March 20, 2004
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Husky freshmen Martin Bingisser, Stevie Marshalek and Brian Harris each earned NCAA Regional Track and Field Championships berths Saturday, three of nine total regional-qualifying performances by UW athletes at the Cal Poly Invitational, the first official meet of the Husky outdoor track season.
Just a week into the season, Washington athletes have already recorded 10 total qualifying marks for May's regional meet, which will determine the fields for this year's NCAA Championships in Austin, Tex.
Leading the Husky qualifying parade were the freshmen, two of whom were making their collegiate track and field debuts. Prep All-American Brian Harris (Hillsboro, Ore.) made his debut memorable with a mark of 219 feet, 10 1/2 inches in the javelin, good for a regional-qualifying spot and a four-foot win over Husky junior Rigel Wise (Kelso, Wash.). Wise's throw of 215-0 1/4 was a 10-foot personal best, and ensured the Husky of a third-straight postseason appearance.
The Huskies' 1-2 punch in the javelin was matched in the women's pole vault, where freshman Stevie Marshalek (Kent, Wash.) and two-time NCAA All-American Kate Soma (Portland, Ore.) led all finishers. In addition to being a regional qualifier, Marshalek's winning height of 12-10 1/2 was the fourth-best ever outdoors by a UW woman, while Soma's best of 12-6 1/4 qualified her for a chance to improve upon her second-place finish at the regional meet a year ago.
Other Huskies to add their names to the regional-qualifying list included freshman Martin Bingisser in the hammer (185-2 1/4), sophomore Grace Vela in the long jump (19-6 1/2), junior Megan Spriestersbach (153-3 3/4) and sophomore Tiffany Zahn (146-8) in the javelin, and junior Lindsey Egerdahl in the 800 meters (2:09.70).
In all, Washington added 15 postseason qualifiers at the meet -- including the nine regional qualifiers and six Pac-10 Championships qualifiers -- and earned victories in eight events, including a sprints sweep by junior Davaon Spence (Kingston, Jamaica). Spence's winning 100-meter time of 10.55 seconds was just one one-hundredth of a second shy of the Huskies' all-time top-10, while Lauran Dignam's mark of 12.09 in the women's 100 meters fell just .09 shy of the UW's all-time list.
With the University of Washington currently on Spring Break, the team will remain in California this week to train for next weekend's Stanford Invitational, one of the marquee events on the collegiate track schedule. For complete results of the 2004 Cal Poly Invitational, visit www.phototiming.com.