May 23, 2006
On the Track: After coming together for outstanding team performances at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, Washington's individuals can turn their attention inward this weekend as they compete for automatic NCAA Championships berths at the 2006 NCAA West Regional Championships in Provo, Utah. With perhaps the deepest field of any of the four regionals being contested nationwide this weekend, and automatic berths guaranteed to only the top-five individuals and top-three relays, the competition is certain to be intense for the 28 Huskies who have qualified for the meet, including top seeds Norris Frederick (long jump) and Shane Charles (400m hurdles). For a complete event schedule for this week's meet, visit www.GoHuskies.com.
NCAA Selection Process: Automatic NCAA Championships berths will be granted to the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relays, from each of the four Regionals contested nationwide May 26-27. Athletes qualify for Regionals by meeting pre-determined standards, or by winning their conference title. The NCAA then supplements the Championships field with the highest-ranking competitors (6-7 per individual event and 5-6 per relay) from the national performance lists, provided the athlete finished in the top-12 in their event at a Regional meet and was not among the finishers to earn automatic berths. The lone exceptions are the 10,000 meters and multi-events, in which athletes qualify directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting provisional and automatic standards.
Seeding the Field: Nine Husky individuals enter the 2006 NCAA West Regional ranked among the region's top-five in their event, while three more boast marks among their event's top-eight. Senior Shane Charles, fresh off a Pac-10 title in the 400-meter hurdles, is the No. 1 seed in that event, while sophomore Norris Frederick boasts top-five marks in both the long jump (1st, 25-10) and high jump (4th, 7-1). Fear not if your favorite Husky is not among the top-five -- in the three years of regional competition, eight of the UW's 16 automatic NCAA Championships qualifiers have entered the meet ranked sixth or lower. For a complete list of UW competitors and their regional and national rankings, see the box on page three of this release.
Live Results!: Results will be updated to the web continuously throughout the 2006 NCAA West Regional Championships; links to live results can be found at www.GoHuskies.com, www.BYUCougars.com and www.NCAASports.com. In addition, complete results along with a full recap of UW action including quotes, historical notes and event descriptions will be posted to www.GoHuskies.com following the conclusion of each day's events.
2005 Regional Redux: Washington crowned its first two Regional champions in 2005 -- Kate Soma in the pole vault and Ryan Brown at 800 meters -- and saw 11 Huskies earn automatic NCAA berths, more than the team's total from the previous three Regionals combined. Those wins helped the UW women to ninth place overall -- their second top-10 team finish in three years of Regional competition -- and carried the UW men to 11th, their best-ever Regional team effort.
What a Weekend! 2006 Pac-10 Championships Redux: Senior Shane Charles broke UW and Grenadan national records in a Pac-10 winning performance in the 400-meter hurdles, while Norris Frederick (long jump) and Juan Romero (javelin) each earned titles of their own, leading UW's men to a fourth-place finish at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships in Eugene, Ore. The three individual titlists were the most for a UW men's team since 1976, while the Huskies' fourth-place finish was the team's best since 1997. Fifteen of the 24 Washington men entered in the meet earned top-five finishes in least one event, as did four UW women. Led by second-place finishers Carly Dockendorf (pole vault) and Amy Lia (1,500 meters), the Husky women placed seventh overall with 41 points, as Arizona State captured its first-ever Pac-10 women's crown with a 154-point total . USC (140) won the final event to edge host and defending champion Oregon (133) for the men's title, ahead of Arizona (122) and fourth-place Washington (99).
Pac-10 Prowess: While UW's teams have never claimed a Pac-10 title outright, the wins by Shane Charles, Norris Frederick and Juan Romero in 2006 did extend an impressive string of seven straight years with at least one individual titlist. That streak matches the UW's longest-ever streak of individual champions -- a seven-year run from 1974-1980, highlighted by Scott Neilson's four titles in the hammer. Furthermore, Washington's three Pac-10 champions in 2006 were its most individual titlists since 1977, and are surpassed in UW history only by the six conference titles won by UW men at the Pac-8 Championships in 1976.
