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Husky Freshmen Compete on Third Day of USA Track Championships
Release: 06/21/2003
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June 21, 2003

NOTE: Story updated Saturday, June 21 at 11:15 p.m.

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Husky freshmen Brynne Steward and Mike Sayenko, and assistant coach Kelly MacDonald represented Washington in action Saturday at the USA Track and Field Championships, hosted by Stanford University. The four-day meet, which determines the U.S. squad for the 2003 World Championships in Paris, concludes Sunday.

Sayenko, in his first year at Washington after graduating from Bellevue's Sammamish High School, was the Huskies' top finisher Saturday, placing fifth in the finals of the junior men's 10,000 meters. The freshman's time of 30 minutes, 49.70 seconds was less than a minute behind that of winner Brett Gotcher of Stanford, who finished in 29:55.63.

A terrific prep runner, Sayenko redshirted his freshman season at Washington to preserve a year of eligiblity.

"Since Mike was redshirting this season, he hasn't really had the chance to go out and race competitively at a high level," said first-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "Given that fact, I thought he was terrific tonight, earning a top-five finish in what turned out to be a pretty good junior field."

Joining Sayenko on the track Saturday was Husky teammate Steward, who established herself in 2003 as one of the Pac-10's top freshman hurdlers. Steward ran the 100-meter hurdles in 14.61 seconds Saturday to place fifth in the first of two preliminary heats in USA Junior National Championships competition.

The Sylmar, Calif., native just missed the last of nine qualifying spots in Sunday's final, which went to Texas-San Antonio freshman Rianne DuPree, who finished in 14.55 seconds.

Steward boasts a top hurdles mark of 14.05 seconds in 2003, clocked in a dual meet with Washington State at Husky Stadium in May. That time equaled the fifth-fastest mark ever by a UW woman, and qualified Steward for Pac-10, NCAA, and U.S. junior competition.

"When you see Brynne run, it's hard to believe that she's only a freshman," said Metcalf, who in his first year at the helm of the Washington program guided the UW women to their best NCAA Championships performance in 15 years. "She's clocking times that we're not used to seeing from people her age, and while a lot of the credit for that should go to our terrific hurdles coach, Dion Miller, much is reflective of the amount of work Brynne has put in. If she continues to work hard and improve at the rate she has this season, she can play a big role in raising the profile of our entire sprints/hurdles program."

Miller wasn't the only UW coach working overtime Saturday, as fellow UW assistant Kelly MacDonald -- who in addition to mentoring the Huskies' outstanding distance corps also competes professionally for Asics -- battled the nation's best in the finals of the women's steeplechase.

The nation's 11th-ranked steeplechase competitor in 2003, MacDonald placed 14th in the event Saturday, crossing the line in 10:43.79. The University of Toledo's Brianna Shook, who bypassed last weekend's NCAA Championships, upset national collegiate champ Kassi Anderson of BYU and 2003 American leader Lisa Aguilera of Arizona State to capture her first-ever U.S. title, finishing in 9:44.71. Anderson was second in 9:47.17, with NIKE's Lisa Nye third in 9:49.14 and Aguilera fourth in 9:59.30.

A former teammate of Aguilera's at Arizona State, MacDonald completed her first year as a UW assistant in 2003 after graduating from ASU last spring with three Pac-10 titles and five All-America certificates. MacDonald, an Oregon native, was the seventh-place finisher in the steeplechase at the 2002 USA outdoor meet.

With three exciting days of competition behind them, the Huskies have just one competitor entering the fray Sunday, as former UW great Matt Phillips competes in the finals of the men's pole vault.

For complete start lists, event schedules and results from the 2003 USA Senior and Junior Track and Field Championships, visit www.usatf.org.

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