May 12, 2003
SEATTLE - First-year track and field head coach Greg Metcalf proudly announced the signing Monday of three outstanding prep sprinters to letters of intent to compete for the University of Washington next season. Thetrio - all of whom are ranked by Track and Field News among the top-10 preps in the nation in at least one event - will enroll in school this fall, and be ready to compete in the 2004 indoor track season.
Highly sought-after prep star Cheri Craddock (Union City, Calif./James Logan HS) - the first cousin of UW point guard Nate Robinson and niece of Husky great Jacque Robinson - headlines the class. A member of the nation's 10th-ranked prep 4x400-meter relay team in 2003, Craddock should have no trouble making a name for herself at Washington, with prep bests that earned preseason all-state honors in the 100-, 200- and 400 meters
"Cheri just turned 17 in April, so she has a lot of room still to improve," says sprints/hurdles coach Dion Miller, in his first year at Washington after mentoring dozens of All-Americans at Texas Tech University. "Despite her age, she has shown a lot of maturity, likely due to the fact that she has been competing at a high level in track and field from a very young age. She has a ton of athletic ability in her genes, with a supportive family that loves the UW and has had a long history of success here."
Joining Craddock on the starting line next season will be hurdler Ashley Lodree (El Cerritos, Calif./El Cerritos HS). A member of the U.S. contingent at the 2001 World Youth Championships, Lodree led the Americans' 1,000-meter medley relay team to a world championship and tied for second in the 100-meter high hurdles, clocking a time of 13.75 seconds that was a national age-group record. Lodree missed her junior season due to injuries, but has re-established herself in 2003, currently ranking fifth in the nation with a season-best of 13.91 seconds in the high hurdles. Lodree is expected to compete in the long jump, sprint relay and hurdles events.
"Ashley missed all of last season with an injury, and as a result she sort of slipped beneath the radar of a lot of schools," Miller says. "As a sophomore, however, she was one of the top sprinters in the nation, winning gold and silver medals at the World Youth Championships. We're looking for big things from Ashley."."
Rounding out perhaps the most decorated group of women's sprinters/hurdlers ever signed by Washington is Denver (Colo.) East High School star Chanda Hardin Scott. Ranked second in the nation indoors in the high hurdles by Track and Field News, Scott boasts a best mark of 13.94 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles that was the 10th-best prep mark entering the 2003 season, and a 300-meter hurdles best of 43.11 that is the nation's ninth-fastest.
"Chanda comes to us from the Colorado Flyers, who with their coach, Tony Wells, have a long history of producing great hurdlers," says Miller. "She'll be a real strength for our program in both the sprints and relays."
Miller says that the signing of such an outstanding group should send the message that Washington is no longer an afterthought in the minds of the nation's top prep sprinters and hurdlers.
"These three are trendsetters for us," the coach says. "We haven't had a group like this in a long time, and it shows that there's no reason we can't get outstanding kids from all over the country. This is where we see this program headed."
In the midst of one of the most successful seasons in UW track and field history, the team expects to sign additional prep athletes in the distances, jumps and throws, with announcements of those signings to come once all letters of intent have been received.