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Huskies Prepare for Pac-10 Track Championships in Berkeley, Calif.
Release: 05/15/2001
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May 15, 2001

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SEATTLE-- The Washington track teams are down to the final three days of preparation leading up to the team's season-finale, the Pacific-10 Conference Track & Field Championships in Berkeley, Calif.

The Huskies, 20 women and 24 men, leave Seattle Friday for the two-day meet in Berkeley, the culmination of a season of hard work and preparation in the form of a bitter battle against eight other schools for Pac-10 pride.

All ten of Washington's NCAA qualifiers will compete for the Huskies at the Pac-10 Championships. A few more individuals, who are just off the qualifying marks, will also represent UW in hopes of improve their times and marks en route to aiding the Huskies' team efforts at the meet. Full results will be available daily on www.calbears.com.

Three-Peat?

Headlining the UW competitors at the Pac-10 meet will be senior Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg, Wash.), who will be aiming for an unprecedented third sprint title sweep or triple double. Including Hooker, only four athletes have swept the 100 and 200-meter titles twice in their career. Hooker recorded the double-double in 1998 and 2000. Pac-10 100 and 200-meter record holder Ato Boldon swept the titles in 1995 and 1996, while Arizona's Micheal Bates took the sprints in 1990 and again in 1991. The first recorded sprint double-double in Pac-10 history was by USC's Clancy Edwards back in 1977 and 1978. Hooker leads the Pac-10 in the 200 and is fourth-timewise in the 100m entering Saturday's meet.

Pac-10 History

The Huskies have competed in the Pac-10 conference track program since its inception in 1979 for men and 1987 for women. Since 1979, five school have captured the coveted Pac-10 men's track and field team title. UCLA has won the honor 11 times in the conference's 21-year history, followed by Washington State with four, USC and Oregon with three each and Arizona with one. The Husky men's highest Pac-10 conference finish was third in both 1996 and 1997. USC is the two-time reigning champion coming into this weekend's meet in Berkeley. On the women's side, UCLA has also found success claiming 11 of the 14 Pac-10 track titles. Oregon won two in the early 1990s and USC broke a three-year stand by UCLA with a win in 1996. The Husky women's best ever Pac-10 finish was fourth in 1995, 1996 and 1998. UCLA brings a four-year streak into this year's championships.

The 2000 Pac-10s Revisited

The Washington men finished tied for fourth with UCLA at the 2000 Pac-10 meet, behind the thrust of sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker's repeat as both 100 and 200-meter champion and the points of Ben Lindsay's shot put victory and runner-up finish in the discus. The only remaining Huskies that finished among the top three at last year's Pac-10s are senior high jumper Sean Steele (Orting, Wash.) and two member's of the third-place 4x100-meter relay team, Hooker and sophomore Greg Forni (Spokane, Wash.). Other retuning point scorers are senior David Bazzi (4th, 10,000m), Brad Walker (6th, Pole vault), and Mike Hill (8th, Steeplechase).

The Husky women finished seventh at the 2000 Pac-10s ahead of California and Oregon. Sophomore Kate Bradshaw (Issaquah, Wash.) was the lone event winner for the Husky women, taking the 10,000-meter title previously held by teammate Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash.), who finished fourth in the event. Bradshaw also returns in the 5000-meters, an event she was eight in as a freshman last year. The third-place Husky 4x400-meter relay team returns three of its four members (Chelsie Pentz, Kelsey Sheppard and Tesha Moore) and adds newcomer Devin Golob (Vancouver, Wash.) to the mix in hopes of edging closer to the event title. Sheppard also returns in the 400m hurdles, an event she was fourth in as a sophomore. Sophomore Megan Spriestersbach (Tacoma, Wash.) looks to better her fourth-place javelin finish as does the newly gelled 4x100m relay team featuring three of last's year four fifth-place winners. Sophomore jumper Zee Ogarro will join the trio in the quest for the 4x100m relay title.