Balanced Attack: One look at the results from the 2006 Pac-10 Championships reveals the secret behind the success of UW's men's team in 2006. Traditionally recognized for its success in the distance and throwing events, Washington captured Pac-10 titles in the long jump and 400-meter hurdles, while maintaining its tradition with a win in the javelin. To provide perspective, Norris Frederick's win in the long jump was the first by a UW long jumper at the Pac-10 Championships since 1985, while Shane Charles' victory in the 400-meter hurdles was the first by a Husky men's athlete in that event since Jim Seymour won the 440-yard hurdles at the 1971 Pac-8 Championships. In all, the Huskies had at least one top-five finisher in every event area, including the sprints (Isaiah Stanback, 5th, 100m dash), hurdles (Shane Charles, 1st, 400m hurdles), relays (4x400m, 3rd), distances (Ryan Brown, 3rd, 800m; Austin Abbott, 4th, 1,500m), horizontal jumps (Norris Frederick, 1st, long jump), vertical jumps (Frederick, 2nd, high jump; Sam Roberts, 4th, pole vault; Warren Eickhoff, 5th, high jump) and throws (Juan Romero, 1st, javelin; Martin Bingisser, 3rd, hammer; Will Conwell, 4th discus).
Rankings Report: Washington's men rode the crest of a top-four Pac-10 Championships finish to a tie for 17th in this week's Trackwire 25, the team's highest ranking of the year. Washington scored 14 points in the ranking (which predicts team scores and individual finishes at the upcoming NCAA Championships) on a projected second-place NCAA Championships finish for Shane Charles (400-meter hurdles), a sixth-place finish for Norris Frederick (long jump), a seventh-place finish for Will Conwell (discus) and an eighth-place finish for Juan Romero (javelin). Washington's 4x400-meter relay was also listed in Trackwire's individual rankings (9th), as were UW women Carly Dockendorf (7th, pole vault), Amy Lia (9th, 1,500 meters) and Ashley Lodree (9th, 100-meter hurdles). The two points earned by Dockendorf's ranking left UW seven shy of the nine needed for top-25 mention. Texas (65) continues to lead the women's rankings by a significant margin over Auburn (50), while Florida State (63) actually increased its narrow lead over UTEP (61) on the men's side.
Monster PR of the Week: To keep true to the spirit of this space, designed to recognize those athletes who continue to improve and excel outside the spotlight, it is necessary to ignore a number of the most outstanding performances from May's Pac-10 Championships which have already received extensive coverage elsewhere. Instead, this week's Monster PR of the Week honor goes to distance runner Trisha Rasmussen -- the sophomore from Phoenix, Ariz., ran 12th in the steeplechase at the Pac-10 meet, her time of 11:04.87 a six-second PR and the sixth-fastest time in UW history. Even more impressive is the fact that Rasmussen was running her first steeplechase in over a year, having only competed in the event once before, at the 2005 UW-WSU Dual. Rasmussen was a consistent top-seven performer for the UW cross country team in the fall, and placed 56th at the 2005 Pac-10 Cross Country Championships.
Charles Sets National Record: Senior Shane Charles has never had any problem clearing hurdles. The native of St. Andrew's, Grenada, leapt over his most recent hurdle on May 22, crushing his own national record in the 400-meter hurdles to win Washington's first Pac-10 title in the event since 1971. Charles' time of 49.51 seconds -- tops in this week's NCAA West Regional field and second-fastest in the nation this year -- was more than a half-second faster than the previous national record of 50.12 seconds Charles set in April, and broke by three-tenths the UW record of 49.85 seconds that had stood for 15 years. Charles also ranks among the best in UW history in the 4x100- and 4x400 meters, holds UW's indoor record at 800 meters, and was an All-American indoors in the 1,600m relay. Charles set Grenada's junior national record in 2001, and was an All-American at Central Arizona JC before enrolling at UW in 2004-05. Since then, he has leapt over every hurdle placed in front of him, including a third-place finish in the 4x400 meters at the 2006 NCAA Indoor meet that was UW's best since 1976.
Charles Sheds Hayward Monkey; Regional Next?: Senior Shane Charles was able to shed one monkey off his back with a win in the Pac-10 400-meter hurdles final at Oregon's Hayward Field, but one still remains. Charles entered last year's NCAA West Regional at Oregon needing only to finish in the top-eight to guarantee an NCAA Championships berth, but stumbled over the second hurdle and was unable to finish the race. Upon his return to Eugene in April for the 2006 Pepsi Invitational, the senior false-started at the line and was disqualified, leaving him 0-for-his-last-2 in 400-meter hurdles races in Eugene entering May's Pac-10 meet. Charles put an emphatic end to that streak, however, with a record-breaking win at the Pac-10 Championships, and now enters this week's NCAA Regional Championships with a chance to drive the final stake into the heart of last year's disappointment by earning the NCAA Championships individual berth which eluded him last year. As was the case in 2005, Charles' lofty national ranking means he needs only to finish in the top-12 to guarantee national-meet selection.
