April 29, 2009
ON THE TRACK: One of the oldest track and field rivalries in the nation is set for another installment this Saturday, as the Huskies and Cougars go head to head at Husky Stadium in their annual dual meet. This will be the 94th meeting between the two men's teams, with the first dating back to 1900, and the 34th meeting between the women.
The meet opens with the first field events at 11 a.m., and the first running events start at 12 noon. Admission is free for all spectators. The dual meet is part of a whirlwind day for Husky athletics, including the Windermere Cup in the morning and baseball and softball games in the afternoon. Track fans should be aware that the Montlake Bridge will be closed from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. to accomodate the crew races. The men's and women's hammer throw will be held separately on Friday afternoon at West Seattle Stadium, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
The Cougars won both men's and women's duals last year in Pullman, but both duals should be very competitive and tightly contested this weekend, with several All-Americans, Pac-10 Champions, and NCAA title contenders on display for each side. Washington has the edge as far as the national rankings are concerned. The Husky men are ranked 14th this week by the USTFCCCA and the women are a season-high 16th, while the Cougar men rank 25th and the Cougar women are 50th. However, the rankings are more a reflection of a team's highest-ranked athletes and the Cougars will hope that their depth can offset some of UW's top talent.
Every one of Washington's 25 current Regional qualifiers are scheduled to compete on Saturday, many in multiple events. All-Americans Austin Abbott, Jordan Boase, Scott Roth, Jake Schmitt, Jared O'Connor, and Jeremy Taiwo will lead the Husky men, while fellow All-Americans in action on the women's side include Katie Follett, Christine Babcock, Falesha Ankton, Anita Campbell, Mel Lawrence, Kailey Campbell, and Elisa Bryant. This will likely be the final home appearances for seniors Boase and Abbott, two of the most decorated Huskies in history, as they will most likely rest during next Friday's home finale.
Official entry lists will be published to www.GoHuskies.com Thursday evening. For fans that can't make the trip down to Husky Stadium, Flotrack.org will be on hand to film the dual meet and post race videos soon after completion.
EVENT SCHEDULE: Following is the time schedule for the UW-WSU dual meet at Husky Stadium. All times are approximate.
Friday May 1, 2009 4:30 PM-Hammer Throw (Women then Men) @ West Seattle Stadium
Saturday May 2, 2009 11:00 AM-Javelin (W) 11:00 AM-Long Jump (W) 11:45 AM-Javelin (M) 11:45 AM-Long Jump (M) 12:00 PM-3000m Steeplechase (W) 12:15 PM-3000m Steeplechase (M) 12:30 PM-High Jump (W) 12:30 PM-4x100m Relay (W) 12:30 PM-Shot Put (W) 12:45 PM-Pole Vault (W) 12:35 PM-4x100m Relay (M) 12:45 PM-Triple Jump (W) 12:45 PM-1500m Run (W) 12:55 PM-1500m Run (M) 1:05 PM-100m Hurdles (W) 1:15 PM-110m Hurdles (M) 1:15 PM-Shot Put (M) 1:25 PM-400m Dash (W) 1:30 PM-400m Dash (M) 1:30 PM-Triple Jump (M) 1:40 PM-100m Dash (W) 1:45 PM-100m Dash (M) 1:45 PM-High Jump (M) 1:45 PM-Discus (W) 1:50 PM-800m Run (W) 1:55 PM-800m Run (M) 2:00 PM-Pole Vault (M) 2:00 PM-400m Hurdles (W) 2:05 PM-400m Hurdles (M) 2:15 PM-200m Dash (W) 2:25 PM-200m Dash (M) 2:35 PM-3000m Run (W) 2:30 PM-Discus (M) 2:50 PM-3000m Run (M) 3:10 PM-4x400m Relay (W) 3:15 PM-4x400m Relay (M)
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Husky men's squad held steady at No. 14 in the weekly USTFCCCA Rankings, but the women's group shot up 11 spots to a season-high No. 16 ranking this week. The rankings compile Regional qualifiers in every event and assign points to the athletes that estimate their likelihood of scoring points at the NCAA Championships. Preseason bests were taken out of consideration this week, accounting for the women's quick rise, as their 2009 performances alone have been top notch. In individual events, Scott Roth is the highest-ranked Husky, currently third nationally in the pole vault with a best clearance of 18-1. Several other Huskies are currently ranked in the NCAA Top-10 in their events. Austin Abbott sits fourth in the 1,500-meters, with his time of 3:41.62 set in a win at the Stanford Invite, senior Jordan Boase is fifth in the 400m in 45.67, and sophomore Kyle Nielsen sits seventh in the javelin throw (239-2). On the women's side, Anita Campbell (15:45.85), Katie Follett (15:48.72) and Mel Lawrence (15:50.36) rank fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively, in the 5,000-meter run, evidence as to why UW won the cross country title in such dominating fashion in the fall. Campbell's 10,000m time from Stanford (33:40.22) also ranks eighth overall, and freshman Christine Babcock is seventh in the 1,500m with a time of 4:16.50.
