March 9, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS - The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced today the field for the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships, hosted by Texas A&M this Friday and Saturday, March 13-14. Twelve members of the Washington track teams will be making the trip to College Station to compete with the nation's best.
The championships will be held at Texas A&M's McFerrin Athletic Center. A total of 568 participants will compete in the championships. Student-athletes qualified for the championships by reaching the automatic or provisional standards established for each event.
The 16th-ranked Husky men will be sending four individuals to compete. A pair of seniors with national title aspirations headlines the quartet. Senior Jordan Boase (Bothell, Wash./Bothell) will be making his third-straight national meet appearance in the 400-meters, where he is ranked third with a school-record time of 46.09 seconds. A four-time All-American, Boase was third at NCAA Indoors last year and fourth at the 2008 Outdoor meet.
Senior Austin Abbott (Chehalis, Wash./W.F. West) and new school record-holder in the mile will be competing at his sixth NCAA meet, and fourth NCAA Indoor meet. Abbott, a five-time All-American, will be going for his first such honor in the mile run, after placing seventh in the 800-meters at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor meet. Last Saturday, Abbott ran 3:58.23 to break the UW school record in the mile and his time ranks seventh among the entries. He also ranked in the Top-10 in the 800-meters, but chose to take a shot at the mile this season.
Junior Jake Schmitt (Kentfield, Calif./Redwood) snagged the 14th and final spot in the 5,000-meter run with his time of 13:54.25 set just this past Saturday. Schmitt was 21st in the 10k at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor meet and led the Huskies at the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Local newcomer Jeremy Taiwo (Renton, Wash./Newport) also will test the waters at his first NCAA Championships, as he qualified 12th in the heptathlon. Taiwo won the heptathlon title at the MPSF Championships, setting a school record with 5,559 points. He will look to be Washington's first All-American in the indoor multi-events.
The 19th-ranked Washington women's team will be sending eight athletes to nationals, including five members of the 2008 Women's Cross Country National Championship Team. The Huskies will look to light up the track in the distance medley relay, which features cross country All-Americans Christine Babcock (Fr.; Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge) and Katie Follett (So; Fort Collins, Colo./Fort Collins), plus junior Kailey Campbell (Seattle, Wash./Ballard) and senior Falesha Ankton (Benicia, Calif./Benicia). Babcock and Campbell both would have also qualified for the mile run but will be focusing on a strong finish in the DMR.
Follett will double up in the 3,000-meter run, where she will be looking to stick with redshirt freshman Mel Lawrence (Reno, Nev./Reno). Lawrence and Follett placed 25th and 26th, respectively at the 2008 Cross Country Championships. Lawrence is ranked fourth in the 3k field after running a school-record 9:08.50 at the MPSF Championships. This will be her first NCAA Track appearance, while it will be the third for Follett who was an All-American in the mile indoors last year.
Another member of the women's National Championship distance crew set to run this weekend is senior Anita Campbell (Vancouver, B.C./Aldergrove). Campbell is seeded 12th in the 5,000-meter run. She set a school record earlier this year at the distance in a time of 16:09.26. She has run the 5,000-meters at two NCAA Outdoor Championships but this will be her first outing indoors.
The Dawgs will also be represented by a pair of first time qualifiers in the field events. Spokane's Kelly McNamee (Ferris HS) made the cut in the high jump in her freshman season. McNamee is the only freshman in the field, and will look to earn UW's first All-American honor in the women's high jump since Vicki Borsheim in 1988. Another local product, sophomore Elisa Bryant out of Inglemoor High School, will attempt to become the first Husky All-American ever in the weight throw. Bryant has held the school record since her freshman season, and improved upon it with a mark of 64-feet, 8-inches this year.
Finals on day one will include the 5,000-meter runs, DMR, women's weight throw and high jump, while Taiwo will complete the majority of the heptathlon. The remaining event finals will take place Saturday.
ESPN360.com will stream portions of the championships live both days. Remaining coverage will be available on www.NCAA.com. Additionally, ESPN2 will air a 90-minute show at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time, Monday, March 23.