Huskies Climb U.S., World Rankings: Hurdler Shane Charles isn't the only Husky making international headlines. Assistant coaches Kelly Strong and Aretha Thurmond each broke into the top-15 of the current 2006 IAAF World Rankings in May, while junior Ashley Lodree and senior Will Conwell each rank among the top-10 Americans in the hurdles and discus, respectively. Strong's steeplechase time of 9:48.90 at UW's Ken Shannon Invitational was the eighth-best ever by an American woman, and ranks 11th in the world this year. Thurmond, meanwhile, moved to No. 1 among Americans, and fifth in the world, with a throw of 211-4 to win the discus at the Modesto Relays. That mark would also rank among America's all-time best if not for the fact that Thurmond herself has thrown farther, her best a 216-3 effort that ranks third in U.S. history. Among current Huskies, Conwell ranks ninth among U.S. men in the discus (200-1) while Lodree is 12th among U.S. women in the 100-meter hurdles (13.09w). Former Huskies Christian Belz and Brad Walker are also among the world's best ¬¬-- Belz boasts the world's 14th-fastest mark this year in the 10,000 meters, while Walker is No. 1 in the pole vault in the current IAAF World Rankings, and is the world's 12th-ranked men's athlete overall.
Romero Breaks Out: Without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the 2006 Pac-10 Championships was the javelin win by senior Juan Romero. Forced to redshirt the 2005 season with an injury, Romero entered the Pac-10 meet having thrown the javelin in competition just five times, total, in two years dating back to an eighth-place Pac-10 finish in 2004. Romero put all of that frustration into his first throw at the 2006 Pac-10 meet, unleashing a lifetime-best 233-foot, 10-inch monster that was 13 feet beyond his previous best, and 25 feet farther than he had ever thrown entering the 2006 campaign. Seeded sixth entering the event, Romero routed the Pac-10 field with his record toss, winning the conference championship by more than 10 feet. The Renton (Wash.) High School graduate, who has never before competed at a Regional Championships, enters this week's West Regional with the ninth-best mark in the nation, and likely needs only a top-12 finish to guarantee an NCAA Championships berth.
30 Years of Spear Success: From NCAA champions Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo to 2004 All-American Megan Spriestersbach and 2006 Pac-10 champion Juan Romero, Washington has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the javelin. Since 1982, when women's track and field joined the NCAA, the Huskies have sent at least one javelin thrower to all but four NCAA Championships, including All-American performances by Spriestersbach in 2004, and Heather Reichmann in 2003. The list of Washington's javelin greats includes five Pac-10 Champions (Uusitalo, `87; Roberson, `88-89; Troy Burkholder, `96; Romero, `06), three NCAA champions (Uusitalo, `86, Tom Sinclair, `79 Cary Feldman, `71) and three U.S. Olympians (Atwood, `80, `84; Rod Ewaliko, `80; Fred Luke, `72). In UW history, only the four NCAA titles won in the hammer -- all by Scott Neilson -- eclipse the Huskies' national-championship prowess in the spear, which includes a UW-record 27 All-Americans all-time.
Jumping Out of His Shoes: Sophomore Norris Frederick literally jumped out of his shoes at the 2004 World Junior Championships, tearing apart the footwear which guided him to five state prep titles. Undeterred, the Roosevelt High School senior strapped on borrowed shoes and placed 19th in both the high and long jumps. It takes more than an equipment malfunction to ground Frederick, who in just 16 months has already become a Pac-10 champion, two-time All-American and three-time NCAA Championships participant.. Already the only Husky in history to both long jump 25 feet and high jump seven feet, Frederick accomplished the feat on consecutive days at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships, winning the long jump with a wind-aided lifetime best of 25-10 before taking second in the high jump with a lifetime-best 7-1 the next day. Those marks rank Frederick No. 1(long jump) and No. 4 (high jump) entering this weekend's West Regional, giving him the chance to become the first Husky ever to earn berths in both events at the same NCAA Championships. Frederick has been stellar in big meets this year, mirroring his Pac-10 finishes at the MPSF Indoor Championships in March, and earning his second-career All-America honor with a 12th-place long jump finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Frederick placed sixth in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet -- tops by a UW long jumper since 1965 -- and tied for 17th in the high jump at the 2005 NCAA outdoor meet. One of just seven Huskies ever to long jump 25 feet -- something he has done 12 times already --and one of just 12 to high jump seven feet, Frederick is the first ever to do both, repeating the feat both in 2005 and 2006. Frederick finished the 2005 season ranked eighth in the IAAF World Junior rankings in the long jump, and was 26th in the rankings as a prep senior.
