hall (No. 3, 110m HH), Sterling Hinds (No. 3, 100m/200m), Pete Kaligis (No. 6, shot put), Orlando McKay (No. 2, 400m), Brent Merritt (No. 6, 400m) and Tony Parrish (No. 5, triple jump), basketball players Tara Davis (No. 1, triple jump; No. 2, long jump) and Heather Reichmann (No. 2, javelin) and All-American volleyball star Makare Desilets (No. 5, high jump). UW's two-sport stars have excelled on the world stage, too -- Herman Brix and Paul Jessup, stars of UW's football teams in the 1920s, each competed at the Olympics, and set world records in the shot put, and discus. Among current Huskies, football players Isaiah Stanback (No. 8, 60m) and J.R. Wolfork (No. 9, long jump), and former footballers Shelton Sampson (No. 3, 200m) and Will Conwell (No. 7, weight throw) each rank among UW's all-time best, as does former gymnast Carly Dockendorf (No. 2, pole vault).
Dazzling Debut: Sophomore Norris Frederick has done everything he could to back up the hype that accompanied his signing with UW. After earning All-America honors in the long jump indoors in 2005, Frederick broke UW's freshman record in the long jump outdoors, qualified for the NCAA Championships in the high jump, and nabbed top-five Pac-10 finishes in both. In 2006, Frederick hasn't slowed a bit, clearing 25 feet, 2 1/2 inches to win the MPSF Conference long jump crown and climb to No. 7 in Trackwire's collegiate men's rankings. The 20-year-old Roosevelt High School alum is already the only UW athlete ever to long jump 25 feet and high-jump seven feet in his career, boasting career bests of 25-6 1/4 and 7-0 1/2, respectively. Frederick launched six long jumps over 25 feet indoors in 2005, the best a 25-foot, 6 1/4 inch leap that led all NCAA freshmen indoors, and ranked eighth in the IAAF World Junior rankings. Frederick placed sixth in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet -- tops by a UW long jumper since 1965 -- and is one of just 12 Huskies ever to clear the seven-foot mark in the high jump. As a prep, Frederick ranked second among U.S. prep high jumpers in 2004 with a best of 7-1, and fourth among U.S. prep long jumpers at 24-10 1/2. Frederick literally jumped out of his shoes at the 2004 IAAF World Junior Championships, tearing apart the footwear which guided him to five state prep titles. With borrowed shoes, he placed 19th in both events, and closed the 2004 season ranked among the top-35 under-20 athletes in the world.
International Delights: From seven-time NCAA champion Scott Neilson to multiple UW record-holder Regina Joyce, Washington has benefited from a number of outstanding international competitors over the decades -- and 2006 should be no different. Sprinter Davaon Spence of Jamaica and Grenadan hurdler Shane Charles have each set national records in their home countries, while Canadian pole vaulter Carly Dockendorf is among the her nation's all-time best. Notable newcomers on the international scene include heptathlete Daria Pavlov of Israel and distance runner Anita Campbell of Vancouver, B.C. Both freshmen have already made their impacts felt -- Pavlov fell just short of UW's pentathlon record with an NCAA provisional-qualifying 3,852 in February, while Campbell was UW's lone qualifier for the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships, and will represent UW -- and Canada -- at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in April.
Former Husky Returns: While Washington fans may need some time to learn the names and faces of the team's talented newcomers, there's at least one new face on the Husky squad that should be familiar to all who follow Washington track and field. Former Husky Aretha (Hill) Thurmond returns to Montlake this year as a volunteer assistant throws coach, working alongside her husband, first-year UW assistant coach Reedus Thurmond. A four-time All-American during her time at Washington, the former Aretha Hill has made an even bigger name for herself since graduating from the UW in 1998, winning back-to-back U.S. discus titles in 2003 and 2004, and representing the United States at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games. Thurmond, who was elected captain of the U.S. team at the 2005 World Championships, boasts a discus best of 216-1 that is the third-best in U.S. history, while her collegiate best of 215-3 is Pac-10 record, and is the second-best ever by a U.S. collegian. Interestingly, Thurmond is one of five former Huskies on the UW coaching staff, including head coach Greg Metcalf (UW, `93), assistant coach David Bazzi (UW, `01) and volunteer assistants Duncan Atwood (UW, `78), and Jacob Predmore (UW, `00).
