Feb. 24, 2004
On the Track: The best of the Pac-10 and Big West Conferences will be on display at Dempsey Indoor this week as Washington plays host to the 2004 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track and Field Championships. Admission is free to the three-day meet, which begins with multi-events Thursday, followed by full days of action on Friday and Saturday. The eighth-ranked UCLA men and ninth-ranked Stanford women will be seeking to defend their 2003 conference titles, but will face stiff challenges from Oregon, Washington State, Arizona, Cal, Cal State Northridge and the host Huskies. Twenty-one athletes currently ranked among the top-10 Americans in their respective events will put their talents on display at the meet, including two U.S. leaders. Field events begin Friday at 12:00 p.m., and Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Events on the track commence at 2:00 p.m. Friday, and 11:00 a.m. Saturday. The best time to come? Between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, fans can catch finals of the mile, 60-meter dash, 60-meter hurdles, 400 meters, 800 meters, women's pole vault and men's triple jump.
Walker Watch: One athlete who will not compete this week at Dempsey Indoor is Washington senior pole vaulter Brad Walker, who will instead head to Boise to challenge America's best at the 2004 U.S. Indoor Championships. Walker, currently tied for fifth among U.S. vaulters this year, is scheduled to vault Saturday at 11:45 a.m. PST.
Event Schedule: Following is a complete schedule of events for the 2004 MPSF Championships. All times below are Pacific. Events are finals unless otherwise indicated.
Thursday, Feb. 26
3:00 p.m. -- 60m Dash, Pentathlon (W)
3:45 p.m. -- High Jump, Pentathlon (W)
4:00 p.m. -- 60m Dash, Heptathlon (M)
4:45 p.m. -- Long Jump, Heptathlon (M)
5:15 p.m. -- Shot Put, Pentathlon (W)
5:45 p.m. -- Shot Put, Heptathlon (M)
6:15 p.m. -- Long Jump, Pentathlon (W)
6:45 p.m. -- High Jump, Heptathlon (M)
7:15 p.m. -- 800m Run, Pentathlon (W)
Friday, Feb. 27
10:00 a.m. -- 60m Hurdles, Heptathlon (M)
10:45 a.m. -- Pole Vault, Heptathlon (M)
12:00 p.m. -- 20-lb Weight Throw (W)
12:00 p.m. -- High Jump (W)
12:45 p.m. -- 1000m Run, Heptathlon (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Long Jump (M)
2:00 p.m. -- 60m HH Prelims (W)
2:20 p.m. -- 60m HH Prelims (M)
2:30 p.m. -- 60m Dash Prelims (W)
2:45 p.m. -- 60m Dash Prelims (M)
3:00 p.m. -- High Jump (M)
3:00 p.m. -- Shot Put (M)
3:00 p.m. -- 3000m Run (W)
3:15 p.m. -- 3000m Run (M)
3:30 p.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
3:30 p.m. -- Mile Run Prelims (W)
3:45 p.m. -- Mile Run Prelims (M)
4:00 p.m. -- 400m Dash Prelims (W)
4:15 p.m. -- 400m Dash Prelims (M)
4:30 p.m. -- Long Jump (W)
4:30 p.m. -- 800m Run Prelims (W)
4:45 p.m. -- 800m Run Prelims (M)
5:00 p.m. -- 200m Dash Prelims (W)
5:15 p.m. -- 200m Dash Prelims (M)
Saturday, Feb. 28
10:00 a.m. -- 35-lb Weight Throw (M)
10:00 a.m. -- Triple Jump (W)
11:00 a.m. -- 5000m Run (W)
11:25 a.m. -- Mile Run Final (W)
11:35 a.m. -- Mile Run Final (M)
11:50 a.m. -- 60m HH Final (W)
12:00 p.m. -- 60m HH Final (M)
12:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault Final (W)
12:05 p.m. -- 60m Dash Final (W)
12:10 p.m. -- 60m Dash Final (M)
12:20 p.m. -- 400m Dash Final (W)
12:30 p.m. -- 400m Dash Final (M)
12:30 p.m. -- Triple Jump (M)
12:45 p.m. -- 800m Run Final (W)
12:55 p.m. -- 800m Run Final (M)
1:00 p.m. -- Shot Put (W)
1:05 p.m. -- 200m Dash Final (W)
1:15 p.m. -- 200m Dash Final (M)
1:25 p.m. -- 5000m Final (M)
1:45 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (W)
1:55 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (M)
2:05 p.m. -- DMR (W)
2:20 p.m. -- DMR (M)
Meet Results: Final results will be faxed to all local media and participating schools roughly 30 minutes following the conclusion of the meet, and will be posted to the official site of Husky athletics, www.gohuskies.com, within an hour. Any coach or SID wishing to have results e-mailed should send a request to Brian Beaky in the UW Sports Information office, at the e-mail address below.
