March 16, 2011
Washington track and field head coach Greg Metcalf announced the addition of 15 student-athletes to the Husky program this week, a diverse mix of nine men and six women that hails from around the country and has piled up the accolades in local, national, and in some cases, international competition. The group will be enrolled in the fall of 2011.
They will join a Husky program that has seen both men's and women's teams place in the Top-15 of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Program of the Year awards in 2009 and 2010. This past weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships, seven more Huskies became All-Americans and Scott Roth won the NCAA indoor title in the men's pole vault for the second year in a row.
The incoming group of talent is largely homegrown, with 11 athletes from the state of Washington. One athlete each hails from Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon, and Wyoming. Eight of the future Huskies have already won state track titles, with their senior seasons still in progress.
"We as a staff are very excited about how this current class has come together," said head coach Greg Metcalf. "This is a group that was very fired up to be at Washington and be part of what we're about. All of these athletes have been leaders on their respective teams and shown the hard work and passion that will allow them to continue to improve and be successful on the next level."
The men's group is heavy on distance recruits, with Coach Metcalf bringing in some of the top local talent from both sides of the state. All four of the local long distance recruits have placed in the top-10 at the Washington State 4A Cross Country Championships over the past two years. Aaron Nelson of Walla Walla was third at the 2010 4A state meet, Tim Cummings of Yakima was 18th in 2010 and seventh in 2009. Tyler King of Coupeville was fifth at the 4A state meet as a junior in 2009 running for Oak Harbor, then competed for Coupeville at the 1A level in 2010 and won every race including the state title. The most recent signee is Dylan Morin of Sheridan, Wyoming, who has come on strong this year and just swept the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m at the 2011 indoor state championships.
Kent Meridian High School product Derrick Daigre is expected to be one of the top mid-distance runners nationally this season. The 2009 Washington State 4A 800-meter Champion at 800-meters, and 400-meter runner-up, also showed great versatility with a 21st-place finish at the 2010 4A Cross Country Championships.
"One of our goals was to reload our talent pool a little bit in the men's distances. Top to bottom, it's a larger recruiting class for us, but I think it's the right combination of personality and talent," Metcalf said.
Washington will need to replace NCAA Champion and multiple All-American vaulter J.J. Juilfs chose UW over his hometown Oregon Ducks due to Washington's pole vault success under assistant coach Pat Licari. Juilfs is the reigning Oregon 6A State Champion in the pole vault, clearing 17-feet for the first time at the 2010 state meet. That 17-0 ¾ clearance ranked Juilfs third nationally in 2010 and first among the class of 2011.
Looking to strengthen UW's recent dominance in the javelin are two of the state and the nation's top hurlers in Quinn Hale of Bellarmine Prep and Curtis Clauson of King's. Both have already thrown over 200-feet entering their senior years. Hale was the 2010 Washington 4A runner-up in the javelin with a toss of 204-10, and was sixth at the U.S. Junior Track & Field Championships last year which was won by current UW sophomore Joe Zimmerman. Clauson is an outstanding overall athlete that placed third in the decathlon at last year's Washington State Multi-Events Championships, and it was during that competition that he threw the javelin 212-feet, 9-inches to rank 13th nationally. He won 1A state track titles in the javelin, 3000m hurdles, long jump, and triple jump.
"Our vaulters have been awesome under Coach Licari and he said that J.J. was the guy we had to have," said Metcalf. "Quinn and Curtis are two of the best in the country and both really wanted to be here. Those three could impact our program right away and score at the Pac-10 meet and beyond."
The women's team will welcome three of the top distance runners in the nation in the fall of 2011. Local track fans will be well familiar with Baylee Mires of Mead High School in Spokane. Mires has been Washington's top mid-distance runner the past two years, collecting six 4A state championships on the track including back-to-back titles at 800-meters, 1600-meters, and on the 4x400-meter relay in 2009 and 2010.
