Jan. 13, 2007
SEATTLE - Washington's jumpers kicked off the 2007 collegiate track season in style Saturday, combining for one UW record and three NCAA qualifying marks at the UW Indoor Preview at Dempsey Indoor.
Freshman Scott Roth, the nation's No. 1 prep vaulter a year ago, shattered Washington's freshman record by more than half a foot with a NCAA-qualifying clearance of 17 feet, 6 ½ inches, fourth-best ever in UW history indoors and one of the leading marks in the nation this year. Roth, from Granite Bay, Calif., finished second in the event only to former Husky and world No. 1-ranked vaulter Brad Walker, who topped 18-8 ½ to take the early 2007 world lead.
Roth's efforts were matched just hours later by a fellow jumper familiar with the pressure placed upon a freshman phenom, junior Norris Frederick. The two-time All-American from Roosevelt High School earned a pair of NCAA provisional qualifying marks with efforts of 25-x ½ in the long jump and 7-2 ¼ in the high jump, the latter more than an inch beyond his previous lifetime best.
"Scott just showed today one of the reasons we're all so excited to have him on our track team," said fifth-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "Watching Scott reminded me a bit of Norris' debut a couple of years ago -- both big-time recruits who came in with a lot of fanfare and expectation, but were able to shrug that off and come out with big performances right from the get-go. He's going to be fun to watch."
Junior Stevie Marshalek completed the NCAA-qualifying trifecta for UW's jumpers, topping 12-11 ¾ in the women's pole vault, while junior Amanda Miller added a provisional-qualifying mark in the mile (4:46.47).
Miller's time was the fifth-fastest in Washington history, and more than five seconds faster than the Wenatchee native's previous best. Junior Austin Abbott also cracked the history books with a time of 1:50.48 in the 800 meters, good for third all-time indoors, while freshman Shannon Harvey made the Huskies' all-time top-10 in the weight throw (9th,. 45-1 ½).
"Going into the first meet of the year, you never really know as a coach what to expect -- you know what you've seen from your athletes in practice, but translating that to live competition can be a totally different thing," Metcalf said. "That said, I thought there was a lot of good out there -- definitely Amanda and Austin's runs, as well as Alex Harcourt's debut in the 300 meters. It's a long season and there's a lot of time for us to work on the areas that need improvement."
While Saturday's meet was largely developmental in nature, with a mostly small-college field and many of the Huskies' top competitors taking the weekend off from competition, there were still a number of the type of world-class performances for which Dempsey Indoor has become known across the globe.
Oregon Track Club's Nick Symmonds captured the early world lead with a time of 3:56.72 in the men's mile, crushing the facility record of 3:58.40 set by U.S. Olympian Michael Stember in 2003. Former Huskies' Walker also claimed the No. 1 spot in the 2007 world rankings with his aforementioned pole vault clearance, while another former Husky, Carly Dockendorf, became just the fourth Canadian woman ever to top 14 feet in the pole vault with a lifetime-best effort of 14-1 ¾.
Washington's track teams will welcome an elite field of Division-I teams to Dempsey Indoor on Jan. 26-27 for the annual UW Indoor Invitational, the second of six collegiate meets on the 2007 Dempsey Indoor schedule. For complete results from Saturday's meet, or for more information on Washington track and field, visit www.GoHuskies.com.