April 5, 2008
EUGENE, Ore. - Windy conditions made for a rough day across the board at the Pepsi Team Invitational, but the Washington men's and women's track and field teams still combined to post eight NCAA Regional qualifying marks, win five events, and set three new school Top-10 marks.
The Huskies struggled to fourth-place finishes in both the men's and women's team standings, due mostly to a thin roster that left them unrepresented in several events, including all the relays. Oregon won the men's dual with the 10th-ranked Huskies, 230-125.5, and the UO women 192-78, although the 23rd-ranked Minnesota women's team came out on top among the foursome.
For each of Washington's first two outdoor meets, the wind has not cooperated, making regional times hard to come by. Today's meet, held at Oregon's Hayward Field, was the first outdoor meet for most of UW's top performers, including four who were NCAA Indoor All-Americans just three weeks ago.
Each of those individuals qualified for West Regionals with strong showings on Saturday. Washington's trio of mile All-Americans split up and ran three different events. Senior Amanda Miller was third in the 1500-meter run in 4:21.26. Senior Michelle Turner ran 2:08.31 in the 800-meters for a third-place finish. Sophomore Katie Follett went the furthest from her NCAA mile success, placing second at 5000-meters in a qualifying time of 16:22.78. Follett's run was seventh-best all-time at Washington.
Despite the adverse conditions, the Huskies had some strong performances in the throws, led by junior Dave Nyland, who won the javelin with a throw of 226-0, a personal-best of 11 feet and a regional qualifying mark. True freshman and top-ranked Canadian junior javelin thrower Kyle Nielsen was fourth in his first collegiate action, topping the 200-foot mark and falling less than two feet shy of a regional qualifier.
Freshman Elisa Bryant, who set the school record in the weight throw during the indoor season, went straight to No. 2 on UW's hammer throw list with a throw of 173-7. Bryant was second on the day, scoring seven points for the Huskies. In the men's hammer, sophomore Zack Midles easily surpassed the qualifying mark, finishing third with a best of 198-5.
The best Husky sprints performance was submitted by senior James Fredrickson, who won the 400-meter hurdles in 52.16 seconds. Fredrickson was an All-American in the event in 2007, and already has his Regional ticket punched.
Washington's final two event wins came from a predictable source - senior Norris Frederick in the long jump and high jump. Although conditions clearly impacted his marks, Frederick still won the long jump with a best of 24-10, easily enough for regionals, and took the high jump with a top clearance of 6-7 ½. Afterwards, Frederick stated he had a nagging ankle injury and hadn't jumped since NCAA's but said, "I just wanted to jump and put a mark up there."
The Huskies will head for warmer, and hopefully less blustery, climates next Saturday, April 12, as they are scheduled to compete at the Sun Angel Classic hosted by Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz.