Nov. 27, 2006
SEATTLE - Junior National steeplechase champion Marie Lawrence was one of three prep distance runners to sign letters of intent to compete for the University of Washington next year during the recently-completed early signing period, head coach Greg Metcalf announced Monday.
Lawrence, Max O'Donoghue McDonald and Lauren Saylor will all enroll at Washington in the fall of 2007, and are expected to compete on both UW's cross country and track and field teams.
"We are incredibly excited that Marie, Max and Lauren have each chosen to become Huskies," Metcalf said. "They're the start to what will certainly be an outstanding 2007-08 recruiting class."
Lawrence, a senior at Reno (Nev.) High School, is considered by many to be the nation's top female distance runner in the class of 2007, and chose the Huskies after making visits Arizona State, Oregon and Colorado. The reigning junior national champion in the steeplechase, Lawrence set a championships meet record in the event in 2006, finishing in 10 minutes, 15.26 seconds.
Lawrence also excels in cross country, where she is a three-time runner up at the Footlocker National Championships, and has represented the United States at both the World Junior Cross Country Championships and the World Junior Track and Field Championships.
"Marie is a wonderful young woman and has all the tools to be a great distance runner," Metcalf says. "She knows how to win at the highest level."
Saylor, too, will provide an immediate lift to both Washington's cross country and track and field programs. The fifth-place finisher in the 3,200 meters at the 2006 California state track championships, the Clovis, Calif., native also ran fifth at the Footlocker West Regional Cross Country Championships in 2004.
Metcalf says Saylor fit in perfectly with the UW team the moment she arrived on campus.
"Lauren is an outstanding addition to our program. She is a great student, great athlete, and a great person," he says. "The combination of Lauren Saylor and Marie Lawrence is incredibly exciting for our team. We, for the most part, return everyone from this year's team and to be able to add two distance runners of their caliber changes our team immediately."
Washington's men, meanwhile, will benefit from the addition of Seattle Prep senior O'Donoghue-McDonald, the two-time state cross country champion. O'Donoghue-McDonald won the prestigious Jim Danner Invitational in October - easily the Northwest's largest cross country invitational - and broke a 16-year-old course record at Woodland Park earlier this year.
"Max is everything we look for in an athlete. He is a great student, great athlete, great young man, and has a great attitude," Metcalf says. "He continues to improve every year and we really think he can be a fantastic college distance runner He has the ability to step onto campus and help make our team better. Max is the center piece to what will be a great men's recruiting class."
Washington is expected to sign a number of additional prep athletes when the spring signing period begins in April. For the latest information on Washington track and field and cross country, visit www.GoHuskies.com.