Huskies' MPSF History: Washington will compete this week in the MPSF Championships for the first time since 2001, when then-sophomore pole vaulter Brad Walker and three other Husky men combined for five conference titles, lifting the team to a UW-record 104 points and third-place MPSF finish. The Husky women placed sixth at the 2001 meet, but are the only UW team ever to have won an MPSF crown, having done so in 1991. In all, UW athletes combined for 18 MPSF titles from 1993-2001, including six by 2000 Olympian Ja'Warren Hooker. Pac-10 schools have dominated the meet, sweeping the men's and women's crowns since 1998.
MPSF Mayhem: The stars will be out at this week's 2004 MPSF Championships at Dempsey Indoor. Excitement for the meet - featuring, among others, Stanford, Washington State, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona and Cal - is at a fever pitch, and Husky athletes have racked up 75 qualifying marks. See the box on page six of this release for a complete listing of UW's MPSF Championships qualifiers, along with their conference rankings entering the meet.
Rankings Report: Washington's men clawed back into the Trackwire 25 this week, their eight points equaling seven other teams for 23rd. Defending NCAA champion Arkansas remained atop the poll - which predicts team scoring at the NCAA Championships - for the seventh-straight week with 76 points, while Florida took top men's honors in the U.S. Track Coaches' Association Dual Meet Power Rankings. The UW men were ranked 35th by the USTCA, which simulates a massive dual meet between the nation's elite collegiate squads, with a score of 224.41. For the women, Nebraska held onto top honors in the USTCA rankings, while LSU held off the hard-charging Cornhuskers for No. 1 in Trackwire's poll. The UW women fell one spots to 23rd in the USTCA rankings, and received three points from Trackwire, five short of the eight scored by the three teams sharing 23rd place.
Just Dandy, Thank You: The Huskies received five mentions in this week's Trackwire Dandy Dozen, which predicts the order of finish in each event at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships. Husky senior Brad Walker, the defending NCAA indoor champion in the pole vault, was ranked second nationally by Trackwire, while the Huskies' record-setting distance medley relay squad of John Russell, Sean Willams, Todd Arnold and Carl Moe earned a No. 10 Trackwire ranking. Freshman hurdler Ashley Lodree is slotted 10th in the 60-meter hurdles, while junior All-American Kate Soma climbed two spots to sixth in the pole vault. Rounding out the Trackwire rankings was Washington's women's DMR squad of Amy Lia, Cambrielle Jensen, Ingvill Makestad and Lindsey Egerdahl, which merited a No. 11 national ranking.
Monster PR of the Week: At the Feb. 14 Pac-10 Invitational, sophomore Phil McCary stormed to the UW lead in the 400 meters with an MPSF-qualifying mark of 48.35 seconds that was nearly a full second faster than his previous career best. In addition to his success at 400 meters this season, the Juanita High School graduate has run a leg of the UW's top-two 4x400-meter relay squads, each of which rank among the 10-fastest indoors in Washington history.
World Marks Light Up Dempsey Indoor: The 2004 season has been an exciting one at Dempsey Indoor, which in addition to witnessing 16 facility records and hundreds of NCAA qualifiers, has played host to some of the top marks in the world. A quick glance at the 2004 IAAF World Rankings reveals numerous marks set at Dempsey Indoor, including a world-leading clearance in the pole vault of 19-0 3/4 by former Pac-10 record holder Toby Stevenson on Jan. 31, and 3,000-meter performances by post-collegian Malindi Elmore and 2000 Olympian Bolota Asmeron. Track and Field News' American rankings are also littered with "Seattle" bests, including U.S.-leading performances by Stanford stars Alicia Craig and Ian Dobson at 5,000 meters, and by Nike's Grace Upshaw in the long jump. In all, one world-leading mark and more than a dozen top-10 U.S. marks have been set at the Huskies' three indoor meets this season.