NCAA SELECTION PROCESS: Automatic NCAA Championships berths will be granted to the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relays, from each of the four Regionals contested nationwide May 29-30. Athletes qualify for Regionals by meeting pre-determined standards, or by winning their conference title. The NCAA then supplements the Championships field with the highest-ranking competitors (6-7 per individual event and 5-6 per relay) from the national performance lists, provided the athlete competed in their event at a Regional meet and was not among the finishers to earn automatic berths. The lone exceptions are the 10,000 meters and multi-events, in which athletes qualify directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting provisional and automatic standards.
HUSKIES MAKE STATEMENT AT PENN RELAYS: In its first trip to the legendary Penn Relays in 16 years, the UW track and field team picked up second- and third-place finishes in its two relays on April 17 at University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field. Washington had not sent a squad to Penn since 1993, head coach Greg Metcalf's senior season at UW. First up was the Women's 4x1500-meter Championship of America, featuring the Husky quartet of juniors Kailey Campbell and Katie Follett, redshirt freshman Mel Lawrence, and true freshman Christine Babcock on the anchor. Campbell opened with a 4:18 split, putting UW right in the mix. Follett then took the baton and turned in her best showing of the season with a 4:16 split, as she took over the lead over the final 20 meters and handed off to Lawrence in first place. Lawrence held the lead for much of the third leg, but Georgetown and Tennessee put on a kick and opened up a small lead heading into the final leg. Lawrence still ran 4:20 for her leg, a four-second PR. On the anchor leg, Tennessee and Georgetown both sported multiple-time All-American seniors, while Babcock was running just her third college 1,500m. Babcock pulled away from Villanova, but Tennessee's Sarah Bowman led the Vols to the win in 17:08.34 followed by Georgetown in 17:11.80, and then the Huskies in 17:14.55. All three teams broke the previous meet record of 17:15.62 set by Michigan in 2007. Several hours later, it was time for the Men's Sprints Medley Championship of America, featuring four Husky seniors: Joe Turner, Kenjamine Jackson, Jordan Boase, and Austin Abbott. Turner and Jackson ran well over the first two 200m legs, but it was Boase who shocked the onlookers when he went into overdrive and powered from the back of the pack all the way into first place for the hand-off to Abbott. Abbott led early on the final leg, before letting Tennessee's Joe Franklin move in front and sticking right behind him. Abbott looked in good position for his patented finishing kick, but Franklin was very strong and was able to hold off Abbott, as Tennessee thwarted UW again for the win in 3:17.77. Abbott and the Huskies finished second in 3:18.81, ahead of Albany, and two-time defending champion LSU which took fourth.
UP NEXT: Washington closes out its home track and field season next Friday, May 8, with the running of the joint Ken Shannon-Ken Foreman Invitational. For the second straight year the Huskies are combining their traditional Ken Shannon meet with Seattle Pacific's Ken Foreman Invite. The first event will be the hammer throw at 12:30 out at West Seattle Stadium, with the Husky Stadium field events starting at 3:30 and the track events at 4.