Remember Me?: To the casual Husky fan, senior Will Conwell may have fallen off the radar in 2003 when he gave up a career as a UW linebacker to throw the discus. After redshirting the 2003 season with two broken wrists, Conwell burst back onto the scene in 2004, taking fourth place at the Pac-10 meet, before adding a fifth-place finish in 2005. A 177-foot discus thrower entering the 2006 season, Conwell has made a rapid ascent up the collegiate rankings, culminating with a 200-1 toss at San Diego in April that ranks sixth on the NCAA performance list, and is the ninth-best by an American thrower this year. The Kent, Wash., native's effort earned him the Pac-10's Field Athlete of the Week award on Apr. 24 -- just the 10th time a UW men's athlete has received the conference honor -- and vaulted him to No. 7 in the Trackwire collegiate rankings, which predict the order of finish at the NCAA Championships. Once expected to follow his uncle, UW legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory, Conwell has instead followed in his famous uncle's track and field footsteps-- the elder Conwell was a five-year track letterwinner at Washington, ranks fourth in UW history in the shot put, and placed fifth in the event at the 1996 NCAAs.
Brains And Brawn: Junior Martin Bingisser has captured an indoor conference title and posted UW's best marks in a decade in the hammer and weight throws --but it's his achievements outside the cage that set him apart. A three-time third-place hammer finisher at the Pac-10 Championships and the 2006 MPSF champion in the weight throw, Bingisser earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy in June 2005 after just three years of college, and is currently enrolled in the UW School of Law. The Interlake High School graduate, who plans to use his final two years of eligibility while pursuing his J.D., has been on a tear since transferring from Cal State Northridge in 2004, culminating with a lifetime-best toss of 212 feet, 9 inches in April that ranks third in UW history, and 17th in the nation this year. Bingisser won the weight throw with a 64-foot, 8 3/4-inch toss (UW's best since 1985) at March's indoor conference meet -- just the second weight throw competition of his UW career. In addition to his academic and athletic prowess, Bingisser is among the country's leading hammer scholars -- his website, HammerCenter.com, provides comprehensive coverage of the hammer at the prep and college level, plus videos and other instruction tools.
The `Lo' Down: Perhaps it's no surprise that junior Ashley Lodree wasted no time getting back to business in 2006 -- just about everything the three-time All-American does is fast. Lodree was on fire at the end of the 2005 season, clocking the seven-fastest hurdles times of her life in her final seven races of the year, including a 13.17-second effort in the semifinals at the U.S. Nationals that tied the UW record she set two weeks prior in the NCAA final. Nine months later, Lodree picked up where she left off with a 13.20 posting in her season debut in March, then followed that up with a wind-aided 13.09 performance at Mt. SAC to claim the No. 6 spot in the current NCAA rankings. Lodree enters 2006 looking to improve upon her fifth-place finish at last year's NCAAs, while adding to the three All-America honors she has already earned, including two indoors in the 60m hurdles (10th, 2005; 9th, 2006) and last year's outdoor effort. With more than a year remaining in her UW career, Lodree could surpass Kate Soma's UW record of five All-America honors, while also seeking UW's first-ever NCAA hurdles title. Lodree boasts top-10 all-time marks all 11 of the events she has attempted in her UW career, including four records -- no other woman in UW history has ever ranked on as many of UW's all-time lists, while just one, distance runner Regina Joyce, has held as many UW records.