Among the Pac-10's Best

David Bazzi ranks second in the Pac-10 in both the 5000 and 10,000-meter events entering the conference's weekend championships. Kate Bradshaw currently leads the Pac-10 in the women's 10,000m, while Anna Aoki ranks third among conference competitors in the event. Aoki's 5000-meter time ranks third among Pac-10 competitors, while Gillian Palmer's mark puts her fifth in the Pac-10. Sophomore Megan Spriestersbach ranks third among javelin throwers in the Pac-10 conference, while UW pole vaulter Brad Walker is currently second among Pac-10 Championship competitors. Husky hurdler Kelsey Sheppard is currently seventh in the Pac-10 conference in the 400m event entering Saturday's championships, while male counterpart, freshman Brad Goodrich also boasts a seventh-place ranking in the 400 hurdles going into the Pac-10 meet. Junior Jason Fayant ranks eighth in the Pac-10 in the 5K and 12th in the steeplechase entering the weekend meet in Berkeley, while Kate Spigel, the lone Husky female steepler ranks among the top 10 in the conference in the event. Sean Steele and Joel Perry both rank among the Pac-10 top 10 in the high jump, while jumper Tyriff Rudder is among that elite group in both the long and triple jump events. Washington triple jumper Marcus Kelly currently stands fifth in that event. Women's basketball cross-over Heather Reichmann is seventh in the javelin entering the Pac-10s, while javelin up-and-comer Seth Jens is eleventh in his implement. A full list of the Pac-10 event by event rankings is available at www.pac-10.org.

Words from Richburg

On the women's chances at Pac-10s: "On the women's side, we are very thin just in sheer numbers. We will look to the javelin, 5,000 and 10,000-meter distance events and the hurdles as strong events for us. We haven't yet put marks on the board in a lot of events on the women's side. We can't go into the meet hoping good things will happen. You can't finish well in a tough meet like this reaching for something to happen. We just don't have enough people to block point scorers from other teams or enough individuals in our own right to make a run for it."

On the men's gameplan entering Pac-10s: "As far as the men, we hope that the people that have been doing well for us all year-- the David Bazzi, Ja'Warren Hooker, Sean Steele, Brad Walker, etc.-- will be able to continue what they have been doing and that everyone else will be able to pick up and help our efforts. We have a few more men like Marcus Kelly, Brad Goodrich and Seth Jens who have the potential to step up for us and pluck away some points from other teams. We have 10 to 12 men that are potential point scorers and we may have a few surprises."

On overall Pac-10 outlook "Overall, we are just looking to be presentable and not give up to much to the other teams and then we will go from there. We are very positive entering this meet, but we definitely have our hands full. We have to go head to head with USC and UCLA in the sprints and our distance runners will face the Stanford and Arizonas. It will be a tough meet with tough competition, but we will go in and do thebest job we possibly can and hope things break well for us."

Husky Entries for the Pac-10 Championships

Men

100m: Ja'Warren Hooker, D'Andrae Alexander

200m: Ja'Warren Hooker

400m: Cristian Adams

800m: Bevan Brian, Hendrik Kok

1500m: Dustin Duke

Steeplechase: Eric Garner, Mike Hill, Jason Fayant

5000m: David Bazzi, Jason Fayant

10,000m: David Bazzi

110m hurdles: Greg Barber, Marc James

400m hurdles: Brad Goodrich

4x100 relay: Alexander, Goodrich, Hooker, Forni

4x400 relay: Adams, Forni, Goodrich, Graham, Hooker

Pole vault: Brad Walker

Long jump: Tyriff Rudder

Triple jump: Tyriff Rudder, Marcus Kelly

High jump: Joel Perry, Frank Remund, Sean Steele

Shot put: Doug Jackson

Discus: Mat Schwinn

Hammer: none

Javelin: Seth Jens

Women

100m: Jamara Smith

200m: none

400m: Chelsie Pentz, Tesha Moore

800m: Devin Golob, Courtney Inman

1500m: Gillian Palmer

Steeplechase: Kate Spigel

5000m: Anna Aoki, Kate Bradshaw, Gillian Palmer

10,000m: Anna Aoki, Kate Bradshaw, Courtney Spence

100m hurdles: Kelsey Sheppard, Sarah Peterson

400m hurdles: Kelsey Sheppard

4x100 relay: T. Moore, Pentz, Smith, Ogarro

4x400 relay: Moore, Pentz, Golob, Sheppard

Pole vault: MerryJane Bendico, Alexis Jaime

Long jump: Zee Ogarro

Triple jump: Brittiny Roberts

High jump: none

Shot put: Searan Salibian

Discus: none

Hammer: Kameko Gay

Javelin: Heather Reichmann, Megan Spriestersbach

On the Road to the NCAAs

The Zen of Bazzi

Senior David Bazzi (Seattle, Wash./O'Dea) shattered the Washington school record in the 10,000-meter run, recording an automatic qualifying time of 28:34.54 at the Stanford Invitational March 31. The time currently ranks him in the No. 4 spot on the NCAA best list. Bazzi competed in the 5,000-meter run at the 2000 NCAAs.