CAMPBELL EARNS PAC-10 WEEKLY HONORS: Washington junior distance standout Anita Campbell was named the Pac-10 Women's Track Athlete of the Week for the week of April 13-19. Campbell is the first Husky woman to win the weekly award in four years. A native of Vancouver, B.C., Campbell ran her first 5,000-meters outdoors since the 2007 season on April 17 at the Mt. SAC Relays, and crossed the line in 15-minutes, 45.85-seconds, the second-fastest time in Washington history. The time was a 15-second personal best. Campbell now ranks fourth in the NCAA at the 5k, in addition to ranking eighth at 10,000-meters. The only Husky to run a faster 5k was Regina Joyce who went 15:35.60 in 1982. Campbell already set the indoor school record earlier this year in a time of 16:09.26 and went on to place 13th at NCAA Indoors. She was also a First Team All-Pac-10 honoree in cross country in the fall, helping lead the Huskies to the national championship. Campbell is the first Husky woman to earn Pac-10 Athlete of the Week recognition since five-time All-American sprinter and hurdler Ashley Lodree won the honor on April 25, 2005. Three-time Olympian Aretha (Hill) Thurmond is the only other UW woman to win the award. A total of fourteen Huskies have combined to win the award on nineteen occasions, with senior sprinter Jordan Boase the most recent recipient in 2008.
BOASE READY FOR ENCORE: Few could have predicted the season that awaited Jordan Boase heading into 2008, when the two-time All-American in the 4x400m relay returned to the team after a year off from the sport. Even after Boase started the year by breaking the indoor school record in the 400-meters, and placing third at the NCAA Indoor Championships, he still remained something of an unknown nationally. That all changed at the Sun Angel Classic in April in Tempe, when Boase took over the NCAA lead with a school record 44.82, which was the second-fastest run in the world at the time. Boase would go on to battle USC's senior sprinter Lionel Larry, with Larry getting the edge for the Pac-10 title as both went under 45-seconds. The Bothell, Wash. native also ran the lead-off leg for UW's 4x100m relay, which won the Pac-10 title for the first time in program history, and qualified for nationals. At the national meet, Boase placed fourth in an extremely fast 400m final, running 44.83 despite having been limited in training by an injury. Boase went on to make the semifinals of the U.S. Olympic Trials, before a painful blister stopped him one race short of the final. But a fully healthy Boase is coming off another outstanding indoor season and will be hunting for his first national title outdoors this spring. Boase ran an indoor PR of 46.09 seconds to win his second straight MPSF 400-meter title, and headed to NCAA Indoors as one of the clear favorites. Boase won his preliminary heat with ease, but in the final he was assigned to the outside lane and just beaten to inside position when the lanes converged. Trapped in third, Boase had to slow down to move around one competitor, and was unable to track down the winner of the heat. The winner, Michael Bingham of Wake Forest, actually came out of the first heat, and Boase settled for third for the second straight year. With just one 400-meter race under his belt so far outdoors, Boase is fifth nationally with a time of 45.67 set in a victory at the Sun Angel Classic.
