Feb. 14, 2004
SEATTLE - Sixty-five NCAA qualifying marks, six facility records, three 2004 American bests, two top-10 world marks and a Washington school record highlighted the 2004 Pac-10 Indoor Track and Field Invitational, contested Saturday at Dempsey Indoor.
Five Huskies bettered the NCAA's provisional qualifying standard at the meet, which featured teams from seven of the nine Pac-10 track schools, full squads from BYU, Air Force, and Idaho, and a number of professional and post-collegiate athletes.
Nike's Grace Upshaw set the tone early with a winning mark of 21 feet, six inches in the long jump that is tops by an American this year, and tied for the eighth in the current 2004 IAAF World Rankings. Just hours later, Stanford's Alicia Craig became the American leader in the women's 5,000 meters in 15 minutes, 56.58 seconds, while Cardinal teammate Ian Dobson ran 13:49.17 to charge to the top of the U.S. rankings in the men's 5,000.
While those marks elicited deserving roars from the crowd of just under 1,000 spectators who filled the infield, it was the outstanding performances by several Husky athletes which earned the fans' most vocal approval.
Junior All-American Kate Soma signaled a big day for the Huskies early on by crushing her own UW indoor pole vault record with a clearance of 13 feet, 5 3/4 inches, fourth-best by a collegian this season. However, Soma couldn't top UCLA's Chelsea Johnson, whose winning mark of 14-8 was the second-best in Pac-10 history, fourth-best by an American woman this year, and eighth on the current 2004 IAAF World Rankings.
Freshman Ashley Lodree quickly turned the spotlight back on the host Huskies, climbing to seventh in the national collegiate 60-meter hurdles rankings with a freshman-record time of 8.28 seconds. Lodree has lowered the UW's freshman record in every one of her four sprint hurdles finals this year, and now trails record-holder Claudine Robinson by just .08 of a second.
One of just two four-minute milers in UW history, Garner blazed into the NCAA provisional mile field with a time of 4:03.80, among the top-25 marks by an American this year. Egerdahl, meanwhile, earned her second NCAA qualifying mark of the year with a time of 4:47.82 in the women's mile, while Mandi earned his first-career provisional qualifier with a time of 14:12.51 in the 5,000 meters. Both marks by Egerdahl and Mandi were good for second in UW history, two of 10 top-10 UW marks posted by Husky athletes Saturday.
"Our team is right about where we want them to be at this point in the season," said second-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "We're a month away from the NCAA indoor meet, so today was a good test for us in determining which kids truly believe that they belong at that meet. I'm proud to say that a lot of our kids really stepped up to that challenge."
Freshman Amy Lia also impressed, locking up her second UW freshman record in just four collegiate races with a mile time of 4:50.51 that is good for fifth in UW history. Lia set the Huskies' indoor freshman record in the 800 meters two weeks ago at the Husky Invitational, and is a member of the team's NCAA-qualified distance medley relay.
Both Husky squads will rest next weekend before hosting the indoor conference championships on Feb. 27-28. For complete results of the 2004 Pac-10 Invitational, visit www.gohuskies.com.