Bazzi again proved himself to be among the premier Husky distance runners ever by breaking his own Washington record in the 5,000-meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays April 20. The automatic qualifying mark of 13:40.61, which ranks him fifth in the nation in the event, topped his 2000 record-setting time by more than seven seconds.

The Distance Trio

Sophomore Kate Bradshaw (Issaquah, Wash.) and senior Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash.) both reached the automatic qualifying mark in the 10,000-meter run at the Stanford Invite March 31. Bradshaw ran a 33:35.51, which ranks fifth on the NCAA best list, while Aoki's time of 34:04.77 ranks her 10th overall in the event.

Aoki sliced 35 seconds off of her season-best mark to surpass the automatic qualifying standard in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:01.20 at the Mt. SAC Relays April 20. Her time puts Aoki seventh on the NCAA Best List in the 5,000.

Sophomore Gillian Palmer (Helensburgh, Scotland) joined the duo as a qualifier in the 5,000-meter run, clocking a provisional mark of 16:22.91 at the Mt. SAC Relays April 20. Palmer, who finished fourth in the 5,000 at the 2000 United Kingdom Olympic Trials, then improved her time by nearly 12 seconds, registering a 16:10.94 at the Oregon Twilight meet Saturday in Eugene. The mark ranks her 17th on the NCAA best list.

Bradshaw, the first Husky to qualify for the 2001 NCAA Outdoor Championships, reached a provisional mark in the 5,000 with a time of 16:38.97 at the Washington Outdoor Preview, March 3 in Seattle. Her mark ranks her 55th overall in the event.

The Need for Speed (Takes 1, 2, and 3)

Senior Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg, Wash.), an eight-time All-America, made himself a three-event NCAA qualifier recording a provisional time of 45.96 in the 400-meter dash in his first effort of the season, at the Mt. SAC Relays April 21. The time is good enough to put him in 19th place on the NCAA best list. Hooker had already clocked provisional times in both the 100 (10.33) and 200-meter dashes (20.57) in his first outdoor outing of the 2001 campaign at the Cal Quad Meet March 17. He then improved his 100-meter mark to 10.27 at the Stanford Invitational, March 31. His 200-meter time ranks him 11th on the NCAA best list, while his 100-meter mark ranks 24th overall. Hooker was an alternate on the eventual gold-medal winning Olympic 4x400-meter relay team.

Going the Distance

Junior Jason Fayant (Spokane, Wash.) clocked a provisional qualifying mark of 14:02.12 in the 5,000-meter run at the Stanford Invitational March 31. His time ranks 31st on the NCAA best list. Fayant is also a steeplechase competitor for the Huskies at the Pac-10 Championships.

Airing It Out

Sophomore Megan Spriestersbach (Lakewood, Wash.) bettered her season-best mark by more than five feet en route to a provisional qualifying throw in the javelin competition at the Stanford meet March 31. Spriestersbach's throw of 156-4 ranks her 17th on the current NCAA best list.

Going Higher Sophomore Brad Walker (Spokane, Wash.), who earned All-America honors at the NCAA Indoor meet March 10, reached the provisional mark in the pole vault, clearing his career-best height of 17-4 1/2 at the Cal Quad, March 17. He then tacked on another two and a half inches to improve his qualifying height to 17-7 at the Mt. SAC Relays April 21. The mark ranks Walker 14th on the NCAA best list.

A Circle of Hurdles

Junior Kelsey Sheppard (Kirkland, Wash.) ranks 23rd on the NCAA best list after recording a provisional qualifying mark of 58.76 in the 400-meter hurdles at the Stanford Invite, April 1. Sheppard, who competed in the 400 hurdles at the 2000 NCAA championships, then improved the mark to 58.75 at the Drake Relays Thursday.

Groundbreaking

Red-shirt freshman Kate Spigel (Albuquerque, N.M.) finally broke the 11:10 barrier to provisionally qualify for the NCAAs in the women's 3000m-steeplechase, a new event for the women this year. Spigel recorded a 11:09.75 at the Ohio Quad meet May 5. The mark ranks her among the top 100 nationally and is the current UW record in the women's steeplechase.

Washington Track & Field
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