ABBOTT IN PERFECT POSITION FOR FINISHING KICK: The most decorated current Husky in terms of All-American honors this season is senior Austin Abbott, a native of Chehalis, Wash. who will go down as one of the greatest mid-distance runners in school history with a strong final season. Abbott has added to his legacy this this season by breaking the school mile record and submitting the second-best 1,500-meter time in school history outdoors. At the UW Last Chance Meet, in his final appearance in the Dempsey Indoor as a Husky, Abbott ran 3:58.23 to break the school record in the mile run. Abbott was already one of just three four-minute milers in Washington history, but he overtook the marks set by Eric Garner (3:58.93; 2002) and Greg Gibson (3:59.24; 1974) with a powerful finishing kick. Garner was running in the very same heat, competing for Brooks Eastside, and finished in 4:00.66. Gibson was also on hand to witness the record-setting run, and the three gathered for a photo after the race. Abbott has five All-America awards to his name, three coming as part of UW's distance medley relay, which placed fifth at NCAA's in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Abbott also took fourth in the 800-meters indoors in 2007. But following his best individual finish, Abbott was hampered by injury and only competed once on the track over the next year. It was not until the 2008 Pac-10 Championships that Abbott would get back to his old form, as he broke a longstanding personal-best in the 800, running 1:48.14 for a fourth-place finish. Abbott went on to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he placed seventh to earn his fifth All-American honor and first in more than a year. He focused on the 800-meters for the majority of this indoor season, and was ranked in the top-10 with an indoor PR of 1:48.56, but chose to run the mile at NCAA Indoors after his record-setting run. Abbott found himself out of his comfort zone at Nationals, up front and setting the pace rather than hanging back and waiting to kick, and he failed to make the final. However, Abbott bounced back in short time at the start of the outdoor season, as he won the top 1,500-meter race at the Stanford Invitational on March 27, running 3:41.62, which was the fastest performance by a Husky since Bruce Stirling set the school record of 3:39.89 in 1987. Abbott's time still ranks fourth in the NCAA this outdoor season.
THROWING UNIT TAKES FLIGHT: Owning the most storied tradition of possibly any unit at Washington, this year's corps of throwers has shown major progress from a year ago and looks poised to add its own chapter to a legacy that includes numerous Olympians, All-Americans, and National and Pac-10 Champions. During the indoor season, sophomore Elisa Bryant became UW's first ever women's weight throw All-American, as she took eighth-place with a lifetime-best and school-record toss of 65-8 3/4. A Regional qualifier in the hammer throw last year as a freshman, Bryant has continued to develop in the discus as well, and earned her first Regional mark in that event as well with a mark of 158-6. Washington's biggest improvement in any event this year might be in the javelin, where sophomores Kyle Nielsen and Brooke Pighin have each rocketed up among the nation's elite in their first few outings this year. Nielsen, a native of Langley, B.C., made Regionals last season as a freshman, but has subsequently smashed his personal best throw in each of his first two competitions this year. Nielsen went 225-11 at the Stanford Invite, a PR by 13 feet, and followed that up with a mark of 239-2 at the Jim Click Shootout. Nielsen currently ranks fifth nationally and leaped up to third in the UW Top-10 lists, ahead of former All-Americans and Pac-10 Champions. Pighin, a transfer from Fresno State, has immediately filled a major need for the women. Like Nielsen, Pighin is a British Columbian, coming from Port Alberni, and made Regionals as a freshman. Pighin set a new personal-best at the Sun Angel Classic, throwing 162-0, which was the second-best throw by a Husky in the past 10 years and currently ranks her 15th nationally. The men's hammer throw continues to be another major strength for UW, as junior Zack Midles (Olympia, Wash./Capital) and freshman Angus Taylor (Richmond, B.C./Vancouver College Prep) have already notched Regional qualifiers, and Midles continues to improve in the discus throw and inch closer to qualifying in that event as well.
FIVE VAULTERS VIE FOR NATIONALS: Washington has been a consistent national pole vault power under coach Pat Licari, producing two national champions, eight different All-Americans, and American record-holder and 2008 Olympian Brad Walker. Two of those eight All-Americans are currently honing their craft on this year's squad and rank among the nation's best yet again. Sophomore Scott Roth, a two-time All-American as a freshman in 2007, is back from injury and vaulting higher than ever before. Roth is currently ranked third in the NCAA after he cleared a new personal best of 18-1 at the Jim Click Shootout, the second-best vault in UW history behind only Walker. Also operating at a high level is senior Jared O'Connor, the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Runner-Up and West Region Champion. O'Connor's season-best clearance of 17-4 1/2 came at the Stanford Invite and is ranked 10th. Three more Huskies have already qualified for Regionals in the vault, all establishing new PR's this season under Licari. Transfer student Lara Jones had never cleared 13-feet in her career before coming to UW this season. Jones has already gone up and over 13-3 1/2 outdoors, the sixth-best mark in school history. Senior Andrea Peterson has also booked her first trip to Regionals with a clearance of 12-11 1/2, which is 10 inches higher than her previous outdoor best entering the season. Last but not least is junior Ryan Vu, who hit his first Regional mark this season and certainly can't be counted out at Regionals, not after O'Connor went into the `08 Regional meet with the minimum qualifying mark and proceeded to PR on three straight vaults and win the title.
