April 1, 2006
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Two-time All-American Austin Abbott topped a list of four Huskies to earn NCAA Regional Championships berths Saturday at the Cardinal Invitational at Stanford. Abbott was one of seven Huskies to earn postseason berths at the two-day meet, which with over 4,000 competitors is one of the largest track and field competitions in the nation.
A sophomore from Chehalis, Wash., Abbott became the first Husky to break the 1:50 mark in the 800 meters this season, clocking a 1:49.47 in the first of four finals heats to place fifth in the elite field. A record four UW runners broke 1:50 for 800 meters last season, something accomplished by as many as three Huskies just once previously.
Joining Abbott at May's Regional meet will be fellow All-American Carly Dockendorf, whose 12-foot, 6-inch clearance in the pole vault earned the British Columbia native her third-consecutive Regional Championships berth. Dockendorf, who also competed in gymnastics at UW, placed seventh at Regionals in 2005, and third in 2004.
Rounding out the Huskies' Regional-qualifying quartet were sophomores Amanda Miller and Brad Liber, who posted qualifying times in the 1,500 meters and steeplechase, respectively. Liber's time of 9:05.25 was the fastest by a UW runner in the event since 2003, and earned the San Diego native his first Regional Championships bid. Miller, meanwhile, qualified for her second Regional in as many years with a time of 4:23.11 in the 1,500, UW's 10th-fastest mark all-time and an eight-second personal best.
"This meet has a reputation as a distance event, so I'm not surprised to see so many qualifying marks for us in the distance races," said fourth-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "Next week [at the four-team scoring Pepsi Invitational] will really be the first time we bring our whole team together. There are definitely some areas we need to improve in before Pac-10s, but for this early in the season, I'm O.K. with where we're at."
Washington continues its string of seven-straight weeks on the road at Oregon next weekend, where they will compete in a scoring invitational against Boise State, Minnesota (men), Penn State (women) and the host Ducks.
For complete results from this weekend's Cardinal Invitational, visit www.gostanford.com.