March 5, 2007
SEATTLE - Eleven Washington track and field athletes, including nine individuals and one relay, were among those selected Monday by the NCAA to participate in this weekend's NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The two-day meet at Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center begins Friday and continues through Saturday evening. ESPN will televise the Championships on a tape-delay basis on Mar. 13, beginning at 11:30 a.m. PST.
The 11 Huskies competing in Fayetteville this weekend bring with them impressive credentials, having combined for one NCAA title, two Pac-10 titles, seven MPSF indoor conference titles and 16 career All-America honors. Washington's men, who enter the meet ranked No. 6 nationally by the nation's coaches, boast a particularly strong lineup with eight total entries, including reigning NCAA 800-meter outdoor champion Ryan Brown (Renton, Wash./Renton) and a double-entry in the high- and long-jumps for two-time All-American Norris Frederick (Seattle, Wash./Roosevelt).
Each of UW's eight men's entries rank in the top-11 nationally in their event, prompting fifth-year head coach Greg Metcalf to set lofty goals for his team.
"Just looking at the national performance lists, if our guys all go out and do what they're capable of doing, this could be a pretty exciting weekend for us," he says, not wanting to make too bold a prediction. "The NCAAs are as much about timing as anything -- you have to be at your best at the right time for the pieces to all come together. If we do that, we can definitely come home with some hardware."
Central to the Huskies' team efforts will be six-time All-American Brown, who will compete in both the 800 meters and the third leg of the distance medley relay, a 4,000-meter relay comprised of a 1,200-meter leg, a 400-meter leg, an 800-meter leg and a mile anchor. Brown won the NCAA 800-meter title outdoors last June, and boasts the nation's fourth-fastest qualifying time this year.
Brown will be joined in both events by teammate and training partner Austin Abbott (Chehalis, Wash./W.F. West), a junior who has led UW's DMR to fifth-place finishes at each of the past two NCAA indoor meets. Abbott ranks ninth nationally in the 800 meters and is 11th overall in the mile, but will not run the latter event to focus on the other two. Abbott also qualified in the mile in 2006, but chose to forgo his individual entry to devote all of his attention to the DMR.
"We think that, given the overall strength of the field and the way Austin is running right now, that he has a better chance of scoring high in the 800 than in the mile," Metcalf says.
Frederick will also compete in two events, including Friday's long jump and the high jump Saturday. The Roosevelt High School alum will be making his sixth- and seventh-career NCAA Championships appearances, including four in the long jump and three in the high jump. A two-time indoor long jump All-American, Frederick enters the meet ranked third nationally in the event with a best of 25 feet, 10 inches, and is No. 11 overall in the high jump at 7'-2 ½".
Washington will also put a pair of entries in the men's pole vault, where freshman Scott Roth (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay) and junior McKane Lee (Arlington, Wash./Arlington) each rank among the nation's top-five competitors. Roth enters the meet with the nation's No. 2 mark at 18'-1 ¾", and a chance to capture the Huskies fourth NCAA pole vault title since 2003. Lee, too, will bid for All-America honors after nearly not competing indoors due to a patella tendon injury suffered last winter.
"We weren't even sure two months ago that McKane was going to be able to compete indoors, much less be the No. 5 guy in the nation going into NCAAs" Metcalf says. "He's worked hard to get himself back to this level."
Junior sprinter Alex Harcourt (Kent, Wash./Kentridge) will also compete individually in the 400-meter dash, in which he is ranked No. 11 overall, while juniors Carl Moe (Auburn, Wash./Auburn-Riverside) and James Fredrickson (Kent., Wash./Kentridge/CS Northridge) round out the 10th-ranked distance medley relay squad, which also includes alternate Brian Govier (Fr., Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island).
"The really exciting thing for me about this group isn't just that they're about as talented as any who are going to walk into the Tyson Center this weekend, but that of the nine guys we're taking, nine are from the state of Washington," Metcalf says. "This is a team that is truly representative of the outstanding prep track and field talent we have in this state, and on Friday, we're going to put them up against the best the nation has to offer and see who comes out on top."
Washington's women will also be sending three entrants to the national meet, including two with previous NCAA Championships experience.
Senior Ashley Lodree (Richmond, Wash./El Cerrito) earned a pair of qualifying spots in the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles, which could mean as many as four races in two days for the talented senior. Lodree, who ranks seventh nationally in the hurdles and 20th in the dash, has already won four All-America honors during her distinguished career, and needs just one more to equal pole vaulter Kate Soma's UW career record of five All-America honors.
Lodree is a six-time NCAA Championships competitor in the hurdles, including four indoors and two outdoors, but will be making her first-career national-meet appearance in the dash.
"Ashley wants to run both events, so we're going to let her," Metcalf says. "She's earned the right to do that with the way she has trained not only this year, but throughout her whole career. She's a real role model for our young sprinters."
Washington will also have a pair of entries in the women's mile, including junior Amanda Miller (Wenatchee, Wash./Eastmont) and sophomore Dani Schuster (San Diego, Calif./Kamiakin (Kennwick)). Miller earned All-America honors in the 800 meters in 2005, while Schuster will be making her first-career NCAA Championships appearance. Both boast outstanding times, with Miller's 4:41.36 ranking eighth in the NCAA Championships field, and Schuster's 4:43.33 the field's 11th-fastest mark overall.
The Huskies' 11 NCAA Championships competitors are one shy of its school-record total of 12 indoor championships competitors in 2005. Those 12 -- including Brown, Abbott, Frederick, Lodree and Miller -- combined for 10 All-America honors, setting a UW single-meet record that was equaled at the 2006 NCAA Indoor meet.
For start lists, event schedules and live results from the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, visit www.GoHuskies.com.