One of the top mid-distance runners from the East Coast will be running alongside Mires next year as Joelle Amaral of Randolph, New Jersey, enters the mix. Washington's distance success has reached over to the Northeast the past few years, bringing in Allison Linnell from Colts Neck, New Jersey in 2009 and Mackenzie Carter from Fayetteville, New York last year. Amaral has quickly become one of the nation's best milers, having just placed second in the mile at the 2011 New Balance Indoor Nationals in a new PR of 4:49.23. She has multiple New Jersey state titles from 800-meters up to 3,200-meters.
Lone Tree, Colorado native Eleanor Fulton is another major addition to the class with a long list of accolades. Fulton took second at the 2010 U.S. Junior Track Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, qualifying her for the IAAF Junior World Championships, where she ran for Team USA in Moncton, Canada and placed 12th overall. Her steeple PR of 10:25 would already rank second in school history. Not just a steeple specialist, Fulton has won five Colorado state track titles, including three in a row at 1,600-meters. Her PRs of 2:10 at 800-meters and 4:45 in the mile could make her an instant contributor on the track, and Fulton has also achieved a lot on the cross country course. She was a 2010 Footlocker All-American after placing 13th at the 2010 Foot Locker National Championships and has three top-five finishes at the Colorado state meet.
"Last year's recruiting class was rather large in the distances, so the goal this year was to fill specific needs and add the right group of personalities to our team," said Metcalf. "With Joelle, Eleanor and Baylee we've done exactly that."
One of the top sprinters in Washington, Haley Jacobson at Issaquah, is also set to wear purple next track season. Jacobson has been a sure bet for the state finals at 100- and 200-meters since her sophomore year, appearing in nine state meet finals including relays. She's the second talented sprinter from Issaquah High to join UW in recent years, following current sophomore Johanna Carr. Assistant coach Raul Sheen expects Jacobson to aid the relays from the onset.
Coach Licari is set to add two new student-athletes to his jumps and vault group, as Federal Way's Jaleecia Roland and Kristina Owsinski of Ridgefield, Wash. will continue their standout careers at Washington. Owsinski was fourth at the 2010 3A state meet in the pole vault and second in 2009, but has recently reached new heights during the 2011 indoor season, twice clearing 12-feet, 6-inches in the Dempsey, a bar that's two feet higher than her 2010 state meet clearance. Licari thinks Owsinski could be the first incoming UW vaulter to go over 13-feet. Roland is one of the state's best all-around jumpers, excelling most in the high jump, where she cleared 5-6 as a freshman, and went 5-7 last year to take second at the state championships. She's also gone past 38 feet in the triple jump, one of UW's strengths in the past two seasons.
Check in with GoHuskies.com on the Track Blawg during the spring to follow how the senior track seasons unfolf for the future Huskies.
Washington's 2011 Track & Field Recruits (Coach Quotes For Each Athlete Included)
» Joelle Amaral - Mid-Distances - Randolph, N.J. - Randolph
» Curtis Clauson - Throws - Edmonds, Wash. - King's
» Tim Cummings - Distances - Yakima, Wash. - Eisenhower
» Derrick Daigre - Mid-Distances - Kent, Wash. - Kent Meridian
» Eleanor Fulton - Distances - Lone Tree, Colo. - Highlands Ranch
» Quinn Hale - Throws - Tacoma, Wash. - Bellarmine Prep
» Haley Jacobson - Sprints - Bellevue, Wash. - Issaquah
» J.J. Juilfs - Pole Vault - Eugene, Ore. - Sheldon
» Tyler King - Distances - Coupeville, Wash. - Coupeville
» Baylee Mires - Mid-Distances - Spokane, Wash. - Mead
» Dylan Morin - Distances - Sheridan, Wyo. - Sheridan
» Aaron Nelson - Distances - Walla Walla, Wash. - Walla Walla
» Kristina Owsinski - Pole Vault - Ridgefield, Wash. - Prairie
» Jaleecia Roland - Jumps - Federal Way, Wash. - Federal Way