April 15, 2006
WALNUT, Calif. - Washington junior Ashley Lodree ran the world's 10th-fastest 100-meter hurdles time of the 2006 season at Mt. SAC, while in Berkeley senior thrower Will Conwell achieved the year's fifth-best discus throw by an American male, highlighting an outstanding weekend of split-squad action for UW's track and field teams.
In all, three Huskies achieved marks among the top-five in the 2006 collegiate rankings, while two broke into the U.S. top-five and one set a Grenadan national record.
One of a handful of Huskies competing at the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., Lodree clocked a wind-aided time of 13.09 seconds to place fourth in the elite field ,which included Olympian Angela Whyte of Canada, as well as Rainier Beach High School alum and defending NCAA champion Virginia Powell of USC.
Lodree's time -- the 10th-fastest in the world this year, wind-aided or otherwise -- ranks third only to Powell and fellow Trojan Candice Davis among American women this year, and is fourth-fastest overall in the current collegiate rankings. A three-time All-American, Lodree placed fifth in the 2005 NCAA Championships 100-meter hurdles final, won by Powell.
"When Ashley puts her mind to something, she's impossible to stop," said fourth-year head coach Greg Metcalf from Berkeley, where he coached the bulk of UW's team at Cal's Brutus Hamilton Invitational. "She won't be satisfied until she's crossed that line first, and even then, she'll probably wish she'd done it faster. She's just a true competitor."
Roughly 400 miles to the north at Cal`s Brutus Hamilton Invite, it was Conwell climbing the U.S. rankings with a throw of 198-feet, 11 inches in the discus -- a 13-foot personal best and a 21-foot improvement over the senior's lifetime best prior to the 2006 season. The massive throw -- UW's fifth-best ever -- moves Conwell to fifth in the 2006 collegiate rankings, and is the fifth-best throw by an American male this year.
Senior Shane Charles of St. Andrew's, Grenada, capped off the historic day with a winning time of 50.12 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles, breaking the Grenadan national record of 50.46 seconds he established last season. Charles' time -- his first in the event since the record-breaking run at Pac-10s last May -- is tied for the second-fastest by a collegian in 2006, and is the 16th-fastest in the world this year.
Other top performances at Cal included a regional-qualifying effort -- and 11-foot PR -- of 220-10 for senior Juan Romero in the javelin, and winning efforts by sophomore Austin Abbott at 800 meters (1:49.45), senior Tiffany Zahn in the javelin (148-5) and the men's 4x400-meter relay team of Alex Harcourt, Phil McCary, Abbott and Kyle Still (3:12.83).
At the end of the day, however, it was the performances of Lodree, Conwell and Charles that made the day one to remember.
"With only a few weeks left before the Pac-10 meet, this is the time when we start to find out who's ready to handle that level of competition, and who's not," Metcalf said. "I think those three made a pretty big statement today."
For complete results from the 2006 Mt. SAC Relays, visit www.mtsacrelays.com. Brutus Hamilton Invitational results can also be located online, at www.calbears.com.