Ridiculous Records: The official 2004 University of Washington track and field media guide came out earlier this month, and already the Huskies' athletes have rendered its indoor records section virtually useless. At the Feb. 14 Pac-10 Invitational, Washington athletes posted 11 marks among the UW's top-10 all-time, bringing to 29 the total number of new top-10 marks set over the first month of the season. Included among the marks are school records by pole vaulter Kate Soma, and by both of Washington's distance medley relay squads, with the women's squad of Ingvill Makestad, Cambrielle Jensen, Amy Lia and Lindsey Egerdahl shaving a stunning 12 seconds off the previous UW benchmark. Egerdahl has been the biggest thorn in the side of the Huskies' record keepers this season, clocking top-10 all-time marks in three events, including the second-fastest mile and fourth-fastest 3,000-meter marks, in addition to the DMR record. Also responsible for three such changes has been freshman Carl Moe, who has cracked the UW top-10 in every race of his young collegiate career, including the third-best mark at 3,000 meters, the eighth-fastest mile, and a leg of the record-setting men's DMR. The records have already required significant revision, with Husky athletes having posted 10 school records and 43 marks among the top-10 in UW history over the past two seasons. For a complete list of the top-10 indoor marks set by UW athletes in 2004, see the box on page five.
Walker Takes An Encore: A broken hand in May ended the 2003 season for Husky senior Brad Walker, but has played a large role in bringing the three-time All-American back this season. Though Walker has exhausted his four years of outdoor eligibility, he has competed just three seasons indoors, having redshirted the 2002 indoor season due to injury. By utilizing the remaining season, Walker can continue to train with his UW coaches in preparation for July's U.S. Olympic Trials, while simultaneously defending his 2003 NCAA indoor pole vault crown. Walker will compete for Washington through the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships, Mar. 12-13, before launching his professional career in the spring.
World-Class Walker: Senior pole vaulter Brad Walker, currently tied for fifth among American vaulters in the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Rankings with a season-best of 18-4 1/2, has become a fixture on lists of America's top vaulters. Walker's rise began in earnest in June of 2002, when the Spokane, Wash., native cleared 18-6 in a sixth-place finish at the U.S. Senior Nationals. After his performance at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, however, one had to go beyond the collegiate ranks to find anyone of Walker's caliber. Walker's clearance of 19-0 1/4 at the NCAAs was better than all but two indoor marks in the world in 2003, and equaled the winning mark at the 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Walker, who won the NCAA title by nearly nine inches, finished the indoor season tied for third in the world with American Derek Miles and Romain Mesnil of France, and tied Miles for the U.S. best. Even with the handicap of having not competed at any of the major national or international meets during the summer and fall, Walker still finished among the top-12 vaulters in the final 2003 IAAF World Rankings. Walker crushed his own UW record by more than six inches, and became the first Pac-10 vaulter ever to clear the 19-foot mark, shattering by three inches the Pac-10 record of 18-9 1/4 set by Stanford's Toby Stevenson.
Final 2003 IAAF World Indoor Rankings
Name, Country, Mark
1. Tim Lobinger, Germany, 19-1
2. Adam Ptacek, Czech Republic, 19-0 3/4
3. Brad Walker, United States, 19-0 1/4
3. Derek Miles, United States, 19-0 1/4
3. Romain Mesnil, France, 19-0 1/4
6. Oleksandr Korchmid, Ukraine, 18-10 1/4
6. Michael Stolle, Germany, 18-10 1/4
8. Jeff Hartwig, United States, 18-9 1/2
8. Lars Borgeling, Germany, 18-9 1/2
8. Rens Blom, Netherlands, 18-9 1/2
8. Vasily Gorshkov, Russia, 18-9 1/2
8. Richard Spiegelburg, Germany, 18-9 1/2
All-Time Collegiate Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Lawrence Johnson, Tennessee, 1996, 19-7 1/2
2. Istvan Bagyula, George Mason, 1991, 19-5
3. Jacob Davis, Texas, 1998, 19-4 1/4
4. Bill Payne, Baylor, 1991, 19-2 3/4
5. Joe Dial, Oklahoma State, 1985, 19-2 1/4
6. Brad Walker, Washington, 2003, 19-0 1/4
6. Russ Buller, Louisiana State, 1999, 19-0 1/4
6. Jim Davis, Fresno State, 2000, 19-0 1/4
9. Doug Fraley, Fresno State, 1986, 18-11
10. Jeff Buckingham, Kansas, 1983, 18-10 1/2
Walker's Steady Climb: Walker initially enrolled at Washington as a non-scholarship athlete who never cleared 17 feet at University High School in Spokane, Wash. He blossomed during his sophomore season, improving by more than a foot en route to an All-American indoor campaign. An undiagnosed foot injury hampered Walker outdoors, but he still finished 12th at the NCAA Championships before undergoing surgery. After redshirting the 2002 indoor season, Walker posted one of the top outdoor seasons in UW history, shattering the UW pole vault record and earning Washington's first Pac-10 pole vault title in 30 years. A second-place finish at the NCAA Championships and the sixth-place finish at the USA Senior Nationals followed. In 2003, Walker upped the school record again, to 19-0 1/4 with his performance at the NCAA Indoor meet, broke his own outdoor record in his first competition, and won his second-straight Pac-10 title.
