March 7, 2005
SEATTLE - A record 12 Husky athletes were included Sunday in the list of those accepted to compete at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, as announced on the NCAA website. The group, which represents the largest UW contingent ever to travel to the NCAA indoor meet, will compete for All-America honors Friday and Saturday at the Randall Tyson Center on the University of Arkansas campus.
"Call me greedy, but I was hoping for a couple more," said third-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "It's going to be great to go down there with all of this purple and gold, though. This group this year, as a team, is as talented as any I've ever had, but talent isn't always enough. It takes a total focus and commitment to succeed, and these folks in particular have totally bought into that this season."
Four Husky women qualified in the pole vault, believed to be a first for any collegiate team in the event. Senior Kate Soma (Portland, Ore./Grant), the defending Pac-10 champion and NCAA runner-up in 2004, enters the meet with a national-leading mark of 14 feet, 3 1/2 inches, as she seeks her fourth-consecutive NCAA All-American honor. Sophomore Stevie Marshalek (Kent, Wash./Kentlake) will be returning to the NCAA meet after a 14th-place finish outdoors in 2004, while junior Ashley Wildhaber (Chehalis, Wash./W.F. West) will be making her NCAA debut.
Junior Carly Dockendorf (Port Moody, B.C./Best Secondary) will also be making her second NCAA track appearance, but will not travel with her pole vault teammates on Wednesday. The two-sport star, who placed 11th at the NCAA outdoor meet a year ago, will instead compete Friday night for the UW gymnastics team against top-ranked Utah in Salt Lake City, before flying Saturday morning to Fayetteville for the 5:30 p.m. women's vault.
"That's the plan," says Metcalf. "There was some thought that she might have to pick one or the other, but try telling that to Carly. There was no question in her mind that she could do both, and I know Carly -- if she says she can do it, get out of her way. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see her score a perfect 10 Friday night, then earn All-America honors in the vault Saturday. That's just the kind of competitor she is."
Joining the vault foursome among those most likely to threaten for All-America honors, given to the top-eight competitors in each event, are freshman Norris Frederick (Seattle, Wash./Roosevelt) and sophomore Ashley Lodree (Richmond, Calif./El Cerrito). The top-ranked freshman long jumper in the nation, Frederick has launched four jumps over 25 feet this year, with a best of 25-4 1/4 that ranks fifth nationally entering the meet. Lodree, meanwhile, is the sixth-ranked competitor in the 60-meter hurdles, an event in which she placed 14th as a freshman in 2004.
The remaining six UW competitors all punched their NCAA tickets just last weekend, in last-chance qualifying meets in Seattle and South Bend, Ind. Freshman Amanda Miller (Wenatchee, Wash./Eastmont) clocked a school-record time of 2 minutes, 7.32 seconds at the UW Last Chance Qualifier on Saturday to move to 16th in the nation and secure her NCAA berth, while senior Lindsey Egerdahl (Auburn, Wash./Auburn) moved to 11th on the NCAA descending order list in the mile with a time of 4:42.27 Saturday at Dempsey Indoor.
Rounding out the Huskies' NCAA-bound unit is the team's distance medley relay squad of freshman Austin Abbott (Chehalis, Wash./W.F. West), senior Sean Williams (Kirkland, Wash./Lake Washington), junior Ryan Brown (Renton, Wash./Renton) and senior Andy Fader (Everett, Wash./Cascade). Running together last weekend for the first time all season, the foursome posted a time of 9:36.20 at Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational, equaling Wisconsin for the ninth-fastest mark in the nation this year.
Athletes qualify for the meet by meeting pre-determined automatic and provisional standards during the 2005 season. In the event that there are not enough automatic qualifiers to provide full fields, provisional qualifiers are added in order from the national descending order list to provide fields of roughly 16-17 competitors per individual event, and 10-12 teams per relay.
Washington's 12 NCAA indoor qualifiers -- which include two automatic qualifiers in Soma and Lodree, and 10 provisional qualifiers -- represent the largest UW contingent ever to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships, which began in 1965. The Huskies sent five competitors to the NCAA Indoor meet last season, with senior Brad Walker earning his second-consecutive NCAA indoor pole vault title.
For a complete list of athletes accepted into the 2005 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, visit www.gohuskies.com.