March 10, 2006
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Washington's track and field teams went a perfect three-for-three Friday at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., with each of the team's six competitors -- including hurdler Ashley Lodree and jumper Norris Frederick, and the men's distance medley relay team -- earning All-America honors on the first of two days of competition at Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center.
Washington's six All-America honors are already its third-best indoor haul in school history, and with six competitors remaining Saturday, the Huskies could topple the UW record of 10 indoor All-America honors set just last year.
The top-eight finishers in each event are guaranteed All-America honors, regardless of nationality. In addition, All-America honors are given to the top-eight Americans in each event; thus, for evey foreign-born athlete in the top-eight, one American is added to the All-America list.
With seven events completed Friday, Washington's men are tied for 25th, earning four points on the strength of a fifth-place finish in the distance medley relay for the team comprised of sophomores Austin Abbott and Carl Moe, junior Ryan Brown and senior Bruce Jackson.
The close finish -- the top five teams were separated by less than three seconds -- reflected a tight and physical race throughout. After Jackson lost time when forced to hurdle a fallen Alabama runner on the second (400-meter) leg, Brown made it up with a brilliant 800-meter leg before handing the stick to Abbott for the mile anchor.
The sophomore, who became UW's third four-minute miler in February, charged to second at a blistering pace behind Arkansas' Said Ahmed before pushing for the win, but found himself out of gas over the final 10 meters, as BYU, Villanova and Georgetown each surged past to leave the UW fifth, in 9:39.96 -- just two seconds back of Arkansas' winning 9:37.02 time.
For Brown and Abbott -- who passed on a chance to run in the mile in order to compete in the relay -- the finish mirrored their performance in 2005, when the two combined with seniors Sean Williams and Andy Fader for an identical fifth-place effort. Brown captured his third-career All-America honor in the race, and will have a shot at a fourth with UW's 4x400-meter relay on Saturday. Abbott's honor was the second of his UW career, while Moe and Jackson each earned their first All-America accolades.
"These guys weren't racing for anything but first place," said fourth-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "Austin got up to second and saw a chance to go for it, and gave it everything he had. You have to admire that confidence and determination. That was a mess out there, with Arkansas setting the pace they did, and guys falling on the track. Our guys stayed focused though and gave everything they had to try and win. I'm really proud of their effort."
Lodree's ninth-place finish in preliminary rounds of the 60-meter hurdles earned the Husky junior her third-career All-America honor, equaling three others for the third-most All-America honors in UW history. The Richmond, Calif., native ran third in her heat in 8.17 seconds, ultimately missing a berth in Friday night's final by just .01 seconds.
Lodree was an All-American indoors and out in the hurdles in 2005, placing 10th in the 60-meter event indoors, and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles outdoors.
"Ashley's a competitor to the end, so I know that she's probably disappointed not to have made the final," Metcalf said. "To be an All-American, though, is a significant accomplishment. Ashley could easily rest on her talent and be a good hurdler, but she wants to put in the work it takes to be great. That's what makes her a special competitor, and why I am so happy to see her succeed."
Sophomore Norris Frederick, meanwhile, earned indoor All-America honors in the long jump for the second-straight year, his 24-foot, 3 3/4-inch leap good for 12th overall in the competition. Having run through the pit on his first preliminary attempt and fouled his second, Frederick stuttered his step at the end of his run to guarantee a legal mark, costing him momentum and leaving him short of the mark needed to qualify for Friday's final.
A graduate of Seattle's Roosevelt High School, Frederick is the only Husky ever to long jump 25 feet and high jump seven feet during their UW career, and has competed at the NCAA Championships in both events during his 14-month collegiate career. Frederick was sixth at the indoor nationals a year ago, and boasts a best of 25-6 1/4 in the event that ranks second all-time at UW only to former American-record holder Phil Shinnick.
"Norris just couldn't quite get his steps right tonight," Metcalf said. "But he's still just a sophomore, and is improving all the time. He's a tremendously talented athlete, and will do great things before his career here is done."
Brown and Jackson will bid for more hardware Saturday with the Huskies' 4x400-meter relay, while vaulters Carly Dockendorf and Stevie Marshalek will try to add to the Huskies' illustrious All-America tradition in the women's pole vault.
For live meet results and start lists for Saturday's events, visit www.ncaasports.com.