Trend-Breakers: Washington's men's distance medley relay squad of John Russell, Sean Williams, Todd Arnold and Carl Moe, are currently ranked 10th in the nation this season with a school-record mark of 9:38.09. Should the foursome manage to place eighth or higher at the NCAA Championships occur, the foursome would be the first UW distance medley relay ever to earn All-America honors, and would enter an elite class of UW men's relays. No Husky relay has ever performed better at the national meet than the men's mile relay of Keith Tinner, Jerry Belur, Pablo Franco and Billy Hicks, which earned a national title in 1975. Since then, two UW relays have earned All-America acclaim, including the men's 4x400-meter relays in 1990 and 1998, the latter being the only relay to do so indoors. Only one women's relay has ever been named All-American, with the two-mile team of Sandra Gregg, Anne Phillips, Susan Gregg and Dana Arnim placing third outdoors in 1980. Arnold, Russell and Moe, however, are old pros at bucking trends - this fall, the threesome combined to lead the UW cross country team to the NCAA Championships, in the process snapping UW's 11-year NCAA drought.
Moe Is Money: If there's one thing Husky track and field fans can bank on so far this season, it's big-time performances by freshman Carl Moe. The middle-distance star has run just four times in 2004, but each has gone down in the history books as one of Washington's fastest all-time. The Auburn, Wash., native made his Husky debut with a time of 4:07.15 in the mile, eighth-fastest ever at Washington and tops by a UW freshman. On Friday, Feb. 6, however, Moe turned up the jets, clocking a timed four-minute mile to run down UCLA's Jon Rankin and lead UW across the finish line first in the distance medley relay, the UW school record and NCAA provisional qualifying standard left tattered in his wake. The DMR's time of 9:38.09 is fourth-fastest in the nation this year, and would have placed eighth at last year's NCAA meet. Moe saved his best individual effort for the 3,000 meters the following day, however, crossing the line in a UW freshman-record 8:02.82 to earn his second NCAA provisional mark in just three collegiate races. Moe's success is an extension of an outstanding senior season at Auburn-Riverside High School, during which he earned the state's 4A cross country title and swept crowns at 1,600- and 3,200 meters, ranking third among U.S. preps in the latter. In fact, only a third-place finish in the state 800-meter final prevented Moe from completing an undefeated senior season.
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight...: Junior pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0", but the Portland, Ore., native towers over UW female vaulters past and present. At the Feb. 14 Pac-10 Invitational, Soma soared to new heights, clearing 13-5 3/4 to break her own UW indoor record and climb into a tie for fifth in the national rankings. Soma is one of just two Husky women ever to clear 13 feet in the vault, and is the only Husky female ever to have done so both indoors and out. In fact, only seven UW women have ever cleared 12 feet in the event, a feat Soma has accomplished in 30 of her 35-career pole vault finishes, including the 2003 NCAA Championships. Soma earned her first-career All-America honor by placing seventh at last year's outdoor meet with a mark of 13-5 1/2, and might have gone higher if not for a broken pole that lacerated her right hand on her third attempt at 13-10. The meet marked the third NCAA appearance for Soma, who was the 12th-place finisher at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, and 16th-place finisher outdoors in 2002. Soma vaulted herself in the Pac-10's all-time elite at last year's NCAA West Regional Championships, clearing 13 feet, 10 inches to break her own Washington outdoor record by more than eight inches and climb to eighth in Pac-10 history. The sixth-place finisher at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, Soma was bested at the Regional only by Oregon's Becky Holliday, who set a collegiate outdoor record of 14-8 in her Regional win. Soma's has broken UW's indoor and outdoor records in all five of her collegiate "seasons," including three indoor and two outdoor seasons, a tradition she began as a freshman by setting UW benchmarks of 13-1 1/2 outdoors, and 12-11 1/2 indoors. Soma entered Washington with a best of 12-0 at Grant High School, but improved that mark by more than a foot in 2002.