NEWCOMERS WASTE NO TIME: Washington has received an immediate boost in several key areas this season from a talented freshman class and several transfer students. Two freshmen can already call themselves All-Americans. Christine Babcock (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge) has lived up to her legendary high school career thus far, as she already ranks in UW's top-10 in the 800-meters, mile run, and 1,500-meters, and was part of UW's record-setting DMR, which placed eighth at NCAA Indoors and earned her an All-America honor. Babcock also anchored UW's third-place 4x1500m relay at the Penn Relays. Freshman Jeremy Taiwo has also done it all in his first year, quite literally, as the Renton, Wash. native placed 12th in the heptathlon at NCAA Indoors to earn All-America honors. Taiwo also won the MPSF heptathlon and broke the school record, and will look to add three more events to his repetoire outdoors in the decathlon. True freshman Kelly McNamee (Spokane, Wash./Ferris) has filled a big hole for the Huskies in the women's high jump. She qualified for NCAA Indoors and cleared a best of 5-11 1/2, the best jump by a Husky in more than 20 years. Also flashing signs of great potential has been Joey Bywater, a Lake Stevens, Wash. native. Bywater posted his first NCAA Regional mark at the Oregon Relays, running 3:45.43 in the 1,500-meters, one of the fastest times ever by a Husky frosh. Ryan Soberanis has also had a strong year in the 800m, running the fifth-best time by a Husky indoors at 1:50.52. As for the transfer students now part of the Husky family, senior Lara Jones and sophomore Brooke Pighin have stepped in and thrived. Jones, a Seattle native that came to UW from Duke, has cleared 13-feet in the pole vault for the first time in her career under coach Pat Licari, and already ranks sixth in UW history. Pighin, a transfer from Fresno State, threw the javelin 162-0 in her second Husky meet, a PR and the No. 2 mark in UW history. She's currently ranked in the Top-20 nationally. Both Jones and Pighin will compete at Regionals for a spot at NCAA's. Vancouver, B.C.'s Angus Taylor has also added depth to the men's throws unit, setting the eighth-best weight throw mark during the indoor season and earning a spot at Regionals in the hammer throw this season. Also, while Mel Lawrence (Reno, Nev.) has already completed two outstanding cross country seasons, she is in the midst of her debut track season and crushed the indoor 3k record at MPSFs then placed 12th at NCAA Indoors, and followed that up with a 15:50.36 PR in the 5k at the Stanford Invite that ranks seventh in the NCAA.
2008 INDOOR IN REVIEW: The NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14 put the capper on another outstanding indoor track and field campaign for the Huskies. With six collegiate meets at UW's Dempsey Indoor facility, Washington was once again one of the focal points of the national indoor track scene. Many of the fastest times in America were turned in at the Dempsey, with Husky athletes contributing a good number themselves. A whopping 36 new times or marks were written into the UW indoor Top-10 lists this season, with seven new school records. Washington sent 12 athletes to the NCAA Indoor meet in College Station, Texas, and they returned to Seattle with nine All-America honors between them. UW's indoor All-Americans included: senior Jordan Boase, who took third in the 400m for the second straight year; Katie Follett who took fifth in the 3K; Elisa Bryant, eighth in the weight throw in her first NCAA meet; the eighth-place women's DMR comprised of Christine Babcock, Falesha Ankton, Kailey Campbell, and Follett; Jake Schmitt, ninth in the 5K to earn his first All-America award; and freshman Jeremy Taiwo, who was 12th in the heptathlon just three months into his college career. Both teams scored six points at Nationals, which put the men in a tie for 33rd and the women in a tie for 35th. Once again Washington played host to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championships with the men placing sixth, though just four points out of second, and the women taking fifth, but only six points from third. UW earned four titles at the MPSFs, including Boase with a win in the 400m, Schmitt in the 5K, Taiwo in the heptathlon, and the women's distance medley relay. Highlighting the school record showings was senior Austin Abbott in the mile run. Abbott went 3:58.23 at the Last Chance Meet to break Eric Garner's school record, with Garner running in the same heat. Other records were set by Boase in the 400m (46.09), Taiwo in the heptathlon (5,559), Mel Lawrence in the 3K (9:08.50), Anita Campbell in the 5K (16:09.26), the women's DMR (11:05.80), and Bryant in the weight throw (65-8 3/4). The women's 3,000-meter list was the most drastically altered, as Lawrence, Follett, Anita Campbell, and Lauren Saylor ran the four fastest times in school history, respectively.
