March 1, 2003
SEATTLE - Washington's Courtney Inman ran the mile in 4 minutes, 40.24 seconds on Saturday in the first-annual Pac-10 Indoor Invitational at Dempsey Indoor, crushing her own school record of 4:43.43 and lifting the senior into the top-10 of the national collegiate rankings. Inman's school record was one of four set by Husky athletes at the two-day meet, which also included nationally-ranked teams from Arizona State, Stanford, Oregon and Washington State.
Inman sprinted ahead of the pack at the start of the race, trailing former Arizona State All-American Kelly MacDonald through the race's early stages. After MacDonald peeled off the course near the midway point, however, Inman raced alone to the finish line, accelerating over the final 200 meters to smash the school and facility records. Her time of 4:40.24 currently ranks among the top-10 collegiate marks in the nation this season, and guarantees the Abbotsford, B.C., native an invitation to the NCAA Indoor Championships, Mar. 14-15 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Just prior to Inman's record-setting mile, sophomore pole vaulter Kate Soma brought the Dempsey Indoor crowd to a roar with a school-record clearance of 13-feet, 3 3/4 inches that made the Portland, Ore., native the first female vaulter to clear 13 feet in UW history. Soma, who established the previous school record of 12-11 3/4 as a freshman in 2002, also climbed into the top-10 of the national rankings and is provisionally qualified for the NCAA meet.
"It would be great to be able to go the NCAA Championships and be an All-American," Soma said after her record-breaking performance. "After that, I will be aiming for 14 feet outdoors. I'm right where I want to be at this point in the season, so I think that 14 feet is reachable for me if I continue to work and push myself."
Records also fell for the Huskies in the 5,000 meters and distance medley relay events, both contested Friday night. Senior Sabrina Monro, limited by injury to just one indoor competition last season, made her 2003 debut memorable, smashing the school and facility 5,000-meter records by more than 11 seconds with a mark of 16:22.13. The NCAA provisional mark puts the Montana City, Mont., native in the top-15 of the NCAA rankings with one week of competition remaining.
Meanwhile, the men's distance medley relay team of Eric Garner, Sean Williams, Todd Arnold and Jeremy Park bettered their school-record and NCAA provisional-qualifying performance of two weeks ago by four seconds with a win in 9:40.82, a full 12 seconds faster than the record entering the 2003 season.
Including the four school records, Washington athletes posted 11 marks which rank among the school's 10-best all-time, increasing to 36 the number of new top-10 marks established through just four meets this season.
Husky athletes also posted 10 Pac-10 qualifying marks, including first-time qualifiers for Monro and triple jumper Sidney Brown, whose career-best jump of 39-4 1/2 ranks fifth among the UW's all-time indoor bests.
The 10th-ranked Husky men and 29th-ranked Washington women will bring one of the most exciting indoor seasons in school history to a close Fri.-Sat., Mar. 7-8, with the UW Last Chance Qualifier, the final meet before the NCAA Indoor Championships, Mar. 14-15 at the University of Arkansas.