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4
2. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
2. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 14-8
4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2003, 14-3 1/4
6. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
6. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
8. Kate Soma, Washington, 2003, 13-10
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
10. Erica Hoerning, UCLA, 2001, 13-7
The 'Lo' Down: When they set themselves in the blocks for the finals of the 60-meter hurdles at the Feb. 7 United Heritage Invitational, it's doubtful that any of the nationally-ranked competitors lined up next to Ashley Lodree gave the Husky freshman a second glance. Lodree gave them plenty to look at over the next 8.33 seconds, however, winning the final with a time that was second-fastest in UW history. In the final, Lodree toppled not only the defending NCAA 400-meter champion, Sheena Johnson of UCLA, but also Bruins' All-American Sani Roseby and two of the top sprint hurdlers in the current national rankings. Lodree has since lowered her hurdles best to 8.28 seconds, in the process becoming the first UW sprint hurdler to qualify for an NCAA meet since Claudine Robinson in 1994, who set the UW record with a mark of 8.21 seconds (converted from 55 meters). Lodree, however, isn't one to be fazed by national acclaim. Last year, the Richmond, Calif., native ranked among the top-five preps nationally in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, and placed third in the former at the U.S. Jr. Nationals. Lodree has proven equally prolific at Washington, lowering the UW's freshman record in the 60-meter hurdles four times in 2004. Ranked 10th nationally in the hurdles by Trackwire, Lodree also boasts a Pac-10 qualifying mark of 19-0 1/2 in the long jump.
Garnering Acclaim: When hunting for breaking news, it can be easy to overlook those for whom success is routine. Eric Garner has been so successful over the past two years - both in track and field and cross country - that his impressive results are too often taken for granted. All the senior has done is ensure that his name will come up in any future discussion of Washington's legendary distance-running tradition. A graduate of Kelso (Wash.) High School, Garner burst onto the scene in 2002 with a school-record 3:58.93 mile at Dempsey Indoor, the first four-minute ever by a Husky on Washington soil. Garner earned All-America honors with a 13th-place finish in the mile that season at the NCAA Indoor meet, and returned in 2003 to become the UW's most prolific postseason qualifier, boasting NCAA Regional marks at 800-, 1,500-, and 5,000 meters. Garner placed third in the 1,500 meters at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, and earned an NCAA berth with a fourth-place finish in the event at the Regional. With one full track season remaining, Garner already owns the all-time UW indoor marks in the mile, ranks second in the indoor 3,000 meters and distance medley relay, and is sixth all-time indoors at 800 meters, and outdoors at 1,500 meters. At the Feb. 14 Pac-10 Invitational, Garner cruised to an NCAA qualifying mark of 4:03.80 in the mile, and clocked a 1:51.91 in his first collegiate indoor mile, the sixth-fastest in UW history. Additionally, he has led Washington's cross country runners at all but one varsity meet over the previous two seasons, and in 2003 led the UW men back to the NCAA meet for the first time since 1993.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: Washington has had plenty of two-sport athletes over the years, but few, if any, have attempted to compete in two sports in one season. That's the feat being accomplished by gymnast/pole vaulter extraordinaire Carly Dockendorf, who this month entered an even more select group by competing in two different sports on the same weekend -- on the road. With both teams in Boise, Dockendorf found time to win the all-around competition for the Husky gymnasts Friday night, then place fourth in the pole vault on Saturday morning at the United Heritage Invitational. Two-sport excellence is nothing new for Dockendorf - in 2003, the Port Moody, B.C., native set a UW gym record with three perfect 10s while pole vaulting her way to second all-time at Washington, and ninth in Canadian history. A redshirt freshman in 2003, Dockendorf improved weekly, culminating with an eighth-place finish at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, in 12-11 1/2, the second-best outdoor mark in UW history. The weekend of Mar. 1, 2003, though, may have marked the most impressive display of Dockendorf's athletic ability. On Friday, Feb. 28, the redshirt freshman scored a perfect 10 on the floor exercise to lead UW to a dual-meet win, then turned around barely 12 hours later and soared 12-0 in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Invitational, among the best marks ever at UW. During the 2003 season, she established herself as one of Washington's top gymnasts, earning All-America honors and sharing the conference crown in the floor exercise with a perfect 10 at the Pac-10 Championships. A provincial pole vault champion as a prep, Dockendorf's vault best of 12-11 1/2 tied for fourth by a Canadian woman in 2003, and equals the ninth-best mark in Canadian history.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Stephanie McCann, 2002, 14-3 1/4
2. Dana Ellis, 2003, 14-1 1/4
3. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 3/4
4. Kelsie Hendry, 2003, 13-8 1/4
5. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
6. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
7. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
8. Adrienne Vangool, 2003, 13-1 3/4
9. Carly Dockendorf, 2003, 12-11 1/2
9. Rebecca Chambers, 1999, 12-11 1/2
9. Melissa Feinstein, 2000, 12-11 1/2
Leading From the Front: With no seniors on Washington's women's cross country squad in 2003, head coach Greg Metcalf challenged junior Lindsey Egerdahl to be the team's competitive leader. The Auburn, Wash., native did not back down, leading a UW women's team that included four freshmen to its seventh-straight NCAA Championships, the seventh-longest active streak in the nation. After leading all UW finishers in the team's 19th-place finish at the NCAA meet, Egerdahl has carried her success onto the track, where she is one of just two Huskies, along with freshman Carl Moe, qualified for NCAA Championships competition in more than one event. Egerdahl has made a steady climb up UW's all-time mile rankings this season, peaking with a 4:47.82 performance on Feb. 14 that ranks second in Washington history. Egerdahl is also qualified for NCAA Championships competition as a member of the Huskies' school-record setting distance medley relay squad that ranks 14th in the nation, and boasts a season-best 3,000-meter mark of 9:35.08 that is just .08 shy of the NCAA standard. Since arriving at Washington in 2001, Egerdahl has soared up the UW rankings, with a best mark of 4:23.87 for 1,500 meters that is the ninth-fastest ever by a Husky woman.When she returns to the track in the spring, Egerdahl will be seeking to improve upon a seventh-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the Pac-10 Championships, and sixth-place finish in the event at the NCAA Regional.
