March 6, 2004
SEATTLE - Washington freshman Ashley Lodree crushed the Huskies' sprint hurdles record, and five athletes recorded marks among the world's 10 best this year as the nation's best brought the 2004 indoor track and field regular season to a close with the UW Last Chance Qualifier at Dempsey Indoor.
Nine athletes recorded NCAA automatic qualifying marks and 46 more notched provisional qualifiers at the meet, designed to give the nation's top collegiate athletes a final chance to improve their marks before the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Friday and Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark. At least five Huskies are expected to among the final declared fields for the national meet, which will be announced Monday evening.
One of those is likely to be Lodree, the Husky freshman from Richmond, Calif., who entered Saturday's meet ranked 17th in the nation in the 60-meter hurdles. Needing to lower her UW freshman-record best of 8.28 seconds by at least .08 to put herself in a position to make the NCAA meet, Lodree blew across the hurdles in a stunning 8.19 seconds, eighth-fastest in the nation this year and two-hundredths of a second faster than the UW record of 8.21 set by Claudine Robinson in 1994.
"Man, what a great race for Ashley," said second-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "She knew what she needed to get done today and she did it. That kid is a competitor."
Lodree wasn't the only Husky freshman "getting it done," as pole vaulter Stevie Marshalek (Kentridge HS) soared a provisional-qualifying mark of 13 feet, 3 inches, second-best ever at Washington and tops by a freshman.
The outstanding duo, however, couldn't top the performances by the men's runners in the 5,000 meters, a race which produced three of the 10-fastest marks in the world this year, the top mark by an American in 2004, and six NCAA-qualifying peformances. Nike's Mike Donnelly charged to the lead in the 2004 U.S. indoor rankings with a winning time of 13:47.40, seventh-fastest on the current IAAF World Rankings. Oregon's Ryan Andrus (13:51.00) and Montana's Antony Ford (13:52.95) also cracked the top-10 of the world rankings, while Huskies Andy Fader (14:10.81) and John Hickey (14:11.39) climbed to second and third, respectively, in school history.
As always at Dempsey Indoor, the mile proved to be an event to watch as well, with Northern Arizona's Johanna Nilsson outleaning UCLA's Lena Nilsson (no relation) for the win in 4:36.71. Both recorded NCAA automatic-qualifying times, and each climbed into the top-11 of the 2004 world rankings.
The meet also marked the final Dempsey Indoor appearance for several of Washington's top stars, including All-Americans Brad Walker and Eric Garner. The fifth-ranked American pole vaulter, Walker left Dempsey Indoor with a win, clearing 18-2 1/2 just one week after taking fourth at the USA Indoor Championships. Garner, meanwhile, joined fellow senior John Russell and teammates Sean Williams and Carl Moe to clock a 9:35.35 in the distance medley relay, missing an NCAA automatic qualifier by just 35 hundredths of a second.
Walker will seek to defend his 2003 NCAA indoor pole vault title next weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas' Randall Tyson Track Center. The senior will be joined by several of his teammates, the exact number of which will be determined when the NCAA announces its final championship meet selections on Monday.