Jan. 14, 2011
The Dempsey Indoor facility transforms once again into a track and field madhouse on Saturday, as the UW Indoor Preview kicks off the indoor season in earnest at 8 a.m. The meet is scheduled to run non-stop until approximately 6:30 p.m., with over a thousand athletes running, jumping, vaulting and throwing from sun-up to sun-down.
The meet is the first of a series of six major indoor meets in the Dempsey spaced two weeks apart from now until the UW Final Qualifier on March 5. The season builds towards the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 11-12, after which the track season heads outdoors.
But the wind gauges can stay stored away for now, as the only elements in play in the Dempsey are the consistently elite fields that round the 307-meter Dempsey oval. The Dempsey is one of the premiere destinations for top teams across the nation, as well as many of the world's best professionals, training for national championships and international competition.
The distance events draw the most impressive fields year after year, and already at this first meet Husky fans can catch some of the top American female pros in Shalane Flanagan, Maggie Vessey, and Lisa Koll.
Flanagan is arguably the top American women's distance runner, holding American records at 10,000-meters and at 3,000-meters and 5,000-meters indoors. She won the bronze medal in the 10k at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was second at the 2010 New York Marathon. But reports have her possibility setting the pace in the 3k for Koll, a recent Iowa State grad who won the NCAA 5k and 10k titles last year in dominating fashion and now runs for Nike. Vessey is one of the top 800-meter runners in the U.S., placing seventh at the 2009 World Championships.
Washington's entries will be highlighted by defending NCAA Indoor Champion Scott Roth in the pole vault. Fellow senior Ryan Vu is also set to vault, as is Jason Colwick, Roth's top competitor a year ago who graduated from Rice.
The Huskies will focus some in sprints, and enter a large contingent in the jumps. A number of distance runners will be dialing down to shorter events than they will likely run later in the season. The multi-events group will get work in a number of events, including junior Jeremy Taiwo, the Pac-10 decathlon runner-up last year. The Huskies will wrap up the night with several 4x400-meter relay entries.