March 7, 2012
NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
March 9-10 Nampa, Idaho Jacksons Track
ON THE TRACK: The NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships bring the indoor track season to its conclusion this weekend, with Washington set to compete for national titles in five different events. Boise State hosts the championships this year at the Jacksons Track in the Idaho Center within the town of Nampa. The Huskies will have three events on the first day, Friday, March 9, and two more on Saturday, March 10.
The UW women are ranked 10th heading into the meet, and a top-10 finish would be just the second in program history. The men's team is looking to continue a run of scoring at nine straight championships, with top-25 finishes in five of the last six years.
The meet will be streamed live online by ESPN3 on Friday from 5:30 to 9:45 p.m. Boise time, which will include J.J. Juilfs in the pole vault at 6:30 Mountain time, Megan Goethals in the 5k at 8:25 and the Husky distance medley relays at the end of the night. Saturday, the ESPN3 feed will resume from 6-9:15 p.m., which includes Goethals and Katie Flood in the 3,000-meters at 8:10 pm local time, 7:10 Pacific.
NCAA.com and broncosports.com will stream all events not contained within the ESPN3 broadcast window.
PURPLE AND GOLD PERSPECTIVE: Of the ten Huskies to head to nationals, eight will be competing at NCAA Indoors for the first time in their careers. Sophomores Megan Goethals and Katie Flood are the two with NCAA Indoor experience, as they both competed in the 3,000-meters last year in College Station, Texas. Of the remaining eight, only sophomore Maurice McNeal has reached a final site of an NCAA meet, as he competed at NCAA Outdoors last year in the 400-meters and 4x100-meters relay, making the semifinals of both.
Megan Goethals, the Rochester, Michigan native, is entered in both the 5,000-meter run on Friday night and the 3,000-meters on Saturday. A year ago Goethals was 13th in the 3,000m and then she went on to place sixth in the 5k at NCAA Outdoors. Goethals finished 18th this fall at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. This season she smashed the school record in the 5k, running 15:54.89 to break the old record by 15 seconds. She then got her 3k auto qualifier at the MPSF Championships, placing third in an indoor PR of 9:08.42, the second-best time in school history behind Flood.
Katie Flood has been on an historic streak this indoor season, setting school records in each of her three races thus far. She was named the USTFCCCA West Region Track Athlete of the Year this week. The Des Moines, Iowa product started her indoor season with an 8:55.31 time in the 3,000-meters at the UW Invitational. Two weeks later she knocked six seconds off the school record in the mile, clocking 4:28.48 at the Flotrack Husky Classic, though she will forego the mile at nationals. Finally, Flood anchored the distance medley relay to the win at the MPSF Championships. All three times lead the NCAA this year and rank in the Top-10 in NCAA Indoor history. A year ago Flood was 10th in the NCAA 3,000-meters indoors, then placing 20th in the 1,500-meters outdoors. She stepped up this past fall with a seventh-place finish in the NCAA Cross Country meet and an individual title at the Pac-12 Championships.
The women's DMR will lead up to Flood with sophomore Chelsea Orr on the 1,200m leg, then senior Jordan Carlson over 400-meters, and freshman Baylee Mires at 800-meters. Flood then closes at 1,600-meters. The quartet won the MPSF Championships title in a school, meet, and Dempsey record time of 10:55.01. Orr (Sammamish, Wash.) has posted a 4:39.78 mile time this year, fifth-best in school history. Carlson broke the UW indoor 400-meter school record this season, running 54.67, while Mires has a top open 800-meter time of 2:09.57, ranking sixth in school history. Carlson and Mires both hail from Spokane, Washington. This is the first trip to nationals for the women's DMR since 2009, when the Huskies finished eighth.
