June 8, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Ryan Brown and Shane Charles each won individual qualifying races, then led UW's 4x400-meter relay to a scintillating prelim time to headline a second successful day for Washington athletes at the 2006 NCAA Track and Field Championships. The four-day meet, at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium, continues through Saturday.
With eight individuals and one relay in action, Thursday was one of the busiest days in Washington's 85-year history at the NCAA Championship meet. Ten total Huskies competed Thursday, more than have competed in four days combined at all but a handful of NCAA meets since 1921.
It was a successful day in qualifying for Washington's track and field athletes, who advanced in six of a possible seven events.
Junior Ryan Brown (Renton, Wash./Renton) and senior Shane Charles (St. Andrew's, Grenada/St. Aguilan Secondary) won qualifying heats in the 800 meters and 400-meter hurdles, respectively, though in dramatically different fashion.
The Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional hurdles champion, Charles started in front of the pack in lane eight and never looked back, opening a lead as large as 15 meters on the final curve before coasting across the finish line in an easy 50.57 seconds. Charles, who is undefeated in the event in 2006, advances to Friday night's semifinal, where the Grenadian national record-holder and No. 4 national seed will attempt to earn one of eight spots in Saturday's live-televised final.
"Shane doesn't understand anything except how to win," said assistant coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr. "One thing you can be sure about with Shane is that you're always going to get his best - and most days, that's going to be as good as anyone's."
Brown, meanwhile, found himself stuck inside early and had to wait for a hole to open in the pack with 200 meters to go, allowing him to step outside and make a move on the leaders. The junior closed the gap quickly with those in front, surging into the lead in the final 10 meters to take the semi-final victory in 1:47.40 -- a lifetime-best time, and the second-fastest ever in Washington history.
In advancing to Saturday's final, Brown also guaranteed a top-eight finish, and with it, his fifth-career All-America honor. Only four UW men have ever matched that feat, including just one - 10-time All-American Ja'Warren Hooker - since 1990.
"Ryan did a heck of a job to get out of that pack and get himself to the front," Metcalf said. "Getting to the final is half the battle - once you're there, anything can happen. The way Ryan's looked this weekend, I wouldn't put any limitations on what he can do in the final."
Brown and Charles returned later to lead Washington's 4x400-meter relay into a Saturday final, the foursome's time of 3:04.22 the third-fastest in UW history. Placed into a heat with Pac-10 champion USC and national-leader LSU, the Huskies traded second place with the Trojans for much of the race before finishing third, just three meters behind the leaders. Washington's time of 3:04.22 would have won every other heat easily, and is the third-fastest qualifying time of any team in Saturday's final.
"This is what you train for, to prepare yourself to succeed in this moment," said Vaughn, who also directs UW's relays. "Now that we're in the final, we're going for the win. That's the only goal we're willing to set for ourselves."
Others to advance through qualifying rounds included sophomore Amy Lia in the 1,500 meters (12th overall, 4:20.99), pole vaulters Carly Dockendorf and Kelley DiVesta (both of whom cleared 13-5 ½ to advance) and Pac-10 champion javelin thrower Juan Romero (4th overall, 228-4).
Redshirt freshman Jeremy Mineau then capped the night in the 10,000 meters, the first track final of the meet's opening two days. The Menlo Park, Calif., native, making his NCAA Championships debut, placed 21st overall in 30:10.82 - second-best among freshmen in the race.
"It was another good day for us," Metcalf said. "Jeremy ran great, and we only lost one person in qualifying rounds. Having so many people still alive in this meet is going to make the next two days of finals a lot of fun."
Washington will have two athletes in finals Friday, including juniors Ashley Lodree (100-meter hurdles) and Martin Bingisser (hammer), while sprinter Bruce Jackson (400 meters) and hurdler Shane Charles (400-meter hurdles) will try to move through semi-final rounds.
A continuous live recap of UW events will be posted throughout the day to GoHuskies.com, while live results will be made available all day at NCAASports.com. Friday's night's events - including Jackson and Charles - will also be broadcast live on College Sports Television (CSTV), available on some cable and most satellite packages.
2006 NCAA Track and Field Championships
Hornet Stadium; Sacramento, Calif.
June 8, 2006
Men's Results (UW Only)
800m Run Semi (Heat 2 of 2): 1. Ryan Brown, 1:47.40Q; 1,500m Run Semi (Heat 1 of 2): 10. Austin Abbott, 3:50.73; 10,000m Run (Final): 21. Jeremy Mineau, 31:10.82; 400m Hurdles Prelim (Heat 5 of 5): 1. Shane Charles, 50.57Q; 4x400m Relay (Semi): 3. Washington, 3:04.22q; Javelin (Qual.): 6. Juan Romero, 228-4Q.