The Kids Are Alright: To the surprise of none, a freshman class featuring five prep All-Americans has already made its presence known, and is beginning to turn heads nationwide. Pole vaulter Stevie Marshalek became just the second UW woman to clear 13 feet with a mark of 13-1 1/2, while freshman Ashley Lodree eclipsed UW's freshman record in the 60-meter hurdles with an NCAA provisional-qualifying best of 8.28 seconds, and qualified for Pac-10 competition in the long jump. Freshman records have also fallen to Amy Lia in the 800 meters (2:11.41) and mile (4:50.51) and to Carl Moe in the 3,000 meters (8:02.82), the latter an NCAA provisional qualifier. In addition to the record-setters, freshmen Doug Blaty (LJ) and Carin Trygg (WT), and first-year transfers Joe Gatewood (SP, WT), Davaon Spence (60m dash, 200m), and Grace Vela (LJ) all boast team-leading marks in their events.
Jamaican Sensations: Don't blame second-year sprints/hurdles coach Dion Miller for catching a bit of island fever - the island nation of Jamaica is producing some impressive track talent. Washington's 2004 roster includes two athletes from the Caribbean nation, juniors Patrick Davidson and Davaon Spence. The two grew up friends at St. Jago HS in Kingston, Jamaica, and competed together on 4x100m and 4x400m relay squads that swept Jamaican national titles in 2003. After splitting up to attend junior colleges in the U.S., the two long-time friends have reunited at Washington this season, providing the Huskies a pair of top-flight sprinters to anchor a rapidly-improving unit. Davidson's career-best marks of 10.50 for 100m and 21.50 for 200m would each have scored at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, while Spence adds big-meet experience gained from years of competition at the World Youth Championships. The two could bring Washington its most exciting presence in the sprints since the graduation of 10-time All-American Ja'Warren Hooker in 2001, and add dangerous sprint talent to a men's squad already strong in the distances and field events.
Scandinavian Invasion: Jamaica may be the place to go for untapped sprint talent, but Norway is where it's at if you need a distance runner. If you happened to be at the Norweigian Track and Field Championships this summer, you may recognize some of the new faces on the Husky roster. Washington boasts the odd coincidence of having both of Norway's reigning 800-meter champions competing in purple and gold this season, including women's champ Ingvill Makestad and men's champ Stig Ellingson. Makestad, a junior, followed up her 800-meter national title this summer with a fourth-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the Under-23 European Championships in Poland, clocking a career-best time of 4:13.58. Both Makestad and Ellingson, a native of Tromso, have competed for several years on the European amateur circuit. Already this season, Makestad's influence has been felt, having led the Husky women to a school-record and NCAA provisional mark in the distance medley relay at the Jan. 31 Husky Invitational. Makestad was also outsanding in competition for Washington's cross country squad in the fall, taking ninth at the Pac-10 Championships and fifth at the NCAA West Regional, tops among UW runners at both events. Ironically, at the West Regional in Portland, Makestad placed just a split-second ahead of USC's Iryna Vaschuk, the same athlete who finished behind Makestad in this year's Norweigian 800-meter final.
