March 24, 2007
SEATTLE - Washington's track and field teams added 13 NCAA Regional qualifiers and put five athletes on its all-time top-10 list Saturday, as split-squad action at Arizona State and Auburn Universities represented the first significant weekend of the 2007 outdoor track and field schedule.
Washington's throwers were in top form at Auburn's Springtime Invitational, with sophomore Mart Israel making his Husky debut with a sweep of shot put and discus titles. Israel's respective winning marks of 56 feet, 9 ¼ inches and 200-0 each bettered NCAA Regional qualifying standards, while his mark in the latter represented the sixth-best mark ever by a UW thrower.
Israel led a 1-2-3 finish for Washington men in the shot put, with football players Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (56-4 ½) and Cameron Elisara (55-2) each posting NCAA Regional qualifying marks as well. Sophomore Kaisa Keranen, meanwhile, added a regional mark in the javelin, her throw of 143-8 representing a 21-foot personal best in the event, and ranking fourth in UW history.
"We only sent seven athletes down to Auburn, and they're coming back with five regional marks, so that's a pretty efficient performance," said fifth-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "It's especially great to have Mart out there in uniform. He's as physically talented as any thrower we've had in my time here, and is in for a terrific season."
While the throwers competed in Auburn, the remainder of the Huskies' track and field teams traveled to Arizona State for the Sun Devils' annual Clif Bar Invitational.
Eight Huskies earned regional marks at ASU, led by a history-making double for sophomore Dani Schuster and junior Amy Lia. The half-mile tandem each clocked times among UW's top-10 all-time in the 800 meters, with Schuster's 2:07.39 ranking sixth all-time and Lia's 2:07.48 ranking seventh.
The 2006 NCAA 1,500-meter champion, Lia was making her 2007 outdoor debut after remaining out of competition for much of the indoor campaign.
"Dani and Amy are on top of their game right now, and it's not even April yet," Metcalf said. "There's still a lot of season to go, so we don't want to push them too much, too soon, but it's great to see them at this level so early in the year."
Washington also earned a top-10 all-time performance from its 4x400-meter relay squad of Jeff Gudaitis, James Frederickson, Ryan Brown and Alex Harcourt. The quartet's regional-qualifying time of 3:08.39 was good for first place in the outstanding collegiate field, and was the 10th-fastest time in UW history.
Junior Austin Abbott, the fourth-place finisher in the 800 meters at this month's NCAA Indoor Championships, won his outdoor season-debut in the event with a regional-qualifying time of 1:49.31, while freshman All-American Scott Roth set a facility record in the pole vault with his own regional-qualifying effort of 17-2 ¾.
Washington will travel to the year's first large invitational meet of the 2007 season next weekend, when it joins thousands of college, professional and prep athletes at Stanford for the annual Stanford Invitational. For more information on Washington track and field, visit www.GoHuskies.com.