Tracking Ashley Lodree: Prior to the 2005 Pac-10 Championships, Ashley Lodree had never run below 13.34 in 15-career 100-meter hurdles races -- she has run above that just once since. Following is a list of each of Lodree's 13 100-meter hurdles races since the 2005 Pac-10 final:
Date, Meet, Heat, Time (Wind)
5/14/05, Pac-10 Championships, Final, 13.23 (w: 0.0)
5/27/05, NCAA West Regional, Prelim, 13.34 (w: 0.7)
5/28/05, NCAA West Regional, Final, 13.31 (w: 1.9)
6/8/05, NCAA Championships, Prelim, 13.30 (w: -0.4)
6/8/05, NCAA Championships, Semi, 13.17 (w: -0.6)
6/10/05, NCAA Championships, Final, 13.20 (w: 0.6)
6/25/05, USATF Championships, Prelim, 13.33 (w: -0.9)
6/26/05, USATF Championships, Semi, 13.17 (w: -0.3)
3/25/06, ASU Invitational, Final, 13.20 (w: 0.2)
4/15/06, Mt. SAC Relays, Final, 13.09 (w: 2.2)
4/29/06, UW-WSU Dual, Final, 13.25 (w: 1.4)
5/13/06, Pac-10 Championships, Prelim, 13.21 (w:1.3)
5/14/06, Pac-10 Championships, Final, 13.59 (w: 2.0)
Relay Rewards: There's never been a better time to run on a UW relay than right now. Currently ranked 16th nationally, the Huskies' 4x400-meter squad is seeking to do something never before accomplished at UW: qualify for three-straight NCAA Championships. Two Husky foursomes earned All-America honors at March's NCAA Indoor meet -- the first time in UW history that has happened -- including a third-place finish for Washington's 4x400-meter relay that was the best-ever for a UW relay indoors, and the best by a UW 4x400-meter squad, indoors or out, since winning the 1976 NCAA outdoor title. In fact, since LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., took over UW's relay program in 2005, five of the Huskies' six relays have qualified for the NCAA Championships, with the sixth -- the 2005 indoor 4x400-meter squad -- falling just one spot shy on the NCAA's provisional-qualifying list. Of those five, three earned All-America honors -- a feat accomplished by just three UW relays in the previous 30 years -- including back-to-back fifth-place finishes for UW's distance medley relay. Washington has had multiple relays at back-to-back NCAA Championships -- something that had not occurred even once previously in 85 years of NCAA competition -- and has put three of its four relays atop the UW record books, with the fourth (the 4x100-meter relay) clocking UW's second-fastest time ever, and the fastest by a UW sprint relay in 22 years.
Passing the Baton: Washington's homegrown 4x400-meter squad -- featuring three runners from the Seattle area -- was electric at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, breaking a storied UW record with a time of 3:07.03 to place third, best-ever by a UW relay indoors. The Huskies return three of the four competitors from last year's squad which broke a 30-year-old UW outdoor record with a 3:03.85 at Pac-10s - including a 44.8-second anchor by returnee Bruce Jackson - and ran 11th at the NCAAs, after a 14th-place finish in 2004. Joining returnees Jackson (Nathan Hale HS), Ryan Brown (Renton HS) and Grenada's Shane Charles are Seattle-area natives Jordan Boase of Bothell, an NCAA 4x100-meter participant in 2005 and an All-American on the 4x4 indoors this season; junior transfer Alex Harcourt of Kent, whose lifetime best of 46.57 tops any current Husky; and senior Phil McCary of Kirkland, the team's alternate in 2005 and an NCAA Championships participant in 2004.
Brown is Back: Less than two years ago, Ryan Brown was out of track and field, having walked away from a promising career. Barely a year after returning to the sport last January, however, Brown is a Pac-10, West Regional and MPSF Champion, and is one of just 10 athletes in UW history to earn four-career All-America honors. Brown's turnaround began in the 2005 Pac-10 800-meter final, as the Renton native outkicked Pac-10 favorite Jon Rankin of UCLA down the homestretch to win in 1:47.31, the second-fastest in UW history and the eighth-best by a collegiate athlete in 2005. Just two weeks later, Brown outkicked Rankin again to win the same event at the NCAA West Regional, and capped the year with matching 10th-place finishes in the 800- and 4x400 meters at the NCAA Championships. In February, Brown made it two straight in conference championship finals, winning the MPSF Conference 800-meter crown in 1:50.35 to lift the UW men to their first-ever indoor conference title, before capping his indoor campaign with a pair of All-America honors in the 4x400 (3rd) and distance medley (5th) relays. Brown competed just one year at Renton High School, going undefeated at 800 meters as a senior. He walked on to the UW squad in 2002-03 and was terrific indoors, before leaving the team in the summer, stating a desire to focus on school over sports. Brown returned to the track in 2005, leading UW's DMR to fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships and breaking UW's indoor 800-meter record, before embarking on his epic outdoor campaign.
