May 8, 2004
SEATTLE - Despite a driving wind and rain that hampered many events, and forced the cancellation of the men's pole vault, Washington's track and field athletes rallied to set one Husky Stadium record and win 11 events total Saturday at the Ken Shannon Invitational, the annual regular-season finale for Washington track and field. Many of the Northwest's top college and club athletes were on hand Saturday to bid goodbye to the Huskies' outstanding seniors, several of whom will compete next weekend at the Pac-10 Championships in Tucson, Ariz.
Tuscon was clearly on the minds of several of UW's athletes Saturday, who combined to record 13 marks below the Pac-10 Championships qualifying standard, and another eight that met NCAA Regional Championships standards.
Tops among the UW achievers Saturday was two-time All-American pole vaulter Kate Soma, who became the first woman ever to clear 13 feet at Husky Stadium with a winning mark of 13-2 3/4. Soma broke the stadium record of 12-11 1/2 she had shared with current UW freshman Stevie Marshalek. Marshalek placed second Saturday at a height of 12-9 1/2, a clearance matched by Huskies Carly Dockendorf and Ashley Wildhaber.
While the day was billed as a final chance to see Washington's seniors at Husky Stadium, it was the Huskies' freshmen who took over the spotlight with wins in four events. Interlake High School alum Martin Bingisser started the Class of 2007 off on the right foot with a win in the first event of the day. Bingisser's hammer toss of 185 feet, 5 inches was two feet beyond that of his nearest competitor, and was well beyond the standards for both postseason competitions.
Hillsboro, Ore., freshman Brian Harris made it two in a row for the UW's frosh throwers, heaving the javelin 210-11 for a 17-foot win. Even former Huskies threw their hats in the fray, with 2003 UW alum Mat Schwinn taking the discus with a 185-foot, 4-inch toss.
Also throwing her hat into the NCAA Regional Championships mix was Husky sophomore Cherron Davis, whose shot put toss of 47 feet, 3 inches was a season-best by more than a foot, and moved the Auburn-Riverside graduate into the No. 9 position in the 2004 Pac-10 rankings entering next week's conference meet.
Joining Davis at the Regional for the second-consecutive year will be junior Andy Fader, whose time of 3 minutes, 46.69 seconds in the 1,500 meters was good for a two-second win, and a two-second improvement over his previous career-best.
While several UW athletes posted Pac-10 and Regional qualifying marks, only one walked away with Ken Shannon Invitational trophy in both hands. Husky sophomore Brynne Steward blasted across the 100-meter hurdles in 14.06 seconds for a one-second victory, then fought through the rain and wind for a win in the quarter-hurdles as well, finishing in 1:03.13.
Rounding out the list of UW victors were junior Sean Williams in the 400-meter hurdles (54.04 seconds) and a trio of newcomers competing for the first time ever at Husky Stadium. Bellingham's Kira Harrison (4:31.61) led fellow UW frosh Marie Foushee (4:32.61) across the line in the 1,500 meters, each recording times well below the Pac-10 Championships standard, while junior transfer Patrick Davidson (11.25) captured the 100-meter dash and freshman Adam Shimer (14:52.86), who is redshirting the 2004 season, won the 5,000 meters.
Before the weather turned sour in the afternoon, two former Pac-10 steeplechase champions lit up Husky Stadium with impressive marks. Current UW assistant coach and former Arizona State standout Kelly MacDonald crushed the stadium record in the women's steeple, her time of 10:03.68 falling barely three seconds short of the U.S. Olympic Trials standard. Just minutes later, former Husky and 2002 Pac-10 steeplechase champion Mike Hill blazed to a 15-second victory in the men's event, finishing just 10 seconds shy of the Trials standard in 8:42.54.
The regular season behind them, Washington will send a strong team to Tucson next weekend for the Pac-10 Championships, which begin Friday and conclude Saturday. For complete results of the 2004 Ken Shannon Invitational at Husky Stadium, visit www.gohuskies.com.