March 12, 2005
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Husky senior Kate Soma and junior Ashley Wildhaber earned All-America honors Saturday with respective second- and fifth-place finishes in the women's pole vault at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., while senior Lindsey Egerdahl cinched her first-career All-America honor with an eighth-place finish in the women's mile.
A record 10 Huskies earned All-America honors at the two-day meet, breaking the school's all-time record of nine All-Americans set at the 1983 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Saturday's All-American trio earned 13 team points and a tie for 16th place overall for the UW women, both tops for UW at an NCAA Indoor Championships since 1988. Washington's men, which received points Friday in the long jump and distance medley relay, tied for 28th with seven points. Arkansas captured its third-straight title on the men's side, and its 11th in the last 14 years, while Tennessee earned its first-ever indoor title on the women's side.
The defending Pac-10 and MPSF pole vault champion, Soma entered Saturday's competition with the nation's leading mark, at 14 feet, 3 1/2 inches. The senior from Portland, Ore., passed the opening height of 12-7 1/2, before first-attempt clearances at 13-1 1/2 and 13-5 1/4. Soma needed all three attempts at 13-9 1/4, however, and two attempts at 14-1 1/4, placing her behind Kansas vaulter Amy Linnen entering the final height. When both failed to clear at 14-5 1/4, Linnen captured the NCAA title, and Soma claimed second.
The runner-up honor was the second-straight in NCAA Championships competition for Soma, who placed second outdoors in 2004. The senior, who ranks seventh in NCAA history in the event, captured her fourth-career All-America honor, equaling Aretha Hill and Meg Jones for the most in UW women's history.
"I thought she was going to get it [14-5 1/4] on her first attempt, but she just came down on top of it," said third-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "She's always stepped up at these big meets, though, and today was no exception. There aren't a lot of people who can call themselves four-time All-Americans."
Wildhaber, meanwhile, earned her first-career All-America award on the strength of a third-attempt clearance at 13-9 1/4, her personal best and the second-highest clearance in UW history. The Chehalis, Wash., native joined Soma in becoming the first UW duo to earn All-America honors in the same event since 1994, when Laura Kruse and Monika Parker shared national honors in the javelin.
The two were part of a four-woman UW contingent in the vault, equaling the most for any one school in any one event at this year's championships. Sophomore Stevie Marshalek (Kent, Wash./Kentridge) placed 13th at 13-1 1/2, while junior Carly Dockendorf (Port Moody, B.C./Best Secondary) -- who competed in Utah Friday night for the UW gymnastics team -- was 17th at 12-7 1/2.
"Ashley was the only one of the four who didn't make it to NCAAs last year, so to see her come in here and do so well is terrific," said Metcalf. "To be able to go into any event with four competitors is an awesome weapon to have. Those ladies are building quite a tradition for our program."
Auburn native Egerdahl, who guaranteed herself an All-America honor Friday with a 10th-place finish in the women's mile prelim, made it official in Saturday's final, placing eighth in 4 minutes, 43.86 seconds. The senior is the first UW woman ever to earn an All-America accolade in the mile, and is one of five UW women overall to claim such honors at this year's meet, a feat just eight had accomplished in the previous 24 years of NCAA Indoor Championships competition, combined, since the NCAA added women's track and field in 1981.
Egerdahl was among eight Huskies to guarantee themselves All-America honors on Friday, including freshman Norris Frederick in the long jump (sixth), sophomore Ashley Lodree in the 60-meter hurdles (10th), freshman Amanda Miller in the 800 meters (10th), and the distance medley relay team of Austin Abbott, Sean Williams, Ryan Brown and Andy Fader, which placed fifth.
"We brought 12 athletes to this meet, and 10 are going home All-Americans -- that's amazing," Metcalf said. "We might have to build a new wing in the locker room or something to be able to accommodate all the new photos we're going to have to hang."
The Huskies' 10 All-Americans capped a record-breaking indoor season for Washington, which saw the establishment of five new school records, and 71 marks among the school's top-10 all-time. The team will now turn its attention outdoors, hosting the UW Outdoor Preview on Saturday at Husky Stadium.
For complete results from this weekend's NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, visit www.ncaasports.com.