Elite Company: In leading both UW's 4x400-meter and distance medley relay squads to All-America honors at March's NCAA Indoor Championships, junior Ryan Brown and senior Bruce Jackson became two of just 10 Huskies ever to earn multiple All-America honors at one meet. Sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, UW's most prolific All-American with 10 career honors, holds the UW meet record with three All-America awards at the 1998 NCAA Indoor Championships, and is the only Husky ever to accomplish the All-America double more than once. Brown's honors, furthermore, were the third and fourth of his career, a total matched by just nine men in UW history, and exceeded by only four -- Hooker (10), Scott Neilson (7), Rick Noji (6) and Steve Anderson (5). History is also in the making on the women's side, where junior Ashley Lodree's three All-America honors are tied for the fourth-most ever by a UW woman. Like Brown, Lodree has potentially three NCAA meets remaining to break the UW women's record (5), set by pole vaulter Kate Soma from 2002-05.
Stanback on Track: Husky football fans looking for a post-spring fix should keep an eye on the track -- Washington's track and field team includes four members of the UW football team. The most accomplished of the four is junior Isaiah Stanback -- an 11-game starter for the UW football team in the fall, Stanback established himself as a legitimate two-sport star with a fifth-place finish in the 100-meter dash at the 2006 Pac-10 Championships. Stanback's time of 10.48 seconds in the Pac-10 prelim (backed up by a 10.50 in the Pac-10 final) was the eighth-fastest in Washington history and the third-fastest ever in competition by a member of the UW football team. The quarterback-turned-sprinter was joined at the Pac-10 Championships by linebacker Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, who placed 14th in the shot put and 16th in the discus, and is accompanied on the UW track team by junior wide receiver Corey Williams, UW's top sprint hurdler indoors; and junior defensive end Brandon Ala, a prep All-American in the discus. Washington also boasts the talents of former UW gymnast and pole vault All-American Carly Dockendorf, while basketball players Jill Bell, Cheri Craddock and Angie Jones have each competed in track and field in recent seasons. Perhaps to repay their debt, the UW track team loaned senior J.R. Wolfork, a 2005 NCAA Championships qualifier in the long jump, to the Husky football squad in the fall; Wolfork appeared in all 11 games and forced a fumble on special teams.
You Might Recall: The practice of mining talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for UW's track program in the past. A glance at UW's career top-10s reveals several such performers, including 110m hurdles record-holder Spider Gaines, a tailback for the UW football team in the 1970s, and sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, the UW record-holder at 100m, 200m, and 400m and a Husky wide receiver from 1997-98. Others on the list include football players Ernie Conwell (No. 5, shot put), Dana Hall (No. 3, 110m HH), Sterling Hinds (No. 3, 100m/200m), Pete Kaligis (No. 6, shot put), Orlando McKay (No. 2, 400m), Brent Merritt (No. 6, 400m) and Tony Parrish (No. 5, triple jump), basketball players Tara Davis (No. 1, triple jump; No. 2, long jump) and Heather Reichmann (No. 2, javelin) and All-American volleyball star Makare Desilets (No. 5, high jump). UW's two-sport stars have excelled on the world stage, too -- Herman Brix and Paul Jessup, stars of UW's football teams in the 1920s, each competed at the Olympics, and set world records in the shot put, and discus. Among current Huskies, football players Isaiah Stanback (No. 8, 60m), J.R. Wolfork (No. 9, long jump), and Shelton Sampson (No. 3, 200m) and former footballer Will Conwell (No. 5, discus) each rank among UW's all-time best, as does former gymnast Carly Dockendorf (No. 2, pole vault).
