Jan. 28, 2004
On the Track: Washington's track and field teams thrilled the crowd at the season-opening UW Indoor Preview two weeks ago, but the challenge will be significantly steeper at the 2004 Husky Invitational on Saturday. Nearly every elite collegiate squad on the West Coast will converge on Dempsey Indoor this weekend to challenge the 17th-ranked UW women and 20th-ranked men, including top-10 teams from UCLA, Stanford and BYU, as well as Oklahoma State and Pac-10 rival Oregon. Much of the focus will be on the men's pole vault, where the top-five vaulters in this week's Trackwire Dandy Dozen will face off, including defending NCAA indoor champion Brad Walker.. Events begin with the women's weight throw at 9 a.m., while the women's hurdles preliminaries will kick off events on the track at 10:45 a.m.
Freshmen Impress: While many athletes used the UW Indoor Preview on Jan. 17 as an opportunity to ease into the season, Washington's freshmen proved themselves right away. Freshman hurdler Ashley Lodree made the biggest splash, clocking the third-fastest 60-meter hurdles time in UW history with an 8.48-second mark. Just minutes later, freshman Carl Moe inked his name in the record books with a time of 4:07.15 in the mile, the eighth-fastest ever at UW. Nearly all of the Huskies' elite athletes made their 2004 debuts at the meet, which featured most of the Northwest's small colleges.
Event Schedule: Following is a complete schedule of events for Saturday's Husky Invitational at Dempsey Indoor. All times are Pacific and subject to change.
9:00 a.m. -- 20-lb Weight Throw (W)
9:30 a.m. -- Long Jump (W)
10:00 a.m. -- Pole Vault (W)
10:30 a.m. -- 35-lb Weight Throw (M)
10:30 a.m. -- High Jump (M)
10:45 a.m. -- 60m Hurdles Prelim (W)
11:00 a.m. -- Long Jump (M)
11:10 a.m. -- 60m Hurdles Prelim (M)
11:20 a.m. -- Masters' 60m Dash (M)
11:30 a.m. -- 60m Dash Prelim (W)
11:50 a.m. -- 60m Dash Prelim (M)
12:10 p.m. -- Mile Run (W)
12:20 p.m. -- Mile Run (M)
12:30 p.m. -- Shot Put (W)
12:30 p.m. -- Triple Jump (W)
12:35 p.m. -- 60m Hurdles Final (W)
12:45 p.m. -- 60m Hurdles Final (M)
1:00 p.m. -- High Jump (W)
1:00 p.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
1:00 p.m. -- 5000m Run (W)
1:25 p.m. -- 5000m Run (M)
1:45 p.m. -- 400m Dash (W)
2:00 p.m. -- 400m Dash (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Shot Put (M)
2:00 p.m. -- Triple Jump (M)
2:15 p.m. -- 60m Dash Final (W)
2:20 p.m. -- 60m Dash Final (M)
2:30 p.m. -- 800m Run (W)
2:40 p.m. -- 800m Run (M)
2:50 p.m. -- 200m Dash (W)
3:10 p.m. -- 200m Dash (M)
3:30 p.m. -- 3000m Run (W)
3:45 p.m. -- 3000m Run (M)
3:55 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (W)
4:05 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay (M)
* The women's DMR will be run Friday night at 8 p.m., with the men's at 8:30 p.m
Meet Results: Results will be posted periodically throughout the meet on a board at the south end of Dempsey Indoor. Following the conclusion of the meet, packets of results will be available at the finish line for coaches and meet officials only. Please allow 5-10 minutes following the conclusion of the final event for results to be processed and approved. Final results will be faxed to all local media and participating schools roughly 30 minutes following the conclusion of the meet, and will be posted to the official site of Husky athletics, www.gohuskies.com, within an hour. Any coach or SID wishing to have results e-mailed should send a special request to the UW Sports Information office at the e-mail address listed on the following page.
Rankings Report: Washington's men climbed two spots to 21st in this week's Trackwire 25, while debuting at 20th in the U.S. Track Coaches Association Dual Meet Power Rankings. The Huskies earned 10 points in the Trackwire poll, which attempts to predict team scoring at the NCAA Championships. Defending NCAA outdoor champion Arkansas remained No. 1 for the second-straight week with 70 points, but it was SEC rival Florida claiming the top spot in the USTCA rankings, which simulate a massive dual meet between the nation's elie collegiate squads. The Gators' score of 252.15 in the dual meet rankings bested all challengers, while the Huskies' total of 168.40 was good for 20th, but tops among Pac-10 teams. The Husky women, meanwhile, bettered the men by three spots in the USTCA rankings, debuting at 17th with 190.71 points. Penn State ranked No. 1 among USTCA women's squads at 256.92, but could not edge defending NCAA champion Louisiana State for No.1 in the Trackwire poll, in which the Husky women were unranked.