The men's distance medley relay is making its first NCAA Indoors appearance since 2007, when Washington's men completed a run of three-straight years (2005-07) with fifth-place finishes in the DMR. The 2012 group of senior Ryan Soberanis, sophomore Maurice McNeal, sophomore Brad Whitley, and junior Joey Bywater, have run faster than any previous DMR in school history, twice lowering the school record this year. The group ran 9:35.06 to lower the school record at the MPSF Championships, then headed to Notre Dame last weekend for the Alex Wilson Invitational, where they smashed the record once again, running 9:31.68 to make the field as the 10th of 11 teams in. Bywater (Lake Stevens, Wash.) has a mile best this season of 4:01.21, while Soberanis (Camas, Wash.) has run 4:02.32. Federal Way native McNeal's 46.69 open 400-meters is fourth in school history, and Whitley (Liberty Lake, Wash.) has run 1:52 this year open but split 1:49 on the relay.
The last Husky to secure their spot to nationals was freshman pole vaulter J.J. Juilfs. With just a couple months of college competition under his belt, the Eugene, Oregon native will be one of 17 athletes competing for an NCAA title on Friday. Juilfs cleared 17-8 1/4 on a rare fourth attempt at the UW Final Qualifier, as he was part of a three-way jump off. A final miss and the bar would have lowered and he would not have been able to clear the height needed to qualify for nationals. Former Husky Scott Roth won the past two NCAA Indoor Championships in the pole vault, so Juilfs will be seeking another podium spot for the UW vaulters.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: All athletes who meet the NCAA's automatic-qualifying standards in their events are guaranteed inclusion in the NCAA Indoor Championships field, which allows for 284 men and 284 women total. In the event that there are not enough automatic qualifiers to provide full fields, athletes are selected in descending order of performance in each event, creating fields with a minimum of 14 athletes per individual event and 10 teams per relay.
ALL ABOUT ALL-AMERICANS: The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association is in the second year of a new standard for awarding All-America honors. Track and field now has First Team, Second Team, and honorable mention All-Americans. Any athlete scoring a portion of a team point at NCAAs (top eight) in individual or relay events will be a First Team All-American. Second Team status will go to athletes finishing ninth through sixteenth, including ties. Honorable mention will go to any other athletes that reach one of the final sites indoors or outdoors. Therefore all ten Huskies heading to Nampa are guaranteed of at least earning All-America honorable mention. Katie Flood and Megan Goethals each have three previous honors, one each in cross country, a Second Team honor from indoor track last year, and a First Team honor for Goethals from outdoor track while Flood was an honorable mention outdoors. Sophomore Maurice McNeal was a Second Team honoree outdoors last year on the 4x100m relay and an honorable mention at 400-meters.
ADD BOWERMAN AWARD TO THE FLOOD WATCH: With three NCAA leading times in three runs this year, sophomore Katie Flood has drawn a national spotlight and earned a spot on the Bowerman Watch List, a 10-athlete list of athletes contending for national athlete of the year honors, basically the Heisman Trophy of college track. That's what can happen when one runs an 8:55.31 followed by a 4:28.48, then anchors a DMR at 10:55.01. This past fall, Flood capped off one of the best cross country seasons in Washington history with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, earning her first cross All-America honor, and leading UW to second overall. She had previously won the inaugural Pac-12 Cross Country Championships, becoming the third Husky ever to win the conference title. But since stepping back onto the track this indoor season, Flood is proving that no record is safe, as she has made a huge leap from an already impressive freshman season. A year ago, Flood made it to NCAA Indoors, placing 10th in the 3k, and setting a PR of 9:09.85. Her one mile run ended up at a solid 4:47.45. Outdoors, she stuck to the 1,500-meters, running a best of 4:18.80 and winding up 20th overall in the NCAA Outdoor semifinal round. With the year of experience and consistent training, Flood has crushed those first two times and put her name into the NCAA recordbooks. In her debut at the UW Invitational, Flood lowered the UW 3,000-meter record by more than 13 seconds down to 8:55.31, which ranked her as the No. 6 indoor performer in NCAA history, and the No. 5 American collegiate indoors or outdoors at 3,000-meters. Two weeks later at the Flotrack Husky Classic, Flood dropped nearly 20 seconds off her mile PR, running 4:28.48, which is the fourth-fastest time in NCAA history, and dropped six and a half seconds off UW's school record. Two of the three women ahead of Katie on the list won gold (Jenny Simpson at 1,500m) and silver (Sally Kipyego at 10,000m) medals just last summer at the IAAF World Championships. Most recently, at the MPSF Championships, Flood ran the 1,600m anchor leg on UW's distance medley relay, which won in a school, MPSF, and Dempsey record time of 10:55.01, another NCAA leader. Both of Flood's individual times were the fastest in the NCAA since 2009. The Des Moines, Iowa native and prep superstar has come a long way in a year's time, and she and her coaches hope it is just the start of great things to come. She was named the West Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA prior to indoor nationals.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: The Husky women's team remains at No. 10 in the national rankings heading into the NCAA Indoor Championships. They jumped up to that position from No. 23 after the MPSF Championships. The MPSF meet featured the NCAA-leading run by the women's distance medley relay, which set a school record of 10:55.01, and another NCAA Auto time from Megan Goethals, who now is seeded 8th at 5k and 13th at 3k. The women's ranking is thanks in large part to Goethals and Katie Flood. The new school record-holders (Flood in the mile and 3k, Goethals in the 5k) are providing a big chunk of rankings points, as the USTFCCCA's system assigns points based on the national descending order lists, trying to approximate what teams might score at the NCAA Championships.
