May 7, 2005
SEATTLE - Washington athletes put themselves in position for a strong postseason Saturday, winning 18 events at the the third-annual Ken Shannon Invitational at Husky Stadium, the final competition before next weekend's Pac-10 Championships in Los Angeles.
The postseason was clearly on the minds of several UW competitors, nine of whom improved NCAA Regional qualifying marks, with five moving into the top-five of the 2005 Pac-10 Conference Rankings. Washington coaches can take only 24 men and 24 women to next week's Pac-10 meet, making Saturday's meet the last chance for several UW competitors to prove that they belonged.
"This was by far the best Ken Shannon Invitational we've ever had," said third-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "I challenged these folks to step up and show me that they deserved a spot on that plane to Los Angeles next week, and everywhere I looked today, I saw people doing just that. Those are the kind of people I want beside me when we take to that track next weekend; people who are hungry to compete, and are peaking right now."
Two-sport star Carly Dockendorf hit a new peak in the women's pole vault with a lifetime-best clearance of 13 feet, 5 3/4 inches, the ninth-best in the nation this year, and the second-best ever by a UW vaulter. A two-time NCAA Championships competitor in the event, Dockendorf has continued to climb Canada's all-time women's rankings in the event despite competing just four times this year. Her vault Saturday equaled the seventh-best ever by a Canadian woman, and is Canada's second-best vault in 2005.
Husky freshman Norris Frederick, meanwhile, became just the 10th Washington athlete ever to clear seven feet in the high jump, his winning leap of 7-0 1/2 the Pac-10's third-best in 2005, and equal to the fourth-best mark ever by a UW jumper. An All-American indoors in the long jump, Frederick is currently qualified for NCAA Regional competition in both the long and high jumps, with marks in both that rank among the region's top-five -- the cutoff for qualification to June's NCAA Championship meet.
Just minutes after Frederick's record leap, heads turned throughout Husky Stadium to acknowledge the roar given to Husky men's pole vaulters McKane Lee and Sam Roberts, each of whom rode personal-best performances into the top-five of the Pac-10 Conference rankings. Roberts' clearance at 17-3 -- a nine-inch personal best -- put the Husky junior 10th on UW's all-time list for about 10 minutes, before sophomore Lee bumped him off with a lifetime-best clearance of his own at 17-5. Both rank among the best by Pac-10 competitors this year, and are among the top-25 marks in the nation.
It wouldn't have been a proper Ken Shannon Invitational -- named for a coach known primarily for his prowess with UW throwers -- without some outstanding marks in the throwing events, and sophomore Martin Bingisser obliged. The Bellevue, Wash., native climbed to second in the 2005 Pac-10 Rankings with a lifetime-best throw of 206-11, fourth-best ever at Washington and his second-straight effort over 200 feet.
Several other Huskies also climbed the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional lists, with junior Bruce Jackson (800m, 1:49.68), senior Andy Fader (1,500m, 3:47.35), junior Warren Eickhoff (high jump, 6-10 3/4) and junior J.R. Wolfork (long jump, 24-8 1/4) all adding NCAA Regional-qualifying marks Saturday, including a mark by Wolfork that ranks ninth in the UW history books.
The meet also marked the Husky Stadium sendoff for 21 UW seniors, four of whom made their final home appearances memorable with event victories. Senior Camille Connelly captured the women's 1,500 meters in 4:36.83, senior Sidney Brown won the women's high jump in a career-best equaling 5-7, senior Davaon Spence won the 100-meter dash in 10.64 seconds, and senior Sean Williams captured the 400-meter hurdles in 52.67 seconds.
The 48 Huskies who do make the trip to UCLA for next weekend's Pac-10 meet will be seeking to improve upon finishes of sixth (women) and eighth (men) from 2004, while senior Kate Soma will be defending the Pac-10 pole vault title she won in Tucson, Ariz., a year ago.
For complete results from Saturday's Ken Shannon Invitational, visit www.GoHuskies.com.