Arnold Steps Up: To say that junior Todd Arnold went from not qualifying for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships to instead qualifying for the NCAA Championships is remarkable, but does not tell the whole story. Needing a mark of 1:51.44 to qualify for the postseason at 800 meters, the Westport, Wash., native lowered his half-mile best consistently all season, from 1:56 to 1:52 and 1:51.68. Amazingly, Arnold was able to lower his mark yet again, to 1:51.50 at the season-ending Ken Foreman Invitational, but was still unable to crack the Pac-10 standard. Recognizing his consistent improvement, head coach Greg Metcalf designated Arnold one of two "wildcard" selections for the Pac-10 meet, given to each team to bring athletes who did not otherwise qualify. Arnold rewarded his coach's faith with a personal-best in the 800-meter prelim, clocking 1:50.00 to not only earn a spot in the finals, but also a berth at the 2003 NCAA West Regional. A seventh-place finish in the Pac-10 final could have been a well-deserved reward for Arnold's determination, but the junior had bigger plans. Seeded 10th overall in the event at the Regional, Arnold qualified for the final but was shuffled back of the pack after starting in the outside lane. As was the case all season, however, Arnold refused to give up, charging to fourth on the backstretch and holding on for the automatic NCAA berth. Arnold isn't going to wait this year - already he's off to a fast start, with a hand in Washington's school-record distance medley relay that ranks 10th in the nation.
Russell Rebounds: He may have been out of action for over two years, but if his performances over the past month of the 2003 season are any indication, junior John Russell hasn't lost any of the speed that led him to a fourth-place finish as a freshman in the 1,500 meters at the 2000 Pac-10 Championships. Touted as the next great Husky distance runner after that exciting debut season, in which he also cracked the school's all-time top-10 indoors in the mile and placed 13th in the U.S. Junior National Cross Country meet, Russell had his next two full season wiped out by tendinitis. The Spokane, Wash., native finally returned to competition during the fall of 2002, and steadily improved throughout the fall and winter seasons. By April's Oregon Invitational, Russell was rolling, clocking a time of 3:44.65 in the 1,500 meters to earn a Pac-10 and NCAA Regional qualifying mark. In addition to setting aside questions of lost speed, the junior showed at the Pac-10 meet that he had lost none of his tenacity, fighting through a physical race to take sixth. Finally, Russell completed his comeback with an outstanding run at the Regional, placing fifth to earn his first-ever NCAA Championships appearance. In all, Russell was off the track for 22 months, missing two full seasons of track, and one full season of cross-country.
Raising Arizona: Already in 2004, 27 Husky athletes have already booked their tickets to Tuscon for the 2004 Pac-10 Championships at the University of Arizona. Last year, Husky athletes earned 55 Pac-10 qualifying marks, and pole vaulter Brad Walker earned his second-straight Pac-10 title. Pac-10 teams can bring a maximum of 24 athletes and two wild cards per team to the meet, and in addition may place one athlete in each event for which the school has no qualifier. Thus, some athletes to post qualifying marks may not compete, and others not qualified may be entered in some events.
Name, Event, Mark
Todd Arnold, Mile, 4:06.32
Travis Boyd, 5,000m, 14:29.90
Phillippe Cook, High Jump, 6-8 3/4
Warren Eickhoff, High Jump, 6-8 3/4
Eric Garner, Mile, 4:03.80
McKane Lee, Pole Vault, 16-7 1/4
Mark Mandi, 5,000m, 14:12.51
Carl Moe, Mile, 4:07.15
Sam Roberts, Pole Vault, 16-4 3/4
Brad Walker, Pole Vault, 18-4 1/2
Name, Event, Mark
Mary Beeman, Shot Put, 43-7 1/4
Camille Connelly, Mile, 4:55.30
Cherron Davis, Shot Put, 44-9 1/2
Carly Dockendorf, Pole Vault, 12-9 1/2
Lindsey Egerdahl, Mile, 4:47.82
Laura Halverson, Mile, 4:59.49
Kira Harrison, Mile, 5:00.54
Amy Lia, Mile, 4:50.51
Ashley Lodree, Long Jump, 19-0 1/2
Stevie Marshalek, Pole Vault, 13-1 1/2
Brianna McLeod, Mile, 4:53.23
Brittiny Roberts, Triple Jump, 39-6
Kate Soma, Pole Vault, 13-5 3/4
Grace Vela, Long Jump, 19-1 1/4
Ashley Wildhaber, Pole Vault, 12-5 1/2
Dallon Williams, Mile, 5:00.67
Angela Wishaar, Mile, 4:56.90
International Blend: Washington's roster in 2004 features several individuals from outside the United States. Not surprisingly, Canada is the foreign nation with the most athletes on the UW roster, with sophomores Gaelle Banini (Richmond, B.C.), and Carly Dockendorf (Port Moody, B.C.) and junior Grace Vela (Toronto, Ont.). Of the three, Banini has certainly carved the most unique route to Seattle, having been born in Cameroon, Africa, and moved to France in 1987 before settling in Canada in 1994. Nearly as well-represented as Canada is Norway, which sent both of its reigning 800-meter national champs to Washington in the form of Ingvill Makestad (Odda, Norway) and Stig Ellingsen (Tromso, Norway). Jamaican greats Patrick Davidson and Davaon Spence, both from Kingston, are making their UW debuts this spring, while sophomore Vinh Chung will rack up plenty of frequent flyer miles traveling from Seattle to his hometown of Hamilton, New Zealand.