LAST YEAR AT THE NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: Seven Huskies qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships, hosted this year by Texas A&M in College Station. As always, the meet brought some highs and lows, but nobody went higher than senior Scott Roth, who successfully defended his indoor pole vault national title. Despite not competing in a month while rehabbing a hamstring injury, Roth's experience proved too much to overcome. Despite some early struggles, which included a third attempt at 17-6 1/2, Roth got on a roll with a first attempt clearance at 17-10 1/2 and again at 18-0 1/2. That first jump make proved critical, as only one other vaulter made that bar, and did so on his second attempt, giving Roth the tiebreaker. Ben Peterson of Minnesota was unable to clear another bar, so Roth collected his second national championship, becoming one of just six Huskies all-time to win multiple NCAA titles. Also scoring for the Huskies was sophomores James Cameron and Jeremy Taiwo. Seeded just 12th entering the meet, Cameron qualified for the mile final, and ran to eighth in a time of 4:01.88. Taiwo also finished eighth in his second career NCAA Indoor heptathlon competition. He raised his school record to 5,780, and had PRs in the 60m dash, 60m hurdles, long jump, and 1,000m run, but subpar showings in the shot put and pole vault kept Taiwo from contending for the title. Still, he became the first Husky to ever score in the heptathlon at nationals. Senior Ryan Vu competed for the final time as a Husky, tying for 11th in the pole vault with a 17-2 3/4 clearance, and senior Colton Tully-Doyle was 18th in the 3,000-meter final, struggling in a congested field that knocked him off stride. The women were represented by freshmen Katie Flood and Megan Goethals in the 3,000-meters. Both ran well as the only two freshmen in the field, and finished just out of scoring position, Flood placing 10th and Goethals 13th. The Husky men's 12 points earned them a tie for 18th in the team standings. The 12 points had only been surpassed five times since 1965 and Roth's title was the ninth indoor title in school history. Roth, Cameron, and Taiwo were named First Team All-Americans by the USTFCCCA. Vu, Flood, and Goethals earned Second Team honors and Tully-Doyle was an honorable mention.
RECORDS FALL AT MPSF CHAMPIONSHIPS: The bigger MPSF Championship meet indeed proved to be better, as record after record went by the wayside in the Dempsey Indoor. Seven MPSF meet records and four facility records were set over the two days, with Washington setting new records in both distance medley relays and J.J. Juilfs was third in the pole vault at 17-1 3/4, and McNeal was third with a 400m PR of 46.69. The women also had third-place efforts from Megan Goethals, who hit the NCAA Auto mark in the 3k at 9:08.42, and senior Elisa Bryant who threw the weight 63-1 1/4. Senior Mel Lawrence made her season debut with a fourth-place finish in the 5k, and Logan Miller and Taylor Nichols were fourth in the pole vault and triple jump, respectively.