Just Dandy, Thank You: Though the season is but two weeks old, already several Husky athletes are being targeted by national writers as ones to watch in the 2004 postseason. Three Washington athletes were ranked this week in Trackwire's Dandy Dozen, which attempts to predict the individual order of finish in each event at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships. Tops in the men's pole vault was UW senior Brad Walker, and why not? The defending NCAA indoor champion, Walker boasts a best mark of 19-0 1/4 that won last year's NCAA title by more than a foot, a feat he will seek to repeat in Fayetteville, Ark., this march. Trackwire also saw fit to rank both of Washington's other returning All-Americans, including senior Eric Garner, ranked 12th in the 3,000 meters, and junior Kate Soma, the publication's 10th-ranked competitior in the pole vault.
Monster PR of the Week: In her first competition on the track in nearly 11 months, junior Laura Halverson earned a 10-second PR of 9:58.15 for 3,000 meters at the season-opening UW Indoor Preview, well below the MPSF standard. Halverson missed all of the 2003 outdoor season due to injury,but appears to have picked up where she left off during an outstanding freshman year in which she clocked a steeple time of 11:05.04 that ranks third all-time at Washington.
Dempsey Indoor: The 80,000-square foot home of Husky indoor track opened in September of 2001 to rave reviews. The facility includes a permanent 307-meter MONDO track (six lanes on the straightaway, five on the oval) and a full 100-yard FieldTurf infield equipped to host the shot put, weight throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault events. Already in 2003, Dempsey Indoor has played host to five former Olympians and witnessed five top-10 world marks, three top all-time U.S. marks (though not officially records), eight UW indoor school records and dozens of NCAA-qualifying marks. In addition to its competitive use, the building is utilized as an indoor practice facility for Washington's football, softball, baseball and men's and women's soccer teams, and is considered one of the premier indoor facilities on the West Coast.
Dempsey Indoor Draws World's Best: If Washington's home indoor meets over the past two seasons have seemed to shimmer in gold, it is likely due to the numerous current and former Olympians who have highlighted the fields at Dempsey Indoor. The Feb. 1 Husky Invitational featured four Olympic athletes, including former Husky and 2000 U.S. Olympian Ja'Warren Hooker, who set a facility record in the 60m dash with a time of 6.63 seconds. Hooker was joined by fellow U.S. Olympians John Godina and Seilala Sua, and distance runner Bolota Asmeron, who competed in 2000 for his native Eritrea. Godina, a two-time Olympic medalist, heaved the shot 65-6 3/4 in a winning effort, while Sua took the women's shot with a throw of 56-8, besting her own facility record. Asmeron, however, highlighted the competition, clocking the world's sixth-fastest indoor 3,000-meter time of the 2003 season with a mark of 7:49.68 which, at the time it was run, was the world's best in 2003. Also, 2000 Olympian Michael Stember set a facility record in the mile at the UW Invitational.
MPSF Mayhem: All the stars will be out at the 2004 MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championships, which Washington will host at Dempsey Indoor in February after a two-year absence from the meet. Excitement for the meet - featuring Pac-10 rivals Stanford, Washington State, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona and Cal, as well as other elite West Coast colleges - is at a fever pitch, and Husky athletes have wasted no time locking in their bids. A remarkable 38 MPSF Championships qualifying marks were clocked by Husky athletes at the season-opening UW Indoor Preview on Jan. 17, and Washington athletes litter the current conference rankings. For a complete listing of UW's MPSF Championships qualifiers, along with their current conference rankings, see the box above.
Walker Takes An Encore: A broken hand in May ended the 2003 season for Husky senior Brad Walker, but has played a large role in bringing the three-time All-American back this season. Though Walker has exhausted his four years of outdoor eligibility, he has competed just three seasons indoors, having redshirted the 2002 indoor season due to injury. By utilizing the remaining season, Walker can continue to train with his UW coaches in preparation for July's U.S. Olympic Trials, while simultaneously defending his 2003 NCAA indoor pole vault crown. Walker will compete for Washington through the 2004 NCAA Indoor Championships, Mar. 12-13, before launching his professional career in the spring.
