June 14, 2013
SEATTLE - As the 2013 season recedes in the rearview mirror, Washington continues to build for 2014, adding three more recruits in recent days. Head Coach Greg Metcalf recently announced the additions of two Washington state champion sprinters, and another local men's distance standout to bolster an already outstanding class.
All in-state products, Devin Liebel from Buckley, Michael Thomas from Silverdale, and Colby Gilbert from Vancouver bring Washington's total recruiting class to 20 athletes. Liebel and Buckley are the second and third men's sprinters, while Gilbert is the seventh men's distance runner.
Liebel, a White River High School product, picked up the 2A state title this year in the 110-meter hurdles. His time of 14.17 seconds in the finals (into a -1.7 headwind) was the fastest across all divisions. Liebel also ran a PR of 37.53 seconds in the 300m hurdles to take second, though his time would have won the 3A or 4A titles. At the district meet, Liebel broke 14-seconds for the first time, running 13.98 in the final to get the win. Liebel was also second at state in the 110m hurdles as a junior and third in the 300m hurdles. He also has three runner-up trophies in the 4x400-meter relay, as White River took second at state the past three years.
Thomas is a sprinter from Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale. The quarter-miler came on very strong in his senior season, lowering his 400-meters PR by nearly three seconds from his junior season. Thomas improved up to his last race, where he won the 4A state 400-meters title in a lifetime-best 47.83 seconds. Thomas also took the Narrows League and West Central District titles at 400-meters. He also anchored the school's 4x100m and 4x400m relays, both of which took sixth at state this year.
"I'm very excited to add Devin and Michael to our group," said sprints coach Raul Sheen. "These two guys are in-state athletes that came on late with great performances, and thankfully they wanted to be Huskies. We had a great year in the short hurdles, and adding another top-25 guy in Devin will add strength to that group. We got to know Devin throughout our camps and clinics. His 13.98/37.53 makes him one of, if not the best overall hurdler in state history.
Thomas does not have as much history in track as he played club basketball in high school, which Sheen says makes him similar to current freshmen Quadelle Satterwhite and Derrick Jones. "When I first took serious notice of Michael, my first thought was `where did he come from?!' He was a basketball guy that took to track, and excelled. He finished the year as a state champion, and his 47.83 puts him in the top-45 in this year's recruiting class. He is very raw, and with his limited track background I think he has an extremely bright future."
Gilbert is another standout men's distance runner to add to UW's great class. With Gilbert's signing, the Huskies have signed five of the seven seniors in the top-10 in the state of Washington at 3,200-meters. Gilbert ranks fourth at 3,200-meters with a best of 8:58.48, and fifth at 1,600-meters at 4:12.05. He was the West Central District champion at both distances this year, and went on to place third at the 4A state meet at 3,200m and ninth in the 1,600m final behind fellow UW recruits Andrew Gardner and Sumner Goodwin, and just ahead of two more future Huskies, Jamie Coughlin and Johnathan Stevens. In cross country, Gilbert was third at the 4A state meet this past fall as a senior, and eighth his junior year.
"Colby has had a great high school career, consistently among the top runners in the state, many of which he will join here this fall," said Coach Metcalf. "He's very talented, his parents both ran at Portland, and he is a very impressive young man in many ways."