March 8, 2004
SEATTLE - Five Washington athletes have been named to the final declared fields for the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., the NCAA announced Monday.
The Huskies' five NCAA indoor invitees are its most since 1998, when the team also took five athletes to the meet. The two-day championship meet begins Friday and concludes Saturday.
Headlining the field for Washington is senior All-American Brad Walker, who will be seeking to defend the NCAA indoor pole vault title he earned last season. Walker's winning vault of 19 feet, 0 1/4 inches at last year's meet was a Pac-10 record, ranked sixth in NCAA history, and equaled the third-best indoor mark in the world in 2003.
Also making a second-straight NCAA Indoor Championships appearance will be junior Kate Soma, currently the nation's seventh-ranked competitor in the pole vault. The Portland, Ore., native earned All-America honors outdoors in 2003 with a seventh-place finish, and boasts a best of 13-10 that ranks eighth in Pac-10 history.
Joining the field-event twosome will be a trio of track speedsters, including a former indoor All-American and a pair of NCAA first-timers.
Four-minute miler Eric Garner will make his first return to the NCAA indoor meet since earning All-America acclaim with a 13th-place mile finish in 2002. The senior from Kelso, Wash., enters the meet ranked seventh nationally, with not even two seconds separating the top-10 competitors.
The women's mile will also be well-represented for Washington, as sophomore Ingvill Makestad makes her NCAA debut. Norway's reigning 800-meter national champion, Makestad ran the mile just once during the 2004 season, but clocked a time of 4:42.17 that captured the 2004 indoor conference title and is the 12th-fastest in the NCAA field.
Rounding out the Husky contingent is freshman Ashley Lodree, who last week crushed Washington's 60-meter hurdles record. Lodree's time of 8.19 seconds -- tied for eighth nationally this season -- broke by two hundredths of a second the record of 8.21 set in 1994 by Claudine Robinson, the last Husky hurdler to qualify for NCAA indoor competition.
For complete start lists and event schedules for the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships, visit www.ncaasports.com.