World-Class Walker: Senior pole vaulter Brad Walker, currently tied for eighth in the 2004 IAAF World Indoor Rankings with a season-best of 18-4 1/2, has become a fixture on lists of America's greatest vaulters. Walker's rise began in earnest in June of 2002, when the Spokane, Wash., native cleared 18-6 in a sixth-place finish at the U.S. Senior Nationals. After his performance at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, however, one had to go beyond the collegiate ranks to find anyone of Walker's caliber. Walker's clearance of 19-0 1/4 at the NCAAs was better than all but two indoor marks in the world in 2003, and equaled the winning mark at the 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Walker, who won the NCAA title by nearly nine inches, finished the indoor season tied for third in the world with American Derek Miles and Romain Mesnil of France, and tied Miles for the U.S. best. Even with the handicap of having not competed at any of the major national or international meets during the summer and fall, Walker still finished among the top-12 vaulters in the final 2003 IAAF World Rankings. Walker crushed his own UW record by more than six inches, and became the first Pac-10 vaulter ever to clear the 19-foot mark, shattering by three inches the Pac-10 record of 18-9 1/4 set by Stanford's Toby Stevenson.
Final 2003 IAAF World Indoor Rankings
Name, Country, Mark
1. Tim Lobinger, Germany, 19-1
2. Adam Ptacek, Czech Republic, 19-0 3/4
3. Brad Walker, United States, 19-0 1/4
3. Derek Miles, United States, 19-0 1/4
3. Romain Mesnil, France, 19-0 1/4
6. Oleksandr Korchmid, Ukraine, 18-10 1/4
6. Michael Stolle, Germany, 18-10 1/4
8. Jeff Hartwig, United States, 18-9 1/2
8. Lars Borgeling, Germany, 18-9 1/2
8. Rens Blom, Netherlands, 18-9 1/2
8. Vasily Gorshkov, Russia, 18-9 1/2
8. Richard Spiegelburg, Germany, 18-9 1/2
All-Time Collegiate Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Lawrence Johnson, Tennessee, 1996, 19-7 1/2
2. Istvan Bagyula, George Mason, 1991, 19-5
3. Jacob Davis, Texas, 1998, 19-4 1/4
4. Bill Payne, Baylor, 1991, 19-2 3/4
5. Joe Dial, Oklahoma State, 1985, 19-2 1/4
6. Brad Walker, Washington, 2003, 19-0 1/4
6. Russ Buller, Louisiana State, 1999, 19-0 1/4
6. Jim Davis, Fresno State, 2000, 19-0 1/4
9. Doug Fraley, Fresno State, 1986, 18-11
10. Jeff Buckingham, Kansas, 1983, 18-10 1/2
Walker's Steady Climb: Walker initially enrolled at Washington as a non-scholarship athlete who never cleared 17 feet at University High School in Spokane, Wash. He blossomed during his sophomore season, improving by more than a foot en route to an All-American indoor campaign. An undiagnosed foot injury hampered Walker outdoors, but he still finished 12th at the NCAA Championships before undergoing surgery. After redshirting the 2002 indoor season, Walker posted one of the top outdoor seasons in UW history, shattering the UW pole vault record and earning Washington's first Pac-10 pole vault title in 30 years. A second-place finish at the NCAA Championships and the sixth-place finish at the USA Senior Nationals followed. In 2003, Walker upped the school record again, to 19-0 1/4 with his performance at the NCAA Indoor meet, broke his own outdoor record in his first competition, and won his second-straight Pac-10 title.
Jamaican Sensations: Don't blame second-year sprints/hurdles coach Dion Miller for catching a bit of island fever - the island nation of Jamaica is producing some impressive track talent. Washington's 2003 roster includes two athletes from the Caribbean nation, juniors Patrick Davidson and Davaon Spence. The two grew up friends at St. Jago HS in Kingston, Jamaica, and competed together on 4x100m and 4x400m relay squads that swept Jamaican national titles in 2003. After splitting up to attend junior colleges in the U.S., the two long-time friends have reunited at Washington this season, providing the Huskies a pair of top-flight sprinters to anchor a rapidly-improving unit. Davidson's career-best marks of 10.50 for 100m and 21.50 for 200m would each have scored at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, while Spence adds big-meet experience gained from years of competition at the World Youth Championships. The two should bring Washington its most exciting presence in the sprints since the graduation of 10-time All-American Ja'Warren Hooker in 2001, and add dangerous sprint talent to a men's squad already strong in the distances and field events.
