March 5, 2005 - Updated 6:58 p.m.
SEATTLE - Freshman Amanda Miller set a school record at 800 meters and moved into 16th in the national collegiate rankings Saturday, one of five NCAA-qualifying performances by Washington athletes at the UW Last Chance Qualifier at Dempsey Indoor in Seattle.
Of the five Huskies to best the NCAA standards Saturday, four currently rank among the top-16 nationally in the event, and are likely to receive bids to next week's NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The final national-meet field, which will be announced on the NCAA website Monday at 7 p.m. EDT, will include roughly 16 athletes per individual event, and 12 teams in each relay.
Including the UW's qualifiers Saturday, a total of 14 Huskies are currently in position to make the NCAA indoor field, more than in any other year in school history.
"I said it before the year, this was the most talented team I've ever gone into a season with," said third-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "I can't wait to walk into the Randall Tyson Center in Arkansas with however many folks we end up qualifying, and watching heads turn as they see how many people we brought. That's going to be a big day for Washington track and field."
A freshman from Wenatchee, Wash., Miller put a full second between herself and any other UW women's runner all-time in the 800 meters, her second-place time of 2 minutes, 7.32 seconds a second below her own school record of 2:08.33 set earlier this year. Including results from around the nation this weekend, Miller's time places her 16th on the national descending order list, putting her squarely on the bubble for an NCAA berth.
Joining Miller on the bubble was senior Lindsey Egerdahl (Auburn, Wash./Auburn), whose mile time of 4:42.27 ranks third in UW history, and is the 13th-fastest by a collegian this year. Egerdahl, whose race Saturday represented a four-second personal best, is seeking her first NCAA Championships invitation, after falling just one place short of qualifying outdoors in the 1,500 meters in each of the past two seasons.
While Miller and Egerdahl would both be UW's only representatives at the national meet in their respective events, the Huskies could have as many as four competitors in the women's pole vault, after qualifying performances Saturday by sophomore Stevie Marshalek and junior Carly Dockendorf, the latter making her 2005 season debut. The tandem, who cleared 13-7 1/4 and 13-5 1/4, joined senior Kate Soma and junior Ashley Wildhaber on the qualifying list, with each ranked among the top-16, including ties.
Should the foursome all qualify, Washington would be the only school in the 2005 NCAA indoor field with four competitors in any one event. Three Husky pole vaulters qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2004, with Soma taking second, Dockendorf 11th and Marshalek 14th.
"I don't know of that many schools that have ever had that many qualifiers in any one event," Metcalf said. "What those ladies have done over the last two years is nothing short of remarkable. Right now, I'd be hard-pegged to find a more dominant field-event foursome in the entire country."
Husky freshman Jeremy Mineau (Menlo Park, Calif./Menlo-Atherton) rounded out the team's qualifying performances Saturday with a time of 14:11.81 in the 5,000 meters, good for fourth in UW history. It was a particularly good day for UW's Class of 2008, five of whom set marks among UW's top-10 all-time, including Miller's school record. Freshman Norris Frederick (Seattle, Wash./Roosevelt) became just the 12th Husky ever to high jump seven feet with a clearance at 7-0 1/4, equaling the school's second-best all-time indoors, while freshmen Jordan Boase (447.76 seconds, 400 meters) and Kelley DiVesta (12-5 1/2, pole vault) each moved to sixth in UW history in their respective events.
Forty collegiate athletes bested NCAA qualifying standards at the meet, designed to give athletes a final opportunity to qualify for next week's NCAA Indoor Championships. The 2005 Dempsey Indoor finale was one of just six NCAA-approved "last chance" meets on the national schedule; only one meet, the 2005 IC4A Championships in Boston, remains to be contested Sunday.
For complete results from Saturday's UW Last Chance Qualifier, visit www.gohuskies.com. For a first look at the final NCAA Indoor Championships field, visit www.ncaasports.com after 7 p.m. Monday.