Jan. 29, 2005
SEATTLE - Husky senior Kate Soma soared into a tie for the NCAA pole vault lead Saturday with a vault of 13 feet, 9 1/4 inches at the UW Indoor Invitational, one of three indoor school records, five NCAA qualifying marks and 19 performances among Washington's top-10 all-time set by UW athletes at the two-day meet.
Soma and junior Shane Charles each set UW records Saturday, while freshman long-jumper Norris Frederick soared to 13th in the IAAF World Rankings. In all, collegiate athletes combined for 45 NCAA qualifying marks, two Dempsey Indoor facility records, and one national record at the meet, which included 11 of the top-25 men's and women's teams in this week's Trackwire national rankings.
"This meet has me fired up about out team this year," said third-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "We had some of the best teams in the country here, and our team matched them stride for stride. If we can perform like that all season, we're going to knock some people's socks off."
Soma flew higher than any Husky Saturday, clearing the UW-record height of 13-9 1/4 inches on her first attempt to crush her own UW record of 13-5 3/4 set last season. The reigning Pac-10 champion and 2004 NCAA runner-up, Soma automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with the vault, which is tied for the best by a collegiate woman this year, and equals the fifth-best by an American woman of any age in the 2005 IAAF World Rankings.
"Kate's jumping better at this point in the year than she ever has before," Metcalf said. "This is shaping up to be a special year for her."
Also special on Saturday was junior transfer Charles, who broke a 12-year-old UW indoor record in his 800-meter debut. A junior-college All-American in the 400-meter hurdles in 2004, Charles blazed to a time of 1:50.24 at 800 meters Saturday, nearly a half-second below Mitch Leffler's record of 1:50.65 set in 1993. The Grenada native, competing in just his second meet for UW since transferring from Central Arizona JC this fall, returned two hours later to lead the Huskies to second in the 4x400-meter relay, their time of 3:10.60 the third-fastest in UW history and just four-tenths of a second off the pace set by UCLA.
Soma and the 4x400-meter relay were among six Huskies to better NCAA qualifying standards at the meet, but few drew a bigger crowd than Roosevelt High School grad Frederick, who claimed the 2005 under-20 world lead with a jump of 25-4 1/2 in his UW debut two weeks ago. The Husky freshman rewarded the crowd with three jumps over 25 feet, the last a 25-foot, 6 1/4-inch monster that nearly took him out the back of the Dempsey Indoor pit. The jump ranks second among collegiate vaulters in 2005 and 13th in the IAAF World Rankings, and is just one-quarter inch shy of the UW record of 25-6 1/2 set by former world record holder Phil Shinnick in 1965.
"Coming into this year, we were returning two of the best teams we've had in a long time, so to have newcomers like Shane and Norris step up the way they have has me super-excited," Metcalf said. "I have to remind myself sometimes that it's still early in the season; these guys are in championship form already."
Sophomore Ashley Lodree, meanwhile, moved to second on both UW's indoor 60- and 200-meter dash lists with respective times of 7.44 and 24.81 seconds, the former an NCAA provisional qualifier. Lodree is already provisionally qualified for NCAA competition in the 60-meter hurdles, the event in which she placed fourth at the national meet in 2004.
Additionally, junior Ashley Wildhaber bettered the NCAA provisional standard in the pole vault with a best of 13-5 3/4, second all-time at UW, while senior Sidney Brown (3rd all-time, triple jump, 40-3 1/4), freshman Austin Abbott (3rd, 800 meters, 1:51.02), senior Sean Williams (5th, 400 meters, 47.93), junior Bruce Jackson (6th, 800 meters, 1:51.17), freshman Kelley DiVesta (t6th, pole vault, 12-4), freshman Sheree Ellis (7th, shot put, 46-11 3/4), freshman Arlecier West (8th, weight throw, 46-5 1/4) and sophomore Kevin Peters (8th, 5,000 meters, 14:33.86) each set marks among UW's all-time top-10.
Senior Grace Vela set a UW pentathlon record of 3,723 in competition Friday, while freshmen Bonnie Snyder and Liz Fuller each cracked UW's pentathlon top-10. Washington's distance medley relay also broke into the team's all-time rankings, with of Abbott, Ryan Brown, Tim Freeman and Andy Fader combining for a 9-minute, 51.36-second effort.
Washington's track squads, both ranked among the national top-20 in this week's USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings, will take the next weekend off before welcoming back many of the same teams for The Husky Classic, Feb. 12 at Dempsey Indoor.
Competition continued late Saturday with the final two events of the men's heptathlon. Complete results will be uploaded to www.gohuskies.com immediately upon the meet's conclusion.