May 6, 2004
SEATTLE - Three-time Washington state champion Norris Frederick of Seattle's Roosevelt High School is among 10 outstanding prep track and field athletes who have signed letters of intent to attend Washington in the fall, head coach Greg Metcalf announced Thursday. The signing period for track and field began Apr. 14, and concludes Aug. 1.
Highlighting Washington's 2005 class is Frederick, currently the top-ranked American prep outdoors in both the long jump and high jump. After winning state titles in both events in 2003, Frederick this season became the first athlete in state history ever to long jump 24 feet and high jump seven feet, recording U.S.-leading bests of 24-5 and 7-1, respectively. The Roosevelt High School senior -- whose bests would each rank among the top-10 in the Pac-10 Conference this year -- also just recently added the triple jump to his repetoire, and has already achieved a best of 47-11 1/2 that ranks 10th among U.S. preps in 2004.
"Norris is a talented kid with the ability to come in here and be a big-time performer for us right away," said second-year UW head coach Greg Metcalf. "He's a super talent and a great student, exactly the kind of person we want in our program."
Joining Frederick at Washington next season will be another three-time state champion, distance runner Amanda Miller of Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee, Wash. After sweeping cross-country, 800-meter and 1,600-meter state crowns as a sophomore in 2001-02, Miller repeated as 800-meter champ in 2003, and took second in the 1,600. Miller also won the prestigious Washington-Oregon Border Clash cross-country meet, and boasts bests of 2 minutes, 10 seconds for 800 meters and 4:54 for 1,600 meters.
Rivaling Miller in 2005 will be a pair of talented women's distance runners, Danielle Schuster of Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, Wash., and Trish Rasmussen of Phoenix's Mountain Ridge High School. Schuster, the 12th-place finisher at the 2003 Washington state cross-country meet, and Rasmussen, the seventh-place performer at Arizona's state meet last season and the younger sister of 2000 Pac-10 steeplechase champion Jeremy Rasmussen, will help supplement a young UW distance corps that included four freshmen in its top-seven at the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Schuster wasn't the only out-of-state athlete to choose Washington during the signing period. Traveling the farthest to attend UW is Salina, Kansas, native Bonnie Snyder, who will bring with her a pair of state titles earned in 2003 in the long jump and 100-meter dash. The Salina Central High School senior also excels in the triple jump, having posted a lifetime best of 39-4 in a second-place performance at state last season.
"I'm very excited about these girls," said assistant distance coach Kelly MacDonald, whose 2003 women's recruiting class was ranked sixth in the nation by Track and Field News. "They're all extremely talented and can't wait to come to Washington."
Also making the trip to Seattle from out-of-state will be Menlo Park, Calif., native Jeremy Mineau, who shot up the California prep rankings last fall with a second-place finish in the state cross-country championships.
Mineau will be joined by three of Washington's top male distance runners, including Tom Wyatt of Tacoma's Charles Wright Academy, Austin Abbott of W.F. West High School in Chehalis, and Caleb Knox of Jackson High School in Everett.
Of the three, Wyatt boasts the most hardware, having swept state titles at both 1,600- and 3,200-meters last spring, before setting a state cross-country meet record of 15:38 last fall to lead CWA to a sweep of team and individual titles. The eighth-place finisher at the 2003 Foot Locker West Regional Cross-Country Championships, and the 26th-place finisher at the Foot Locker Nationals, Wyatt has also excelled on the track in 2004, clocking the fifth-fastest indoor 3,000-meter mark by an American prep this year.
Just ahead of Wyatt on the 2004 U.S. prep indoor 3,000-meter list was Knox, whose No. 4 national ranking was built on the strength of an 8:32.76 performance earlier this season. Knox was an All-WesCo South first-team honoree in both cross-country and track in 2002-03, and is poised for another impressive turn at the state meet this season.
Rounding out the UW's distance corps is Abbott, the second-place finisher at the 3A state cross-country championships in 2003, and the eighth-place runner in the 1,600 meters at state two years ago. Abbott, who set a school record of 4:13.67 in the 1,600 meters (converted from mile) earlier this year, is also one of the state's top prep golfers, and is the starting point guard for W.F. West's basketball team.
The distance and jump standouts will be joined by thrower Sheree Ellis of Kentridge High School in Kent, Wash. The younger sister of former Husky football standout Kai Ellis, Sheree currently ranks fourth among Washington preps in the shot put, and placed third in the event at state in 2003.
"All in all, we've managed to cover a lot of areas where we felt that we might be hurt by graduation," Metcalf said. "With these 10, as well as the folks we signed earlier and a handful more that we'll bring in over the summer, we'll have a solid foundation to build from for the future."
Thursday's announcement does not conclude the signings for Washington's track and field class of 2005. Athletes may still sign letters of intent through Aug. 1, and the Huskies are expected to sign a number of additional high school and junior-college competitors.