April 29, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. - Behind senior Shane Charles' meet record in the hurdles and a sweep of the shot put and discus by senior Will Conwell, Washington's men defeated Washington State, 112-91, Saturday at the Mooberry Track Complex in Pullman. The Huskies' women were equally outstanding -- setting school and stadium records -- but were defeated 111.5-91.5 by their cross-state rivals.
Saturday's win -- UW's first in Pullman since 2000, and just its fifth at WSU since World War II -- was also its second-straight in the series, including a 110.5-92.5 victory at Husky Stadium last year. That marks Washington's first back-to-back series wins since 1999-2000, and equals UW's longest series winning streak since reeling off 11 straight from 1915-32.
"Our men's team is really firing on all cylinders right now," said fourth-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "It seems like they get especially fired up whenever's there's points at stake. I don't know that I've ever been around a team with a stronger desire to win. It's fun to watch, and is going to make for a great time at the Pac-10 meet in two weeks."
Washington built its win on the strength of 12 victories in 19 events, including Conwell's sweep and a 7.5-point performance by sophomore Norris Frederick, who won the long jump and tied teammate Warren Eickhoff for high jump honors.
Most impressive, though, was Charles' win in the 400-meter hurdles, an event in which he ranks second in the nation in 2006. Not even a meet-record performance by WSU's John Casselman could deter the Husky senior, who crossed the line first in 50.18 seconds, one-tenth ahead of Casselman and well below Charles' own meet record of 50.76 seconds set in 2005.
"Shane's only thinking about one thing when he races -- getting to the finish line first," Metcalf says. "He was a bit more challenged today than maybe he's been at some of our other meets this year, but no matter how fast that WSU kid ran, Shane ran that much faster. [UW sprints] coach [LaMonte] Vaughn coaches his athletes not to run for times, but to run to win, and that the times will take of themselves. Shane's results week-in and week-out are a true testimony to that philosophy."
Vaughn's philosophy was demonstrated equally well on the women's side, where junior Ashley Lodree set meet and stadium records with a winning time of 13.25 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles. Lodree also won the 100-meter dash, in 11.76 seconds, and anchored UW's 4x100-meter relay team to second place, ultimately scoring 10.75 of UW's 91.5 points -- or 12 percent of the UW total -- on her own.
Equally impressive was senior Lauran Dignam, whose second-place time of 54.31 seconds in the 400-meter dash broke by one-tenth the Washington school record she set on this same track two years ago.
Dignam's mark, furthermore, was an NCAA Regional qualifier, one of six such marks achieved by Husky athletes Saturday. New qualifiers included red shirt freshman Sheree Ellis in the shot put (46-11 ¾) and senior Phil McCary in the 400-meter hurdles (52.47), as well as the UW's 4x100-meter relay squad of Charles, Jordan Boase, Alex Harcourt and Isaiah Stan back (40.07).
Ellis and the relay cracked UW's all-time top-10 at 10th and seventh, respectively, while Boase ran the UW's ninth-fastest 200 of all-time (21.26) and Arlecier West climbed to seventh on UW's hammer throw list (153-5).
The story of the day, though, was the Washington mens' victory, and the momentum it gives the team heading into the Pac-10 Championships in two weeks' time.
"When I meet with the team for the first time each year, in September, we talk about what it's going to take to win the Pac-10 Conference," Metcalf says. "As I look around this track today -- at guys like Will Conwell, Norris Frederick, Shane Charles, and Austin Abbott winning their events, and other guys like Phil McCary and Jordan Boase throwing up big PRs to score us some points -- I see a team that is taking that plan and putting it into action. This conference is loaded with some of the best teams in the country, but this is a team that right now believes it's one of the best, too, and they're proving it every week."
With the conference championships still two weekends away, Washington will return home for the third-annual Ken Shannon Invitational at Husky Stadium next Saturday, to be followed by the annual Washington Track and Field Alumni Banquet. This year's banquet will honor the 30th anniversary of the "Fab Four" -- Scott Neilson, Borys Chambul, Rod Ewaliko and Russ Vincent -- and their sweep of the throwing events at the 1976 Pac-10 Championships. For more information, visit the track and field homepage at www.gohuskies.com.