Husky Stadium Host to UW Outdoor Track Preview Meet Saturday
March 1, 2000
The Schedule: Fri., Mar. 3 - Cyclone National Qualifier, Iowa State, Ames, Iowa.
This Week: Husky sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg, Wash.) and senior distance runner Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash.) will make one final run at NCAA automatic qualifying marks at Friday's Cyclone National Qualifier at Iowa State University. Hooker has provisional qualifying times in the 60- and 200-meter dashes, and Aoki has a provisional mark at 3,000 meters. Both will be looking to lock up berths to next weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships, Mar. 10-11 in Fayetteville, Ark. The rest of the team will stay home as Washington plays host to the UW Outdoor Preview meet, the traditional kickoff event for the Huskies' outdoor track season. Senior throwers Ben Lindsey (Lynnwood, Wash.) and Seselia Thomas (Spanaway Lake, Wash.) highlight a field which will include colleges, universities and track clubs from the Northwest and Canada. See below for a schedule of events.
Last week: Washington's women placed fourth and the men placed sixth at the MPSF Championships in Reno, Nev. Husky speedster Ja'Warren Hooker led the way for the Dawgs, capturing conference titles in both the 55- and 200-meter dashes. The wins moved Hooker to 10-0 on the year in sprint races. Senior Seselia Thomas also captured an MPSF crown, winning the shot put with a 48'-6" throw. Distance runner Anna Aoki's time of 9:48.00 in the 3,000 meters was good for only second place, but was an NCAA provisional-qualifying mark,.
Event Schedule: Following is an event schedule for the UW Outdoor Preview Meet, Saturday, March. 4 at Husky Stadium. Admission is free.
9:00 am: Javelin (women then men), Pole Vault (women), Long Jump (women then men)
Generation X-Cellent: Washington has seen an explosion of young talent in the past three years, from sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker's NCAA indoor title as a freshman in 1998, to promising 2000 newcomers Jamara Smith (Oakland, Calif.) and miler Russell. Following is a list of UW freshmen ranked among the top two Husky competitors in their events:
Back on Track: Junior sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg HS) heads off to Iowa State this weekend in a last-chance attempt to post an NCAA automatic-qualifying mark for next weekend's NCAA Championship meet. Hooker was last seen at the meet in 1998, when he won Washington's first-ever sprint title, taking the 55-meters in a scintillating 6.13 seconds. Hooker was on the fast track to defend his NCAA title in 1999 before an ankle injury derailed his indoor season in March. Hooker's dual conference titles in the 55- and 200-meter dashes at last weekend's MPSF Championships ran his record in sprint races to 10-0 in 2000. Hooker has not been defeated in a sprint final since January of 1999 at the prestigious N.Y. Sports Museum Collegiate Invitational. The Husky speedster has posted a season-best time of 6.63-seconds in the 60m dash at February's Vandal Invitational, and currently ranks in a tie for 11th nationally. Additionally, Hooker has posted a NCAA qualifier of 21.34c seconds in the 200 meters, ranked in the top-25 in the U.S. On January 15, Hooker blew away the competition at Penn State in his first indoor races since the injury last March. Hooker tied or broke two long-standing course records, shattering the facility record of 21.31 in the 200 with a 21.21-second mark, and tying the record of 6.75 seconds in the 60m. Last year, Hooker posted a qualifying mark of 6.22 seconds in the 55m, and helped qualify the men's 4x400m relay squad for the NCAAs as well. Hooker has proven just as fast outdoors, winning twenty-one consecutive sprint races in 1998, including Pac-10 championships in both the 100m and 200m dash, en route to a third-place NCAA finish in the 100m. For his efforts, Hooker was named the Pac-10's 1998 Male Track Athlete of the Year, the first Husky since 1976 to be bestowed with the honor. On May 2, 1998, he broke the Washington record in the 100m, posting a 10.18. The sprint specialist, who has also competed on the UW football team as a wide receiver, bypassed the Huskies' 1999 football season to focus on earning a berth on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2000 Sydney games.
Catching Up With "Hook": Hooker has been on fire this year in both the 60- and 200-meter dashes, besting the NCAA's provisional qualifying standard a total of eight times. How fast has he been? Following is a comparison of Hooker's first six 60m finals in 2000 to his first five finals in 1998, when Hooker went on to win an NCAA title in the 55-meter dash.
2000: 1. 6.75, 1st, Penn State Quadrangular, 2. 6.72, 1st, Ohio State Buckeye Invitational, 3. 6.69, 1st, Silver State Invitational, 4. 6.64, 1st, McDonald's Scoring Invitational, 5. 6.63, 1st, Vandal Invitational, 6. 6.69, 1st, MPSF Championships.
1998: 1. 6.79, 1st, UW Indoor Classic, 2. 6.70, 1st, Eastern Washington Invitational, 3. 6.69, 1st, McDonald's Scoring Invite, 4. 6.59, 1st, Vandal Invitational, 5. 6.55c, 2nd, Flagstaff Invitational, 6. 6.63, 1st, MPSF Championships.