POLE VAULT TRADITION CONTINUES TO EXPAND: Three-time NCAA Champion J.J. Juilfs, a Eugene native who was one of the top junior vaulters in the U.S. the past two years. Juilfs won the 2011 U.S. Junior Championship with a mark of 17-2 3/4. Nobody expects Juilfs to contend for national titles in his freshman season, but the rookie showed that might not prevent him from doing it anyhow, as he thrilled the Dempsey with a personal-best clearance of 17-7 at the UW Invitational on Jan. 28. He then made his first NCAA cut with a jump-off clearance of 17-8 1/4 at the UW Final Qualifier, earning a trip to NCAA Indoors. That is the No. 5 mark indoors in school history. Senior Robby Fegles also vaulted into the UW Top-10 list this season, clearing the 17-foot barrier for the first time at 17-1 3/4, which ties for 10th on the UW lists. In just his first year working with Licari in 2011, Fegles raised his PR to 16-9 ½ and he took 27th at West Prelims and scored at the Pac-10 meet.
SPRINTERS RETURNING FIREPOWER, CHASE NCAA POINTS: Coach Sheen's sprints crew returns the 2011 Pac-10 Athlete of the Meet, a school record-holder, and four athletes to earn All-America honors last season, giving UW its most depth in the sprints in several seasons. Quarter milers Maurice McNeal and Jordan Carlson have made the biggest impression so far this indoor season. Carlson, who broke the 400-meter outdoor school record last spring, added the indoor record to her name at the MPSF Championships, as she ran 54.67. She also has run the 400m leg on UW's distance medley relay, which will be headed to nationals with an NCAA-leading school record of 10:55.01. McNeal was a Pac-10 finalist at 200-meters and 400-meters last year and made the NCAA semis at 400-meters while setting a freshman record of 45.60. Indoors he's lowered his PR to 46.69 and run on the men's DMR, which also earned an NCAA Indoor bid with a school record time of 9:31.68. When the Huskies head outdoors, junior James Alaka will be looking to further establish himself as one of the NCAA's top sprinters. Alaka became the first Husky since 2000 to sweep the Pac-10 100m and 200m titles last spring, earning Pac-10 Athlete of the Meet honors in the process, and while defending those titles is a high priority, Alaka is also looking to advance to his first NCAA finals this spring and set himself up for a big 2012 summer, which could include an Olympic shot for his native Great Britain. Alaka and McNeal also are half of UW's 4x100-meter relay, which placed 16th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships to earn the group Second Team All-America honors. Also returning from that relay are senior Ryan Hamilton and junior Colton Dunn. The women will look for a big senior year from Carlson outside, and continued development from sophomore Kayla Stueckle, who made NCAA Prelims last year in the 400-meter hurdles and just ran an open 400m PR indoors of 56.11.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS: A total of ten Huskies return in 2012 who earned USTFCCCA All-America honors last season, be it First Team, Second Team, or Honorable Mention. The USTFCCCA began breaking down its All-America honors into the three categories last season. First Team status goes to the top eight finishers in each event at each NCAA track meet, so those who wind up scoring team points at nationals. Athletes that finish 9-16 at the national meet receive Second Team honors, and any athlete who reaches the final site indoors or out but ends up outside the top-16 earns Honorable Mention. Washington has three returning First Team All-Americans in junior James Cameron, senior Jeremy Taiwo, and sophomore Megan Goethals. Cameron was eighth in the mile run at NCAA Indoors last year, while Taiwo was eighth in the heptathlon indoors and 15th in the decathlon outdoors to add a Second Team honor. Goethals scored at the NCAA Outdoor meet, placing sixth in the 5,000-meters, after taking 13th in the 3k indoors for a Second Team honor. Cameron and Taiwo have yet to compete in 2012 due to injuries. Six more Dawgs were Second Team honorees last year. The men's 4x100-meter relay placed 16th at NCAA Outdoors, earning Second Team status for James Alaka, Maurice McNeal, Ryan Hamilton, and Colton Dunn, all of who return this season. Alaka and McNeal also were Honorable Mentions individually at 200m and 400m outdoors, respectively. Sophomore Katie Flood was a Second Team All-American indoors in the 3,000-meters, placing 10th, and an Honorable Mention outdoors at 1,500-meters. Junior pole vaulter Logan Miller took 11th at NCAA Outdoors last year to make the Second Team. Junior Joe Zimmerman rounds out the list of 2011 honorees, as he was an Honorable Mention with a 20th-place javelin finish. Zimmerman was also a conventional All-American in 2010 before the teams were split, as he was fourth in the javelin at Nationals that year. Other Huskies back with previous All-America honors include Mel Lawrence (three times on the track), Christine Babcock (once on the track), Elisa Bryant (eighth in the weight throw in 2009), and Brooke Pighin (seventh in the javelin in 2009). That makes for 14 Huskies on the 2012 roster to earn All-America honors at least once in their career.