Ridiculous Records: Washington's athletes have certainly been keeping the team's indoor record-keepers busy. Already in 2006, Husky athletes have combined for 41 marks among the Huskies' all-time top-10 indoors, including school records in the 60- and 200-meter dashes by junior Ashley Lodree, in the 5,000 meters by sophomore Jeremy Mineau, and in the heptathlon by senior Blake Bidleman. Washington's highly-acclaimed indoor facility, Dempsey Indoor, has certainly had an effect on the Huskies' indoor list, with 26 school records and an eye-popping 224 marks among UW's all-time top-10 having been achieved since the start of the 2002 season, UW's first in the facility. For a complete list of the top-10 indoor marks set in 2006, see the box on page 6 of this release.
Dempsey Indoor: In only five full seasons, Washington's Dempsey Indoor has already earned a reputation as one of the nation's top indoor competition venues. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. Dempsey Indoor has hosted dozens of Olympians, witnessed 25 top-10 world marks, 22 UW indoor school records and thousands of NCAA qualifying marks, and is the host site of the MPSF Championships, the indoor conference championships for most major West Coast college teams. In addition to its competitive use, the building serves as an indoor practice facility for many UW teams, and hosts numerous banquets and rallies. For more information on Dempsey Indoor, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
Dempsey Indoor Draws World's Best: If Washington's home indoor meets over the past five seasons have seemed to shimmer in gold, it is likely due to the numerous Olympians who have highlighted the fields at Dempsey Indoor. Adam Goucher, a U.S. Olympian in 2000, set a facility record in the 5,000 meters in his first of two appearances at Dempsey Indoor in 2005, while fellow Olympian Bolota Asmeron clocked a Dempsey-best 7:48.59 at the 2004 UW Indoor Invite. Already in 2006, numerous former Olympians have put Dempsey on their schedule, including 2004 hurdles gold medalist Joanna Hayes, 2004 pole vault silver medalist Toby Stevenson, as well as 2004 Olympians Kristin Heaston and Goucher. Past luminaries include two-time Olympic medalist John Godina, U.S. Olympians Seilala Sua, Michael Stember and Paul Terek, as well as world No. 1 pole vaulter Brad Walker and highly-ranked Americans Jenny Adams and Alice Schmidt.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his fourth year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross country, and his ninth year overall on the UW staff. In his first three seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to three top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, and has guided the Husky men to consecutive top-30 indoor finishes in each of the last two years, and an indoor conference championship in 2006. Individually, 15 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with six grabbing All-America accolades, a list which does not include the team's All-America distance medley relay in 2005. In addition, Metcalf has led the Huskies' women's cross country team to the NCAA meet eight of his first nine years at the helm. In eight years atop Washington's distance program, Metcalf has coached 17 All-Americans, six Pac-10 champions, 13 school-record setters and 74 NCAA Championships competitors. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeple, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2006 is in no way short on accolades. Ninth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has coached 12 All-Americans, including NCAA champions Brad Walker and Kate Soma. Second-year sprints/hurdles coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., meanwhile, had a banner first year, mentoring Ashley Lodree to All-America honors indoors and out and guiding two UW men's relays to NCAA berths for the first time in school history. First-year throws coach Reedus Thurmond was a three-time All-American at Auburn, and captured the SEC discus title as a senior, while fifth-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is fourth-year distance coach Kelly Strong, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles, and is largely credited with putting together recruiting classes annually ranked among the nation's best. Ironically, the most accomplished members of the Husky coaching staff are two of the the team's volunteer assistants -- former Huskies and U.S. Olympians Aretha (Hill) Thurmond and Duncan Atwood. A four-time All-American, two-time Olympian and two-time U.S. champion, Thurmond enters her first year at UW, assisting husband Reedus Thurmond with the UW throwers. Atwood, meanwhile, was a two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, and has helped UW javelin throwers earn two All-America honors in his three years.