Scandinavian Invasion: Jamaica may be the place to go for untapped sprint talent, but Norway is where it's at if you need a distance runner. If you happened to be at the Norweigian Track and Field Championships this summer, you may recognize some of the new faces on the Husky roster. Washington boasts the odd coincidence of having both of Norway's reigning 800-meter champions competing in purple and gold this season, including women's champ Ingvill Makestad and men's champ Stig Ellingson. Makestad, a junior, followed up her 800-meter national title this summer with a fourth-place finish in the 1,500 meters at the Under-23 European Championships in Poland, clocking a career-best time of 4:13.58. That time, if duplicated, would be the third-best in UW history, behind only Courtney Inman and Regina Joyce. Both Makestad and Ellingson, a native of Oslo, have competed for several years on the European amateur circuit, and will have two years of collegiate eligibility remaining. Makestad was outsanding in competition for Washington's cross country squad in the fall, taking ninth at the Pac-10 Championships and fifth at the NCAA West Regional, tops among UW runners at both events. Ironically, at the West Regional in Portland, Makestad placed just a split-second ahead of USC's Iryna Vaschuk, the same athlete who finished behind Makestad in this year's Norweigian 1,500-meter final.
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight...: ... it's the size of the fight in the dog. Junior pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0", but the Portland, Ore., native towers over all UW female vaulters, past and present. Already a Pac-10 qualifier in the event in 2004, Soma is one of just two Husky women ever to clear 13 feet in the pole vault, and is the only Husky female ever to have done so both indoors and out. In fact, only seven UW women have ever cleared 12 feet in the event, a feat Soma has accomplished in 27 of her 32-career pole vault finishes, including the 2003 NCAA Championships. Soma earned her first-career All-America honor by placing seventh at last year's outdoor meet with a mark of 13-5 1/2, and might have gone higher if not for a broken pole that lacerated her right hand on her third attempt at 13-10. The meet marked the third NCAA appearance for Soma, who was the 12th-place finisher at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, and 16th-place finisher outdoors in 2002. Soma vaulted herself in the Pac-10's all-time elite at last year's NCAA West Regional Championships, clearing 13 feet, 10 inches to break her own Washington record by more than eight inches and climb to eighth in Pac-10 history. The sixth-place finisher at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, Soma was bested at the Regional only by Oregon's Becky Holliday, who set a collegiate outdoor record of 14-8 in her Regional win. Soma's outdoor success in 2003 was foreshadowed at the Mar. 1 Pac-10 Invitational, when Soma broke her own indoor school record with a clearance of 13-3 3/4, continuing a record trend she began as a freshman by setting UW benchmarks of 13-1 1/2 outdoors, and 12-11 1/2 indoors. Soma entered Washington with a best mark of 12-0 at Grant High School, but improved that mark by more than a foot by the end of her freshman season.
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4
2. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
3. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
4. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2003, 14-3 1/4
5. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
5. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
7. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2003, 13-11 1/4
8. Kate Soma, Washington, 2003, 13-10
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
10. Erica Hoerning, UCLA, 2001, 13-7
Triple Threat: Senior triple jumper Brittiny Roberts entered rare air last season when she leapt 41-4 1/4 at the UW Invitational, nearly 10 inches farther than the Huskies' previous indoor best. She did herself one better, though, at March's Stanford Invitational, clearing 41-4 1/2 to leapfrog Michele Davis into second on the UW's all-time outdoor list. Roberts' success should come as no surprise, given that her cousin, U.S. track legend Ralph Boston, won the gold medal in the long jump at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Maybe Roberts learned a thing or two from Boston - in addition to the triple jump, she led all Huskies outdoors in both the high and long jumps. At the 2003 NCAA West Regional meet, the Fresno, Calif., native earned a return trip to her home state with a third-place finish in the triple jump that guaranteed Roberts a spot at the 2003 NCAA Championships. The junior, who finished just 3/4 of an inch out of the lead with a mark of 41-4 1/4 at the Regional, is making an assault on the school outdoor record of 41-7 3/4 set by Tara Davis in 1995. Prior to 2003, Roberts had already joined an elite class of triple jumpers, clearing 40-8 3/4 in a fourth-place finish at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships to rank third all-time at UW. Roberts is one of just six Huskies - including teammate Sidney Brown - to cover 40 feet in the triple jump outdoors, and one of just three to accomplish the feat indoors.