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY TAKES NCAA BY STORM: This past fall, the Husky women's cross country team grabbed the national spotlight, dominating every race they entered en route to the program's first National Championship. At the start of the season, the women were given a No. 3 national ranking, but quickly jumped up to No. 1 after dominating wins at the Sundodger and Tiger Invitational. UW confirmed its top billing with a huge win at Pre-Nationals. The Huskies then headed for a showdown with second-ranked Oregon at the Ducks' home course for the Pac-10 Championships. Washington turned the expected battle into an historic route, sweeping the top six places to record a perfect 15 points and snap Stanford's 12-year run of conference titles. Freshman Kendra Schaaf won the race by 30 seconds in a conference record time, becoming UW's first individual champion since 1982. After another routine win at West Regionals, the women went to NCAA's as the overwhelming favorite and did not disappoint, defeating Oregon once again by 52 points to win the national title. Freshman Christine Babcock led the way with a 7th-place finish, followed by Schaaf (12th-place), sophomore Mel Lawrence (25th), junior Katie Follett (26th), senior Amanda Miller (35th), sophomore Lauren Saylor (41st), and senior Anita Campbell (51st). The top five all earned All-America honors, with Saylor just missing out by one-tenth of a second. Schaaf was named Pac-10 Athlete of the Year, a first ever for Washington, and Babcock was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. Head coach Greg Metcalf swept the coaching awards, as he was named the Pac-10, West Regional, and National Coach of the Year.
HEAD COACH Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in the midst of his seventh season as head of Washington's track and field program, and his 12th year overall on the staff, and remains the driving force behind UW's rise to national prominence. A native of Ephrata, Wash., Metcalf is just a few months away from capturing the program's first ever national team championship, as the 2008 Husky women's cross country team went undefeated to with the NCAA title. Metcalf earned Pac-10 and National Coach of the Year honors for his efforts, and also guided the men's cross country squad to 18th at nationals, its second Top-20 finish in the past three years. The track and field squads have also enjoyed a prolonged period of unprecedented success the past several years. The men finished in the Top-25 at six consecutive NCAA Championship meets from 2006-08, including consecutive Top-10 indoor finishes in 2007 and 2008. At the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships, UW placed 16th with its most points since the 1983 season. The men also won the MPSF Championships in both 2006 and 2007, and Metcalf was named conference coach of the year on both occasions. The women have also had four Top-25 NCAA finishes since 2005, and sent three team members to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 1500-meters. Husky track and field individuals in Metcalf's tenure have combined for six NCAA titles, nine Pac-10 crowns and 145 NCAA Championships appearances, while breaking school records on 60 separate occasions. In addition to their athletic prowess, Metcalf's teams have been among the brightest at a school renowned for its high academic standards. His teams are eight-time recipients of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic honor, including the men's track team being named the 2008 Outdoor Scholar Team of the Year, and the 2008 National Champion women's cross country team being named National Women's Scholar Team of the Year. Six UW individuals have earned Academic All-America honors. Washington is the second head coaching position for Metcalf, who served in 1996-97 as the head cross country and assistant track coach at Auburn University. A four-time Academic All-Pac-10 honoree at Washington, Metcalf earned All-American honors at the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Championships. His best collegiate mark of 8:41.17 ranks fourth all-time among Husky steeplers. He also was a steeple finalist in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.