April 8, 2006
EUGENE, Ore. - Behind five event wins -- including a clutch final-event victory in the 4x400 meters -- Washington's men narrowly defeated seventh-ranked Oregon, along with Minnesota and Boise State, for the overall team title Saturday at the 17th-Annual Pepsi Invitational in Eugene. Washington's women were third.
The win was the first-ever for Washington at the Pepsi meet, and the first by a UW team over Oregon since 2000. The Ducks have historically dominated the Pepsi meet, winning 10 of the previous 16 titles, and own a 62-33 advantage all-time vs. UW in regular-season scoring competitions (i.e., duals, triangular, quadrangular).
Washington's 176 2/3-point total narrowly edged the host Ducks' 176 and Minnesota's 172 1/3. Boise State placed fourth with 84 points.
Three teams entered the final event with a chance to win the meet, with Washington first at 169 2/3, Oregon second at 169 and Minnesota third at 166 1/3.
From the opening gun, though, it was the Huskies' foursome of Jordan Boase, Shane Charles, Ryan Brown and Bruce Jackson -- third at last month's NCAA Indoor Championships -- who were in command. By the time Jackson crossed the line in a meet-record 3 minutes, 7. 73 seconds -- the seventh-fastest time in UW history -- the Huskies had a opened a four-second gap over their closest rival, Oregon, who placed second in 3:11.31.
"It always feels good to win a meet," said fourth-year head coach Greg Metcalf, who in March guided the UW men to victory at the MPSF Indoor Championships, the team`s first conference title of any kind since 1928. "It's great to see us carrying the momentum we built indoors into the outdoor season. We had a few areas today where we dropped some points, but in every case there was someone else stepping up and scoring some points we maybe didn't expect. It was a total team effort."
Washington built a lead early in the day with a win in the 1,500 meters by sophomore Austin Abbott, and a win and first-place tie for sophomore Norris Frederick in the long jump and high jump, respectively. Frederick's mark of 25 feet, 5 ¼ inches in the long jump was a two-inch PR, but the wind reading of 2.1 meters per second was 0.1 above the allowable limit for records and NCAA qualifying.
While Oregon and Minnesota traded wins in the sprints and hurdles, Washington's men gobbled up team points with second- and third-place finishes. Senior Will Conwell continued his impressive year with a second-place finish in the discus, topping 180 feet (181-3) for the second-straight meet, while junior Martin Bingisser grabbed second in the hammer throw with a 202-foot, 9-inch effort. Senior Juan Romero, too, earned a second-place finish, tossing the javelin a personal-best 209-9 in his season debut, while seniors Sam Roberts and Seth Perrins each cleared 15-9 in the pole vault to tie for second, and Jackson and Boase ran 2-3 in the 400 meters.
When Ryan Brown won the 800 meters with six events remaining, it appeared that the Huskies had the meet in hand. Injuries, however, forced UW to scratch both of its entrants in the triple jump, and when Charles was disqualified for a false start in the 400-meter hurdles, the door was opened for Oregon and Minnesota to make their surge, setting up the final-event heroics.
"I really can't say enough about the effort we put out there today," Metcalf said. "I'm really proud of how our whole team came together."
On the women's side it was Oregon taking its 12th Pepsi Invitational title, and 24th win in 30 tries over Washington. The Ducks' 203 points clipped Penn State (199) for first, with Washington third at 152 and Boise State fourth with 95.
The third-place finish was not entirely without historic significance, however -- junior Ashley Lodree was one of three event winners for UW, her hand-timed mark of 11.3 seconds in the 100-meter dash just .07 hundredths off the UW record. Were it not for a malfunction in the electronic timing system, forcing the hand results to be used, Lodree's mark would have ranked among the top-15 marks in the nation this year, and qualified the Richmond, Calif., native -- who already holds four UW records -- for competition in the event at next month's NCAA West Regional Championships.
"That's too bad that that had to happen," Metcalf said of the malfunction. "It's still a great time for Ashley and a clutch effort when we really needed it. She's a winner through and through, and winners step up in big-time moments."
Also winning for the UW women were junior Amy Lia at 1,500 meters (4:27.42) and senior pole vaulted Carly Dockendorf (12-5 ½). Lia's time was just below the NCAA's regional qualifying standard, as was the third-place effort of Amanda Miller at 800 meters (2:09.63).
Washington will split its squad again next weekend, sending a small group of mostly distance runners to the Mt. SAC Relays, and a large contingent to Cal's Brutus Invitational in Berkeley. For complete results from Saturday's Pepsi Invitational, visit www.goducks.com.