Triple Double: Teammates Brittiny Roberts and Sidney Brown became, in 2003, the first UW women's tandem ever to triple-jump 40 feet in the same season, with Roberts' best of 41-4 1/2 ranking second all-time at Washington, and Brown's 40-1 1/4 the UW's sixth-best mark. For perspective, only three UW women in the entire decade of the 1990s ever reached 40 feet in the event, and only six (including Roberts and Brown) have done it at Washington all-time.
Garnering Acclaim: When hunting for breaking news, it can be easy to overlook those for whom success is routine. Eric Garner has been so succesful over the past two years - both in track and field and cross country - that his impressive results are too often taken for granted. All the senior has done is ensure that his name will come up in any future discussion of Washington's legendary distance-running tradition. A graduate of Kelso (Wash.) High School, Garner burst onto the scene in 2002 with a school-record 3:58.93 mile at Dempsey Indoor, the first four-minute ever by a Husky on Washington soil. Garner earned All-America honors with a 13th-place finish in the mile that season at the NCAA Indoor meet, and returned in 2003 to become the UW's most prolific postseason qualifier, boasting NCAA Regional marks at 800-, 1,500-, and 5,000 meters. Garner placed third in the 1,500 meters at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, and earned an NCAA berth with a fourth-place finish in the event at the Regional. With one full track season remaining, Garner already owns all-time UW indoor marks in the mile and distance medley relay, ranks second in the indoor 3,000 meters, and is sixth all-time at 1,500 meters. Additionally, he has led Washington's cross country runners at all but one varsity meet over the previous two seasons, and in 2003 led the Husky men back to the NCAA meet for the first time since the 1993 season.
Ridiculous Records: Washington's athletes continued to show utter disrespect for the school's all-time indoor records at the season-opening UW Indoor Preview, posting five marks among the school's top-10 all-time. Included among the marks was an impressive performance by junior Lindsey Egerdahl, who clocked a 4:51.30 in the mile to move to seventh all-time on one of Washington's most prestigious lists. No event in the 2005 UW Track and Field Media Guide will require more revision than the women's pole vault, which has already seen four new marks in 2004. Over the past two seasons, Husky athletes have run roughshod through UW's indoor record books, posting eight school records and 45 marks among the top-10 in UW history. For a complete list of the top-10 indoor marks set by UW athletes in 2004, see the box on page seven of this release.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: Freshman football/basketball star Nate Robinson may have been Washington's most celebrated two-sport athlete in 2003, but even he didn't try to compete in two sports at once. That's the feat being accomplished by Port Moody, B.C., native Carly Dockendorf, a star for the Husky gymnastics team who in just four official UW competitions pole vaulted her way to second all-time at Washington, and ninth in Candian history. A redshirt freshman in 2003, Dockendorf improved weekly, culminating with an eighth-place finish at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, in 12-11 1/2, that trails only Kate Soma in Husky history. The weekend of Mar. 1, 2003, though, may have marked the most impressive display of Dockendorf's athletic ability. On Friday, Feb. 28, with the gymnasts needing a big performance from Dockendorf to extend an undefeated home season, the redshirt freshman scored a perfect 10 on the floor exercise, just the sixth perfect 10 in UW history. Barely 12 hours later, Dockendorf pulled on her track spikes and soared 12-feet, zero inches in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Indoor Track Invitational, a mark which would have ranked fifth all-time in UW history. During the 2003 season, she established herself as one of Washington's top gymnasts, earning All-America honors while tallying three perfect 10s on the floor, including at the Pac-10 Championships, where she shared the conference crown. A provincial pole vault champion as a prep, Dockendorf's 2003 best of 12-11 1/2 tied for fourth by a Canadian woman last season, and equals the ninth-best mark in Canadian history. Following is a list of the top-10 pole vault performances by Canadian women all-time, through January 28, 2004:
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Outdoor Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Stephanie McCann, 2002, 14-3 1/4
2. Dana Ellis, 2003, 14-1 1/4
3. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 3/4
4., Kelsie Hendry, 2003, 13-8 1/4
5. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
6. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
7. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
8. Adrienne Vangool, 2003, 13-1 3/4
9. Carly Dockendorf, 2003, 12-11 1/2
9. Rebecca Chambers, 1999, 12-11 1/2
9. Melissa Feinstein, 2000, 12-11 1/2
The Kids Are Alright: Husky fans who haven't been following closely may not recognize many of the names atop the UW performance lists. To the surprise of none, a freshman class featuring five prep All-Americans has already made its presence known, and is beginning to turn heads nationwide. Pole vaulter Stevie Marshalek needed just one competition to put her name second all-time in the UW record books, clearing 13-1 1/2 in a victory at the U.S. Pole Vault Summit, in the process becoming just the second UW woman over the 13-foot mark. Freshman Ashley Lodree proved equally prolific at the UW Indoor Preview, literally running away with the 60-meter hurdles title in a time of 8.48 seconds, third-fastest ever at Washington and No. 1 all-time among marks not converted from 55 meters. Freshman Carl Moe has already put himself eighth all-time in the mile, clocking a 4:07.15 on Jan. 17, while freshmen Dallon Williams (3,000m), Tim Freeman (800m), Doug Blaty (LJ) and Evan Wilson (SP) each boast team-leading marks in their events.
