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At-Large Selections Add Seven Huskies to NCAA Track Meet
Release: 06/01/2004
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June 1, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Washington freshman Stevie Marshalek, junior Grace Vela and the Huskies' 4x400-meter relay team were each among the at-large qualifiers for the 2004 NCAA Track and Field Championships, as announced Tuesday by the NCAA. Those seven athletes, including a relay alternate, join the three Huskies who earned automatic NCAA berths at last weekend's West Regional Championships to form a contingent of 10 UW athletes who will compete for All-America accolades in Austin, Texas, at the NCAA meet, June 9-12.

At-large invitations were extended to the highest-ranked competitors not to earn automatic bids at last week's Regional competitions. Automatic bids were given at each Regional to the top-five individuals in each event, and the top-three relays, while approximately 6-7 individuals per event, and 3-5 relays, were added Tuesday.

While the 10 athletes who will make the trip to Austin is more than the nine the UW brought to the 2003 NCAA Championships, Washington narrowly missed adding qualifiers in several other events, including four Huskies who earned sixth-place regional finishes, and five whose rankings were just below the at-large cutoffs.

"It says a lot about the overall depth on our team that we could have so many folks just barely miss making the field, yet still be taking 10 to nationals," said second-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "Those folks who are going, though, are all outstanding individuals, and I think they have a great chance to go score us some points."

Joining pole vaulters Kate Soma and Carly Dockendorf -who finished second and third, respectively, at the regional to qualify automatically for the NCAAs - is at-large qualifier Marshalek (Kent, Wash./Kentlake). The Huskies' freshman record holder at 13 feet, 2 1/4 inch, Marshalek will be making her NCAA Championships debut after being the highest-ranked athlete left out of the field for this year's NCAA indoor meet.

Also making her meet debut will be junior Grace Vela (Toronto, Ont./Vaughan), in her first season at Washington since transferring from Chicago's Lewis University. Currently Canada's third-ranked women's heptathlete, Vela will be the first UW heptathlete at the NCAA meet since Sonja Forster in 1992. Vela's season best of 5,225 points earned fourth at this year's Pac-10 meet, and was just 41 points off Forster's UW record.

Rounding out the at-large list is the 4x400-meter relay squad of Cristian Adams (Lakewood, Wash./Lakewood), Phil McCary (Kirkland, Wash./Juanita), Sean Williams (Kirkland, Wash./Lake Washington) and Bruce Jackson (Seattle, Wash./Nathan Hale), plus a relay alternate, likely senior Todd Arnold (Westport, Wash./Ocosta). The homegrown quartet boasts the nation's 15th-fastest time this season at 3:06.41, third-best in UW history.

For a complete list of athletes selected to compete at the 2004 NCAA meet, visit www.ncaasports.com.

Washington's 2004 NCAA Track and Field Championships Participants
Name                     Event            Yr.  Hometown (High School)
Cristian Adams           4x400m Relay     Sr.  Lakewood, Wash. (Lakes)
Carly Dockendorf*        Pole Vault       So.  Port Moody, B.C. (Best Secondary)
Bruce Jackson            4x400m Relay     So.  Seattle, Wash. (Nathan Hale/Eastern Wash.)
Stevie Marshalek         Pole Vault       Fr.  Kent, Wash. (Kentlake)
Phil McCary              4x400m Relay     So.  Kirkland, Wash. (Juanita)
Grace Chenesai Vela      Heptathlon       Jr.  Toronto, Ont. (Vaughan/Lewis Univ.)
Megan Spriestersbach*    Javelin          Sr.  Lakewood, Wash. (Bellarmine Prep)
Sean Williams            4x400m Relay     Jr.  Kirkland, Wash. (Lake Washington)
Kate Soma*               Pole Vault       Jr.  Portland, Ore. (Grant)

* indicates automatic qualifier ^ list does not include relay alternate

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