Feb. 11, 2006
SEATTLE - With more than 1,000 spectators cheering them on, Washington junior Ashley Lodree set two school records and sophomore Austin Abbott ran just the third four-minute mile in UW history Saturday, highlighting the world-class 2006 Husky Classic at UW's Dempsey Indoor.
Featuring over 1,000 athletes from nearly every corner of the United States, and an equal number of spectators, Saturday's event was one of the largest indoor collegiate meets in Pacific Northwest history, and one of the largest in the nation this year.
The performances on the track reflected the fervor in the stands, as athletes competing on the Dempsey's oversized oval combined for two world-leading marks and 26 marks among the world's 10-best this year.
A sophomore from Chehalis, Wash., Abbott was one of six athletes to break four minutes in Saturday's mile, his time of 3 minutes, 59.47 seconds good for second in his heat, and fourth overall. The mark moves Abbott into the top-10 of the national collegiate rankings, and is one of the fastest marks on an oversized track in the world this year.
Abbott joins former Huskies Eric Garner (3:58.93, 2002) and Greg Gibson (3:59.24, 1974) as the only UW runners ever to break the storied four-minute mark.
"What a great race," said Washington head coach Greg Metcalf. "Austin's had this in him for a long time; all we needed was a great field, and a great crowd to bring out the best in him."
Lodree, meanwhile, broke school records in both the 60- and 200-meter dashes, clocking times of 7.38 seconds and 24.42 seconds, respectively. The junior from Richmond, Calif., already owns UW's school records in the 60-meter and 100-meter hurdles, and ranks among UW's all-time top-10 in 10 of the 11 events she has contested during her UW career.
"Ashley Lodree is such a stud," said Metcalf. "Every time she runs, no matter what event it is, she's a threat to break our school record. The scary thing is, she coasted to finish line in both of those finals. She's one-of-a-kind."
The outstanding performances by Husky athletes, though, were just part of the action Saturday, which included oversized track world-leading marks in the 5,000 meters for Amy Hastings of Arizona State (15:45.45) and Michael Aish of Nike (13:42.75) and a national high-school record in the 5,000 for Mount Spokane High School senior Megan O'Reilly (16:26.37).
Hastings' mark was one of 67 NCAA-qualifying performances by collegiate athletes Saturday, including nine automatic-qualifying times in the men's and women's 5,000 meters, combined.
Hastings also broke by nine seconds the previous facility record of 15:54.72 set by Stanford's Alicia Craig in 2005, one of four facility records set Saturday. Former U.S. indoor pole vault champion Mary Sauer set a facility record with a clearance of 14 feet, 9 ½ inches, while 2005 U.S. indoor shot put champion Jill Camarena tossed 58-6 in the shot, and 2004 Olympian Courtney Babcock of Canada won the mile in 4:31.87.
Washington, meanwhile, finished the meet with two school records, six NCAA provisional-qualifying marks and nine marks among the top-10 in UW indoor track and field history.
The Huskies will return to the Dempsey track in two weeks for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, Feb. 24-25. As the Pac-10 does not sponsor indoor track and field, Washington and most other Pac-10 schools compete alongside selected members of the Big West Conference in the MPSF during the indoor track and field season.
For complete results from Saturday's Husky Classic, visit www.GoHuskies.com.