Arnold Steps Up: To say that junior Todd Arnold went from not qualifying for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships to instead qualifying for the NCAA Championships is remarkable, but does not tell the whole story. Needing a mark of 1:51.44 to qualify for the postseason at 800 meters, the Ocosta, Wash., native lowered his half-mile best consistently all season, from 1:56 to 1:52 and 1:51.68. Amazingly, Arnold was able to lower his mark yet again, to 1:51.50 at the season-ending Ken Foreman Invitational, but was still unable to crack the Pac-10 standard. Recognizing his consistent improvement, head coach Greg Metcalf designated Arnold one of two "wildcard" selections for the Pac-10 meet, given to each team to bring athletes who did not otherwise qualify. Arnold rewarded his coach's faith with a personal-best in the 800-meter prelim, clocking 1:50.00 to not only earn a spot in the finals, but also a berth at the 2003 NCAA West Regional. A seventh-place finish in the Pac-10 final could have been a well-deserved reward for Arnold's determination, but the junior had bigger plans. Seeded 10th overall in the event at the Regional, Arnold qualified for the final but was shuffled back of the pack after starting in the outside lane. As was the case all season, however, Arnold refused to give up, charging to fourth on the backstretch and holding on for the automatic NCAA berth.
Russell Rebounds: He may have been out of action for over two years, but if his performances over the past month of the 2003 season are any indication, junior John Russell hasn't lost any of the speed that led him to a fourth-place finish as a freshman in the 1,500 meters at the 2000 Pac-10 Championships. Touted as the next great Husky distance runner after that exciting debut season, in which he also cracked the school's all-time top-10 indoors in the mile and placed 13th in the U.S. Junior National Cross-Country Championships, Russell had his 2001 track season wiped out entirely by tendonitis, a condition that also kept him out of action during the 2001 cross-country and 2002 track seasons. The Spokane, Wash., native finally returned to competition during the fall of 2002, and steadily improved throughout the fall and winter seasons. By April's Oregon Invitational, Russell was rolling, clocking a time of 3:44.65 in the 1,500 meters to earn a Pac-10 and NCAA Regional qualifying mark. In addition to setting aside questions of lost speed, the junior showed at the Pac-10 meet that he had lost none of his tenacity, fighting through a physical race to take sixth. Finally, Russell completed his comeback with an outstanding run at the Regional, placing fifth to earn his first-ever NCAA Championships appearance. In all, Russell was off the track for 22 months, missing two full seasons of track, and one full season of cross-country.
International Blend: Washington's roster in 2004 features several individuals from outside the United States. Not surprisingly, Canada is the foreign nation with the most athletes on the UW roster, with sophomores Gaelle Banini (Richmond, B.C.), and Carly Dockendorf (Port Moody, B.C.) and junior Grace Vela (Toronto, Ont.). Of the three, Banini has certainly carved the most unique route to Seattle, having been born in Cameroon, Africa, and moved to France in 1987 before settling in Canada in 1994. Nearly as well-represented as Canada is Norway, which sent both of its reigning 800-meter national champs to Washington in the form of Ingvill Makestad (Odda, Norway) and Stig Ellingsen (Tromso, Norway). Jamaican greats Patrick Davidson and Davaon Spence, both from Kingston, are making their UW debuts this spring, while sophomore Vinh Chung will rack up plenty of frequent flyer miles traveling from Seattle to his hometown of Hamilton, New Zealand.
