June 1, 2001
EUGENE, Ore.-- A pair of Husky tracksters saw action during day three of the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships in Eugene, Thursday with senior David Bazzi snagging All-America honors.
Bazzi (Seattle, Wash./ O'Dea), who garnered the first All-America honor of his career with an eighth-place finish in Wednesday's 10,000-meter run, took eighth overall in the 5,000 meters Friday night to grab his second All-America accolade in just over 48 hours. Bazzi, who was making his second NCAA outdoor appearance, ran his second-best 5K time of the year, a 13:54.71, to snag the eighth-place finish. The Washington record holder at both 5,000 and 10,000, he entered the meet boasting a career best clocking of 13:40.61 in the 5K that earned him fifth place at the Mt. SAC Relays April 20. Bazzi finished 12th in the 5,000m at the 2000 NCAAs and also competed in the 5,000m at the NCAA Indoor Championships March 9 in Fayetteville, Ark., finishing 13th.
"I went out there to be aggressive and run hard," Bazzi said after the 5K awards ceremony. "I felt good out there, unlike Wednesday in the 10K. I enjoyed myself out there and it felt good to be in front and leading after two miles. I went out and made my move early and then tried to hang on for the rest of the race. I was just trying to finish those last 800 meters, but I feel phenomenal."
On his last race in a UW uniform: "Scoring in both races was my goal coming in. I thought I could finish higher, but getting two All-Americans in two days feels great. This was the best way for me to go out. I ran aggressive and hard and just went for it and left nothing out there on that track. I gave the best that I had in both races and I am really pleased with how I finished."
On the 5K, 10K double: "In the 10K, I felt sick and was not able to run as I wanted to. Sometimes the mind is willing but the body is not able. That is what happened then, but that let me have more to give tonight. I am just really pleased with my finishes in both races. Being a two time All-American feels great."
Husky distance coach Greg Metcalf said Bazzi will be sorely missed and has come a long way in his years at UW.
"Our goal coming in was for him to score in both events," Metcalf said. "He battled in the 10K on Wednesday but he persevered. He ran well when he was a freshman, but then he struggled for a while. Just over the last year and a half he has really proven himself as a premier distance runner. He has worked really hard and did all of the little things right and here he is. When you are a runner out there, you not only have to be good but lucky. Bazzi was both today. He is the kind of guy that you definitely will miss in your program, but he will be back here in Eugene in two weeks for the USA Championships, so his running career is far from over."
Sophomore Megan Spriestersbach (Tacoma, Wash.) also competed for the Huskies, finishing 18th in the javelin competition Friday afternoon with a best throw of 137-5. Spriestersbach, who ranked 19th among javelin participants entering the NCAAs, was making her first appearance at the national track event. She earned her spot at the meet with a career-best throw of 156-4, which won her the javelin title at the Ohio Quad meet in Athens, Ohio, May 5. Spriestersbach has won seven javelin titles in 11 tries and has improved her career-best mark by nearly 10 feet this year. She also registered a third-place finish at the 2001 Pac-10 Championships.
NCAA championship action will conclude with the final day of competition beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday with the long jump for the heptathlon. Senior Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg, Wash.) will make his final appearance in a Husky uniform at 6:35 p.m. Saturday competing in the 200-meter dash finals. Hooker, who ranked 11th among 200-meter runners entering the competition, finished second in his semifinal heat with a time of 20.46. He enters the finals ranked seventh overall by time.
Also competing for Washington will be Scottish distance transport Gillian Palmer (Helensburgh, Scotland), who will tackle the 5,000-meter run event. Palmer, who enters the race as the 17th-ranked runner, claimed the Drake Relays 5,000-meter title and also helped lead the Husky cross country team to the NCAA Championships last fall. She was UW's top 1500-meter runner and ranked second among Huskies in the 3000 and 5000m. Palmer recorded her personal best mark, a 15:56 at the United Kingdom Olympic Trials in 2000. Her season-best time at Washington was an automatic qualifying 16:10.94 recorded here at Hayward Field just a few weeks ago, at the Oregon Twilight meet May 12.
Full results from the NCAA Championships are available daily on the NCAA web site at www.ncaachampionships.com and on the Oregon web site at www.goducks.com.