April 3, 2008
Washington's top track and field talent will be out in full force this weekend to jumpstart the outdoor season. Most of the Huskies, including six All-Americans from the NCAA Indoor Championships three weeks ago, will be in Eugene, Ore. to compete in the four-team Pepsi Team Invitational this Saturday, April 5. The first events are scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
The Stanford Invitational is also on UW's radar, beginning Friday night and concluding on Saturday, however purple and gold will be in short supply in Palo Alto.
The Pepsi Team Invitational doubles as the annual dual meet between the Huskies and rival Oregon Ducks. The Washington men are currently ranked 10th, while the Oregon men are unranked. The reverse is true on the women's side, where the Ducks are 18th and the Huskies unranked. Also participating in the competition are Penn State (No. 8 women) and Minnesota (No. 23 women). Teams are allowed to score two individuals per event and one relay, with the scoring following a descending 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 format for the top-eight places.
The Husky women will be 28-strong in Eugene, led by their trio of milers who all earned All-American awards indoors in Fayetteville, Ark. in mid-March. Senior Amanda Miller and sophomore Katie Follett, who placed fifth and sixth respectively in the mile at NCAA's, are both entered in the 1500m run, along with senior Amy Lia, the 2006 NCAA 1500-meter champion who has been fighting back from injury, running for the first time in nearly a year last weekend at the UW Outdoor Preview.
Senior Michelle Turner was ninth in the same mile race, and will be running in the 800-meters this weekend, along with sophomore Kailey Campbell. Follett is also entered in the 5000m run but likely will choose one or the other. Three freshmen are currently entered in the 5K with follett - Dayna Anderson, Kenna Patrick, and Bailey Schutte.
Other highlights include UW's top two senior women's pole vaulters, Kelley DiVesta and Stevie Marshalek leading a group of six Husky vaulters. DiVesta earned her first All-American honor at this year's NCAA Indoor Championships, placing seventh, while Marshalek is a four-time NCAA competitor.
Washington will also look for strong showings from juniors Syreeta Martin and Falesha Ankton, who are entered in the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles. Weight throw school record-holder, freshman Elisa Bryant, will also be competing in multiple throws events.
On the men's side, senior Norris Frederick is slated to start his outdoor season with runs in both the long and high jumps. Frederick is coming off the best NCAA effort of his career, finishing second in the long jump and sixth in the high jump in Fayetteville to earn his sixth and seventh All-American honors.
Senior Carl Moe, an NCAA competitor in the steeplechase last season, makes his 2008 debut in the event on Saturday.
The Huskies will also be looking for breakout performances from a large throws contingent. Junior David Nyland and freshman Kyle Nielsen will throw the javelin, while Zack Midles and Andrew Ferleman take on the shot put. Midles, Nyland and Ferleman will also all throw the discus, and Midles and Nyland could really put their stamina to the test as they're also entered in the hammer throw.
Saturday could also see a welcome sight to Husky eyes as senior Austin Abbott is entered in the 800m run, an event in which he placed fourth at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships. Abbott lost his indoor eligibility this season but looked to be in good shape last weekend at the UW Outdoor Preview as he served as the rabbit for the men's 1500-meters. Fleet-footed freshman Charlie Williams and senior Tim Freeman give UW a solid threesome to pit against a strong trio of Oregon runners, Michael McGrath, Joaquin Chapa, and Alexander Casteel.
Washington's representation at the Stanford Invitational will be limited to senior distance runner Trisha Rasmussen, who will run the 10,000-meters on Friday night, an event not offered in Eugene this weekend.
For the earliest results on Saturday, visit www.goducks.com.