Husky Greats Give Back: Looking for an explanation for the Huskies' success in the javelin last season? Look no further than 1984 U.S. Olympian Duncan Atwood, who has volunteered his time to his alma mater, working with second-year assistant coach Bud Rasmussen. The results speak for themselves: in 2003, four UW javelin throwers qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships, while senior Heather Reichmann earned All-America honors with a throw of 159-6 that was the 10th-best by a U.S. woman in 2003. Atwood joins second-year head coach Greg Metcalf, a two-time steeplechase All-American at UW and a participant at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials, as well as two-time Husky All-American David Bazzi, now a UW assistant coach.
2003 Indoor Season Recap: The 2003 indoor season will long be remembered as one of the most exciting in UW history, with school records, American records, and top-10 world marks falling left and right. Eight UW records were set during the team's five weeks of competition at Dempsey Indoor, including a pair of records by Courtney Inman in the 800m and mile runs. At the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, Inman was a top-10 finisher in the mile, Jeremy Park earned All-American honors at 3,000m, and pole vaulter Brad Walker won his first NCAA title, crushing the competition by nine inches. Walker's mark of 19 feet, 0 1/4 inch was three inches beyond the Pac-10 record, and tied for third in the world indoors in 2003. In fact, a glance at the 2003 IAAF World Rankings reveals dozens of marks set on the Dempsey Indoor track. As many as 2,500 spectators packed the facility each week, creating a highly-charged atmosphere that attracted such luminaries as two-time Olympic medalist John Godina, and fellow Olympians Seilala Sua, Bolota Asmeron, Michael Stember and Ja'Warren Hooker. Also, a pair of Masters' athletes, Tony Young and Harold Morioka, combined for three all-time U.S.-best marks, while the Northwest's top preps filled the facility on three weekends.
2003 NCAA Indoor Championships Recap: Without a doubt, the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships were nearly a perfect finish to an outstanding indoor season for the University of Washington track and field teams. Senior Brad Walker backed up his No. 1 ranking in the pole vault, earning Washington's 25th-ever NCAA individual title with a vault of 19-feet, 0 1/4 inches that is the best-ever by a Pac-10 vaulter, third-best in the world in 2003, and tied for sixth-best in NCAA history. Senior Jeremy Park earned All-American honors with a 13th-place finish in the 3,000 meters, helping lead the Husky men to a tie for 20th overall at the meet. Senior Courtney Inman placed ninth overall in the mile, and sophomore Kate Soma was the 12th finisher in the pole vault, each improving their finishes from the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Top-ranked Arkansas ran away with the men's title, while LSU defended its indoor crown on the women's side.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's coaching staff in 2003 is in no way short on accolades. Seventh-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed three All-Americans, including Pac-10 and NCAA champion Brad Walker. First-year throws coach Bud Rasmussen founded the prestigious Iron Wood Thrower Development Camp, and in seven years at North Idaho College mentored 82 NJCAA All-Americans, 18 national champions and five NJCAA record holders. First-year sprints/relays coach Dion Miller last year led Texas Tech sprinters to 13 All-America accolades, and a Big 12 title in the 4x100-meter relay. Second-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is first-year distance coach Kelly MacDonald, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles. The full-timers are joined by UW legends and volunteer coaches Duncan Atwood and Ja'Warren Hooker.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his second year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his seventh year overall on the UW coaching staff. Inhis first season at the helm, Metcalf led the UW women to 29th at the NCAA Championships, equaling their highest point total since the 1998 season, and guided seven UW distance runners to NCAA Championships appearances. In seven years directing Washington's cross country program, Metcalf has led the women's cross country team to seven-consecutive NCAA Championships, the seventh-longest active streak in the nation. Metcalf has coached nine All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 13 school-record setters and 62 NCAA qualifiers. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeplechase, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic trials.
2004 UW Track and Field Media Guide: The 2004 UW Track and Field Media Guide is your source for bios and photos of the 2004 Huskies, as well as records and a history of the first century of Husky track. Media guides are on sale for just $5 at all UW home track meets, and can be purchased by phone at (206) 543-2230.