May 17, 2003
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A Pac-10 championship and a school record helped the Washington men's and women's track and field teams place seventh and sixth, respectively, after one day of competition at the 2003 Pac-10 Track and Field Championships at USC's Katherine B. Loker Stadium. The two-day meet concludes Sunday.
Washington's women scored 32 points through eight events, just four points fewer than the squad scored in 20 events at last year's confrence meet. Stanford holds the early lead among women's squads with 65 points, while Oregon owns the early men's lead with 59 points through seven events. The UW men tallied 18 points on the meet's first day, good for seventh.
"To have our women score 32 points in one day is outstanding," said first-year head coach Greg Metcalf. "There were some things we were counting on that didn't happen, but there were also several people who outperformed their conference ranking. We're in good position to make a run on Sunday, which is all we can ask."
Washington started off the day strong, with senior Brad Walker earning his second-consecutive conference title in the pole vault. The three-time All-American cleared 18 feet, 2 ˝ inches in the event, in the process becoming just the third Husky in the last 25 years to win consecutive Pac-10 titles.
Meanwhile, senior Kameko Gay made noise with a sixth-place finish in the hammer throw at nearby West Los Angeles College, scoring the first points of the day for the UW women. Washington's women's throwers also excelled in the javelin, with freshman Tiffany Zahn and senior Heather Reichmann placing fourth and fifth, respectively. Zahn's throw of 157-9 was a personal best, and is the third-best mark in Washington history.
"Our women in the javelin were huge for us today," Metcalf said. "They really set the tone for a great day for our whole women's team."
The Huskies made history on the track as well, with UW athletes combining for 13 points in the steeplechase alone, highlighted by the school-record finish of senior Kate Spigel. The Albuquerque, N.M., native capped an outstanding conference season with a third-place finish in the event while breaking her own school record in a time of 10:35.31. Sophomore Camille Connelly also clocked a personal best in the event, placing seventh in a time of 10:52.47 that is second only to Spigel in school history.
Freshman Jesse Fayant was likewise outstanding in the men's steeplechase, shaving nine seconds off of his personal-best with a time of 8:58.81, good for fourth.
"Kate was ranked fourth coming in, Camille was ranked eighth, and Jesse was ninth," Metcalf pointed out. "Each of those kids went beyond where they were expected to finish, which made a big difference for us in the team scoring."
Senior Sabrina Monro was the Husky's womens' top individual scorer, placing third in the 10,000 meters. Monro raced to a 35-meter lead early on before the Stanford tandem of Alicia Craig and Sara Bei caught her near the 5,000-meter point. The three remained side-by-side for the next 4,000 meters, but with just over two laps remaining, Craig powered ahead of her competitors to finish in a stadium-record 33:42.29. Bei was second in 33:58.06, Monro placed third in 34:02.98 and Husky senior Kate Bradshaw looked strong in a fourth-place finish of 35:13.93, eight seconds ahead of Washington State's Anna Blue.
"Neither of those kids were supposed to score for us at this meet," said Metcalf, referring to the two throwers. "That just shows how hard they compete and how prepared they were for this competition. It's a great cornerstone for them to build on in the coming years."
The preliminary heats also held plenty of action for Husky runners. Junior Todd Arnold added his name to the NCAA qualifying list at 800 meters, placing second in his heat in 1:50.00. Arnold stayed at the back of the lead group for much of the race, before kicking to the front with 100 meters remaining to finish with the second-fastest time overall entering Sunday's final.
Three Husky runners earned spots in Sunday's 12-man final of the 1,500-meters, with junior John Russell coming from behind in his heat to post the second-fastest qualifying time of 3:49.46. Fellow junior Eric Garner, the fifth-place finisher in the event last year, also came from behind in his preliminary heat, edging UCLA's Ben Aragon for the prelim victory in a time of 3:50.23 that equaled Husky sophomore Andy Fader for the day's seventh-fastest qualifying mark.
Husky senior Courtney Inman ran a pair of tactical races in the preliminary heats of the 800- and 1,500-meter events. The Abbotsford, B.C., native stayed in the lead pack for all of the longer race, ensuring a berth in the finals with a third-place heat finish of 4:29.69. Husky sophomore Lindsey Egerdahl, howver, fell behind early on the in the heat, before surging over the final 400 meters to earn a finals berth with a 0time of 4:29.96. The two returned to the track just two hours later for the 800, with Inman winning her heat in 2:07.61, the second-fastest time of the day.
Washington will return to the track in force on Sunday, seeking to improve upon the team's eighth- and ninth-place finishes of a year ago. Events begin with the men's hammer throw at 9 a.m., and conclude with the men's 4x400-meter relay at 5:20 p.m.
For live results of the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, visit www.usctrojans.com.