March 2, 2002
SEATTLE, Wash. -
Washington sophomore Eric Garner today toppled a 28-year old indoor school record by posting the first sub-four minute mile ever run in the history of the state of Washington. Garner's time of 3 minutes, 58.94 seconds won the event earned the Kelso, Wash., native an automatic bid to next weekend's NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., and moved him into the top-three in the national rankings.
Trailing four runners with 200 meters remaining in the race, Garner accelerated down the backstretch, finally passing leader Donald Sage of Stanford, a three-time All-American, with 80 meters to go. Sage followed Garner in 3:59.49, two of four competitors to run under four minutes in the event. Garner, who set Washington indoor 3,000-meter record earlier this season, broke the school record held for 28 years by Greg Gibson, who ran 3:59.1 in San Diego in 1974.
The women's mile, won by world-ranked competitor Diane Cummins in 4:42.42, set the stage for the second school record of the day. Husky junior Courtney Inman, an 800-meter specialist, took third in the event in 4:45.40, a time more than five seconds better than the previous indoor record of 4:50.65 set by Margaret Butler in 2000.
In addition to Garner and Inman, 45 other athletes bettered the NCAA's qualifying standards at the meet, including Husky pole vaulters Sandy Erickson and Kate Soma, and distance runners Mike Hill (5,000m), Dustin Duke (3,000m) Lisa Gibbs (5,000m) and Sabrina Monro (3,000m).
The final field for the 2002 NCAA Indoor Championships will be announced Sunday afternoon.