Husky Greats Give Back: A look around a UW practice reveals some familiar faces - in the coaching staff. Former U.S. Olympian Duncan Atwood has volunteered his time to his alma mater as a throws coach, working with second-year assistant coach Bud Rasmussen. The results speak for themselves: in 2003, four UW javelin throwers qualified for the NCAA Regional, while senior Heather Reichmann earned All-America honors with a throw of 159-6 that was the 10th-best by a U.S. woman in 2003. Atwood joins second-year head coach Greg Metcalf, a two-time steeplechase All-American at UW and a participant at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials, as well as two-time Husky All-American David Bazzi, now a UW assistant coach.
Dempsey Indoor: The 80,000-square foot home of Husky indoor track opened in September of 2001 to rave reviews. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. In just the past 13 months, Dempsey Indoor has played host to eight former Olympians and witnessed six top-10 world marks, three top all-time U.S. marks (though not officially records), 10 UW indoor school records and hundreds of NCAA qualifying marks. In addition to its competitive use, the building is utilized as an indoor practice facility for many Husky teams, and is considered one of the premier indoor facilities on the West Coast.
Dempsey Indoor Draws World's Best: If Washington's home indoor meets over the past two seasons have seemed to shimmer in gold, it is likely due to the numerous current and former Olympians who have highlighted the fields at Dempsey Indoor. The Feb. 7 Husky Invitational featured former Olympians Bolota Asmeron of the U.S. and Peru's Hugo Munoz, the former of which clocked a facility-record time of 7:48.59 that is among the best by an American this year. Last year, numerous former Olympians put Dempsey Indoor on their competition schedule, including former Husky and 2000 U.S. Olympian Ja'Warren Hooker, two-time Olympic medalist John Godina, fellow U.S. Olympians Seilala Sua and Michael Stember, and Asmeron, who in 2000 competed for his native Eritrea. All set facility records in their respective events, while Asmeron clocked what at the time was the world's sixth-fastest 3,000-meter mark.
2003 NCAA Indoor Championships Recap: Without a doubt, the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships were nearly a perfect finish to an outstanding indoor season for the University of Washington track and field teams. Senior Brad Walker backed up his No. 1 ranking in the pole vault, earning Washington's 25th-ever NCAA individual title with a vault of 19-feet, 0 1/4 inches that is the best-ever by a Pac-10 vaulter, third-best in the world in 2003, and tied for sixth-best in NCAA history. Senior Jeremy Park earned All-American honors with a 13th-place finish in the 3,000 meters, helping lead the Husky men to a tie for 20th overall at the meet. Senior Courtney Inman placed ninth overall in the mile, and sophomore Kate Soma was the 12th finisher in the pole vault, each improving their finishes from the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Top-ranked Arkansas ran away with the men's title, while LSU defended its indoor crown on the women's side.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's coaching staff in 2003 is in no way short on accolades. Seventh-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed three All-Americans, including Pac-10 and NCAA champion Brad Walker. First-year throws coach Bud Rasmussen founded the prestigious Iron Wood Thrower Development Camp, and in seven years at North Idaho College mentored 82 NJCAA All-Americans, 18 national champions and five NJCAA record holders. First-year sprints/relays coach Dion Miller last year led Texas Tech sprinters to 13 All-America accolades, and a Big 12 title in the 4x100-meter relay. Second-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is first-year distance coach Kelly MacDonald, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles. The full-timers are joined by UW legends and volunteer coaches Duncan Atwood and Ja'Warren Hooker.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his second year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his seventh year overall on the UW coaching staff. In his first season at the helm, Metcalf led the UW women to 29th at the NCAA Championships, equaling their highest point total since the 1998 season, and guided seven UW distance runners to NCAA Championships appearances. In seven years directing Washington's cross country program, Metcalf has led the women's cross country team to seven-consecutive NCAA Championships, the seventh-longest active streak in the nation. Metcalf has coached nine All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 13 school-record setters and 62 NCAA qualifiers. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeplechase, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic trials.