Vault Supremacy: The 2005 season left little doubt that Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting. An NCAA-record five UW women's vaulters competed at the NCAA Championships in 2005 -- including four each indoors and out -- while three earned All-America honors, and senior Kate Soma brought home the 2005 NCAA outdoor title. Three of the five will be in action at this weekend's NCAA West Regional, including senior All-Americans Ashley Wildhaber (5th, indoors) and Carly Dockendorf (6th, outdoors), and sophomore Kelley DiVesta. All five, including the departed Soma and injured junior Stevie Marshalek, boast bests above 13 feet -- a feat never before accomplished by any NCAA quintet -- while three of the five (Soma, Wildhaber and Dockendorf) rank among the 10-best vaulters in Pac-10 Conference history:
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2006, 15-1
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8v 4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
6. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
7. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
7. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
9. Carly Dockendorf, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4 9. Ashley Wildhaber, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4i
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
Double-Duty Dockendorf: There is no doubt that pole vaulter/gymnast Carly Dockendorf -- the nation's No. 2 returning vaulter -- is one of the finest two-sport athletes in Washington sports history. The Port Moody, B.C., native added to her legend last March with a 17th-place finish in the vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas, just 19 hours after competing in Utah for the Husky gymnastics team. Dockendorf then closed the 2005 campaign with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, her vault of 13-9 1/4 equal to the ninth-best mark in Pac-10 history, and the fifth-best mark ever by a Canadian citizen. Balancing two sports is nothing for Dockendorf -- as a prep, Dockendorf competed in volleyball, wrestling, rugby and soccer, in addition to gymnastics. The UW senior scaled back to just two sports in college, earning back-to-back NCAA gymnastics berths in 2003 and 2004, and four-straight NCAA track berths from 2004-06, including an All-America performance outdoors last season. Amazingly, Dockendorf has been pole vaulting for less than four years, having begun the sport only after watching Husky vaulters train during her freshman gymnastics season in 2002. Dockendorf began her two-sport double on a full-time basis in 2003, winning All-America honors on the gymnastics floor while placing eighth in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Championships. She completed her gymnastics eligibility in 2005 with the most perfect 10s (six) of any UW gymnast all-time, and has one full year of track eligibility remaining in 2006.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Dana Buller, 2005, 14-9 1/2
2. Kelsie Hendry, 2005, 14-7 1/2
3. Stephanie McCann, 2004, 14-5 1/4
4. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 3/4
5. Carly Dockendorf, 2005, 13-9 1/4
6. Sue Kupper, 2005, 13-7 1/4
6. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
8. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
8. Adrienne Vangool, 2004, 13-5 3/4
10. Gabriella Duclos, 2006, 13-3 1/2i
Rare Double: From the first time she entered a vault competition -- going 12-1 1/2 at Husky Stadium in 2002 -- it was obvious that senior Carly Dockendorf, already a decorated UW gymnast, was in an elite class of athletes. In 2004, Dockendorf moved into a class all her own, qualifying individually for the NCAA Championships in both track and field and gymnastics. While it is not uncommon for an athlete to compete in multiple NCAA Championships in one year, to do so in two unrelated sports in which qualification is based on individual, not team, performance is extremely rare. She nearly repeated the feat in 2005, qualifying for the NCAA Track Championships indoors and out, but falling just one-tenth of a point shy of qualifying for the NCAA gymnastics meet in April.
10,000-Meter Talent: Those who only follow UW track and field outdoors may not have heard of redshirt freshman Jeremy Mineau, but they certainly have now. Making his outdoor debut in March before a hometown crowd at Stanford, the Menlo Park, Calif., native obliterated UW's freshman record in the 10,000 meters and climbed to second on UW's all-time list. Mineau's time of 28:49.69 -- second this year by a collegiate freshman and 15th in the nation overall -- was just the third sub-29 minute 10K in UW history, and was just 15 seconds shy of David Bazzi's school record. Mineau had already made a name for himself during the indoor and cross country seasons, where he has been one of UW's top competitors since the start of 2004-05. Mineau broke a storied UW indoor record at 5,000 meters this season, clocking a 13:54.03 in February, and was UW's top finisher, in 93rd, at the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Should Mineau earn his first NCAA track berth this season (the top 23-25 athletes in the final 10,000-meter rankings will be selected to the Championships field in June), he will have history on his side -- both of UW's other sub-29 minute runners, Bazzi in 2001 (28:34.54) and Curt Corvin in 1986 (28:58.2h) went on to earn All-America honors in their sub-29 seasons.