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY EARNS MORE NCAA HARDWARE: For the third time in the past four years, the Husky women's cross country team found itself on the podium at the NCAA Championships in November. After the mud settled in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Huskies found out they had just missed the program's second national title by a miniscule eight points, placing second to Georgetown and ahead of defending champion Villanova and No. 1-ranked Florida State. Washington took just one senior to nationals, as Christine Babcock ended her career with a second-place team trophy, a first-place trophy from 2008, and a third-place trophy from 2009. Leading the Huskies all season was sophomore Katie Flood, who captured the inaugural Pac-12 Cross Country Championship and then placed seventh at nationals for her first cross country All-America honor. Also coming on strong late in the year was sophomore Megan Goethals, who took 18th at nationals for her own All-America honor. Babcock, sophomore Justine Johnson, and junior Lindsay Flanagan rounded out UW's top-five at nationals. Those five all earned All-West Region honors as well, as the Huskies won the NCAA West Regional title for the fourth year in a row. After a slow start to the season had dropped UW from a preseason No. 11 ranking down to 24th, Washington returned to prominence with a victory at the Wisconsin Invitational, which featured one of the largest fields in NCAA history. That shot UW back up to No. 2 in the polls. Washington placed second at the Pac-12 Championships but led the conference at NCAAs, and Greg Metcalf was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the third time in the past four years.
HUSKIES ON HISTORIC RUN OF NCAA SUCCESS: The Husky men's track team is currently on an historic run of consistent success at the NCAA Championships. Six years running now the men's team has finished in the Top-25 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, beginning in 2006. Prior to the current run, Washington had placed in the Top-25 at the NCAA Outdoor meet just once from 1986-2005. The men tied for 15th in 2007 and were 15th again in 2010, the highest finish during the string and the highest since 1985. However, the most points scored at a national meet during the streak was in 2008, when the men scored 19.33 points, their most since 1983, to place 16th. The six-year run matches the best in program history, as UW also finished in the Top-25 every year from 1974-79. Indoors, the men's team has placed in the Top-25 at five of the last six NCAA Indoor meets, seven of the past nine, and nine of the past 12. In 2007 and 2008, the Huskies had their best indoor finishes in program history, placing seventh in 2007 and 10th in 2008. Combining the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor meets, the men's team has finished in the Top-25 at 11 of the past 12 championships. The women's team has tallied four Top-25 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor meet dating back to 2004, most recently in 2009, when the women finished 19th with 14 points. Prior to their 18th-place finish in 2004, the women had gone 15 years without a Top-25 finish. Indoors the Husky women have scored at six of the past eight championships, after scoring at only one of the previous 15 NCAA Indoor Championships. The consistent performances at the national championships have led to impressive finishes in the recently created USTFCCCA Program of the Year standings, which require teams to score at the NCAA Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track Championships to qualify. Washington was one of just six programs to place both its men's and women's teams in the 2009-10 Program of the Year standings. The UW men's squad was rated the No. 5 program in the NCAA and the women were 15th. In 2008-09, the inaugural rankings saw the UW women finish ninth overall and the men 10th, making them one of six programs ranked in the Top-10 in both.
DEMPSEY INDOOR: Now beginning its second decade of competition, Washington's Dempsey Indoor continues to enhance its reputation as one of the nation's fastest venues. Over the past three years, more and more elite professionals have come through the Dempsey on a regular basis. The 2011 season saw the likes of track superstars Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Chris Solinsky, Amy Begley, and a return from Husky legend Brad Walker, while 2010 was highlighted by Olympians Nick Symmonds, Shannon Rowbury, Jesse Williams, and Jen Rhines. The Dempsey produces numerous top-10 world marks every year and has seen 39 UW indoor school records broken, and thousands of NCAA qualifying marks. The Dempsey is also the annual host site of the MPSF Championships. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. In addition to its competitive use, the building serves as an indoor practice facility for many UW teams. Following is a list of new facility records set during the 2012 season. Nearly half the women's records were broken this year, with high schoolers getting some amazing records at the Brooks PR Invitational on Feb. 26.
2012 Dempsey Indoor Records
Women's 60m 7.21, Shayla Sanders, Unattached, 2/26/12*
Women's 400m 53.21, Courtney Okolo, Unattached, 2/26/12*
Women's Mile 4:28.41, Sally Kipyego, Oregon Track Club, 2/11/12
Women's 3,000m 8:47.91, Sally Kipyego, Oregon Track Club, 1/28/12
Women's 4x400m Relay 3:33.70, Oregon, 2/25/12
Women's DMR 10:55.01, Washington, 2/24/12
Women's High Jump 6-4, Brigetta Barrett, 2/25/12
Women's Shot Put 58-7 1/2, Julie Labonte, 2/25/12
Men's 400m 46.06, Najee Glass, Unattached, 2/26/12*
Men's 3,000m 7:43.08, Ryan Hill, North Carolina State, 2/11/12
Men's 5,000m 13:29.94, Chris Thompson, Oregon Track Club, 2/10/12
*High School competitor at Brooks PR Invite
HEAD COACH Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in the midst of his 10th season as head of Washington's track and field program, and his 15th year overall on the staff, and remains the driving force behind UW's rise to national prominence. Metcalf, also the head cross country coach, led the women's cross country team to the National Championship in 2008, the first team title for a UW track program. The women went undefeated and Metcalf earned Pac-10 and National Coach of the Year honors. They followed that with a third-place NCAA finish in 2009 and a second-place finish this past fall in 2011, making for three podium finishes in four seasons, with Metcalf earning his second and third Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors. The men's cross country squad has also reached NCAAs in five of the past nine years with three Top-20 finishes since 2006. The track and field squads have also enjoyed a prolonged period of unprecedented success the past several years. The men have finished in the Top-25 at nine of the last 10 NCAA Championship meets, including consecutive Top-10 indoor finishes in 2007 and 2008. Washington was one of six programs to place both its men's and women's teams in the 2009-10 USTFCCCA Program of the Year standings, which measures combined NCAA Championship results across cross country, indoor, and outdoor track. The Husky men's squad was rated the No. 5 program in the NCAA and the women were 15th. In 2008-09 the UW women were ninth and the men 10th. In 2008, the men's team scored its most points at the NCAA Outdoor meet since 1983, finishing 16th. Men's track also won the MPSF Championships in both 2006 and 2007, and Metcalf was named conference coach of the year on both occasions. The women have also had five Top-25 NCAA finishes since 2005, and sent three team members to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 1500-meters. Metcalf's distance runners have combined for three individual NCAA track titles, 13 Pac-12 titles, 67 All-America awards, 159 NCAA Championship bids and 29 school records in 14 years with the program. In addition to their athletic prowess, Metcalf's teams have achieved remarkable things in the classroom. His teams are 10-time recipients of the USTFCCCA All-Academic honor, including National Scholar Team of the Year honors for both 2008 men's outdoor track team and the national champion 2008 women's cross country team. Washington is the second head coaching position for Metcalf, who served in 1996-97 as the head cross country and assistant track coach at Auburn University. A four-time Academic All-Pac-10 honoree at Washington, Metcalf earned All-American honors at the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Championships. His best collegiate mark of 8:41.17 ranks fourth all-time among Husky steeplers. He also was a steeple finalist in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.