Four-Minute Man: Sophomore Austin Abbott ran into the history books at February's Husky Classic, becoming just the third UW runner ever to break four minutes in the mile. Abbott's time of 3:59.47 was UW's third-fastest ever, and one of just 10 four-minute miles by collegiate athletes indoors this year. A graduate of W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash., Abbott enjoyed a banner freshman season in 2005, capturing All-America honors in the distance medley relay, and placing second in the Pac-10 1,500-meter final. Abbott also set UW freshman records in the 800 meters indoors, and the 1,500 outdoors, including a half-mile best of 1:49.64 that was briefly a UW record. While his four-minute mile and subsequent second-place MPSF Championships finish earned him fame this winter, and a certain NCAA Championships berth in the mile, Abbott unselfishly chose to forgo the mile in favor of the DMR at March's NCAA Indoor meet, ultimately anchoring the team to a second-straight fifth-place NCAA finish. The sophomore will have a chance to make up for that decision this weekend, as the ninth overall seed in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA West Regional Championships.
Former Husky Returns: One new face on the Husky squad will be familiar to all who follow Washington track and field -- former Husky Aretha (Hill) Thurmond returns to Montlake this year as a volunteer assistant throws coach, working alongside her husband, first-year UW assistant coach Reedus Thurmond. A four-time All-American during her time at Washington, the former Aretha Hill has made an even bigger name for herself since graduating from the UW in 1998, winning back-to-back U.S. discus titles in 2003 and 2004, and representing the United States at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games. Thurmond, who was elected captain of the U.S. team at the 2005 World Championships, boasts a discus best of 216-1 that is the third-best in U.S. history, while her collegiate best of 215-3 is Pac-10 record, and is the second-best ever by a U.S. collegian. Interestingly, Thurmond is one of five former Huskies on the UW coaching staff, including head coach Greg Metcalf (UW, `93), assistant coach David Bazzi (UW, `01) and volunteer assistants Rob Minnitti (Boise State, `00), and Jacob Predmore (UW, `00).
NCAA Indoor Championships Redux: Washington's track and field teams combined for 10 All-America honors at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, equaling a UW single-meet record set just last year. An all-time best nine of those honors went to UW men, including top-five finishes in the 4x400-meter and distance medley relays, and a 12th-place effort in the long jump for sophomore Norris Frederick. Washington's 4x4 -- including sophomore Jordan Boase, junior Ryan Brown and seniors Shane Charles and Bruce Jackson -- earned a third-place finish, best-ever by a UW relay indoors, while the distance medley relay squad of Brown, Jackson and sophomores Carl Moe and Austin Abbott matched the 2005 DMR's fifth-place NCAA finish. The UW women were also outstanding, with junior Ashley Lodree netting her third-career All-America honor (9th, 60m hurdles), and pole vaulters Carly Dockendorf (12th) and Stevie Marshalek (14th) each earning top-15 finishes.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his fourth year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross country, and his ninth year overall on the UW staff. Metcalf was recently named the 2006 MPSF Men's Coach of the Year, after leading the UW men to three individual conference crowns and the Huskies' first-ever indoor team title. In his first three-plus seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to three top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships, and has guided the Husky men to three-consecutive top-30 indoor finishes, including a tie for 19th in 2006. Individually, 15 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with six grabbing All-America accolades, a list which does not include the team's All-America distance medley relays in 2005 and 2006. In addition, Metcalf has led the Huskies' women's cross country team to the NCAA meet eight of his first nine years at the helm. In eight years atop Washington's distance program, Metcalf has coached 17 All-Americans, six Pac-10 champions, 13 school-record setters and 74 NCAA Championships competitors. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeple, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2006 is in no way short on accolades. Ninth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has coached 12 All-Americans, including NCAA champions Brad Walker and Kate Soma. Second-year sprints/hurdles coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr., meanwhile, has had a banner first year-and-a-half, coaching his athletes to a Pac-10 title and six All-America honors, including three for hurdler Ashley Lodree and three relays. First-year throws coach Reedus Thurmond, a three-time All-American at Auburn, and captured the SEC discus title as a senior, while fifth-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is fourth-year distance coach Kelly Strong, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles, and is currently ranked ninth in U.S. history in the steeplechase. Ironically, the most accomplished members of the Husky coaching staff are two of the the team's volunteer assistants -- former Huskies Aretha (Hill) Thurmond and Rob Minnitti. A four-time All-American, two-time Olympian and two-time U.S. champion, Thurmond enters her first year at UW, assisting husband Reedus Thurmond with the UW throwers. Minnitti, meanwhile, has had a prolific first year coaching UW's javelin throwers, mentoring Juan Romero to a Pac-10 title and Tiffany Zahn to a second-place Pac-10 finish. An All-American in the javelin at both Washington and Boise State during his collegiate career, Minnitti was the 11th-place finisher at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.