The rankings: Both Husky squads held their ground in this week's NCAA Dual Meet Rankings, compiled weekly at Idaho State University. The Husky women remained at No. 20 for the third consecutive week, while the men stayed at No. 22. Nebraska held onto the top-spot in the women's rankings, while Montana State remained No. 1 on the men's side. Both Husky squads remained unranked in this week's Trackwire 25, with NCAA champion Arkansas dominating on the men's side, and the Texas Lady Longhorns overtaking first-place among women's squads. The Trackwire 25 ranks teams based on predicted finish at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Golden Evans Dons Washington Purple: Lee Evans is giving new meaning to the words "purple and gold." The 1968 Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder joined the Husky coaching staff this offseason. A three-time national champion in the 400 meters, Evans set a world record of 43.86 in the event that stood for 20 years before being eclipsed in 1988. Evans has coached the national programs of Nigeria, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and will work primarily with Washington's sprinters and relay squads. Evans has coached the national teams of Nigeria, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and works primarily with Washington's sprinters and relay squads. Evans was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1983, and was one of 100 "Golden Olympians" at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Husky Qualifiers: Six members of Washington's track and field team have qualified for this year's NCAA Indoor Championships, to be held March 10-11 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.. Here is the list of current Husky provisional and automatic qualifiers, adjusted for altitude (aa) and track size (c) to meet NCAA standards. NCAA meet invitations are traditionally extended to the top 15 qualifiers in each event:
* Anna Aoki -- 3,000m (Prov: 9:37.03c -- ranks 35th nationally) Senior, Vancouver, Wash. (West Vancouver HS)
* Melinda Campbell -- 3,000m (Prov: 9:40.54c -- ranks 46th nationally) Sophomore, Newport, Ore. (Newport HS/Boise State University)
* Sandy Erickson -- Pole Vault (Prov: 11'-11.75" -- tied for 48th) Sophomore, Whitefish, Mont. (Whitefish HS)
* Ja'Warren Hooker -- 200m (Prov: 21.34c seconds -- tied for 21st) 60 meters (Prov: 6.63 seconds -- tied for 11th) Junior, Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg HS)
* Ben Lindsey --Shot Put (Prov: 59'-8.5" -- ranks 21st) Senior, Lynnwood, Wash. (Lynnwood HS)
* Seselia Thomas --Shot Put (Prov: 49'-9.75" -- ranks 27th) Senior, Spanaway, Wash. (Spanaway Lake HS)
Huskies at 1999 NCAA Indoors: Two Huskies competed at last year's NCAA Indoor Championships, with departed All-American Derek Prior finishing 10th in the 400 meters, and current senior Aoki crossing the line 12th in the 5,000 meters with a career-best time of 16:33.51. In all, seven Washington athletes posted at least provisional qualifying marks for the national meet, including Hooker (55 meters and 4x400m relay), senior Ben Lindsey (shot put), Thomas (shot put), departed letterwinner Deeja Youngquist (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters), and 4x400-meter relay specialists James Mackey and Scott Anabel.
Dialing Long-Distance: Husky senior All-American Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash.) burst into the NCAA picture with a provisional-qualifying mark of 9:37.03caa at last week's MPSF Championship meet, and was on track for another likely NCAA-qualifying time before being pushed outside the running lane in the 5,000 meters. Aoki will need to improve on that time, which ranks 35th nationally, at Iowa State this weekend if she hopes to advance to next week's NCAA Championships. Traditionally, championship-meet bids are extended to the top 15 qualifiers in each event. Aoki is no stranger to last-chance meets, having blazed to a 16:36.23 mark in the 5,000 meters at last year's Alex Wilson Invitational, just a week before placing 12th in the event at the NCAA Indoor Championships, one place better than her 1997 national 5,000-meter finish. Aoki has earned NCAA top-20 finishes in the 10,000 meters each of the past two seasons, and was an indoor All-American in 1998. Also that year, Aoki captured just the eighth Pac-10 title ever by a Husky woman, winning the 10,000 meters in 34:56.62, the 3rd-fastest time ever at the University of Washington.
Big Ben: Junior weight man Ben Lindsey (Lynnwood HS) made his 2000 debut in dramatic fashion this year, capturing the discus title and posting a provisional qualifying mark of 59'-8.5" in the shot put at the McDonald's II Scoring Meet. Lindsey has already bested his top indoor throw of 1998 (59'-8.25"), and will compete at this weekend's UW Outdoor Preview Meet in Husky Stadium. The three-time All-American placed 19th in the event at last year's NCAA outdoor meet while battling mononucleosis. In April, Lindsey established the third-best discus throw in Husky history with a 202'-7" heave, and ranks second all-time at UW in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 65'-4". Lindsey placed sixth at the 1998 U.S. National Track & Field meet, on the heels of a fifth-place discus finish at the NCAA outdoor championships, his second top-ten national finish in two years. Lindsey placed fourth in the discus at last year's Pac-10 Championships, and was runner-up in 1998.
Richburg USA's Top Dawg: Entering his 15th season as a head track & field coach at Washington, Orin Richburg was honored in December by USA Track and Field's International Competition Committee, who selected Richburg to coach the United States National Team at the 2001 World Championships. This will be Richburg's fourth stint with the national team. He served a head coaching stint for the 1997 World Indoor Championship Meet, and worked on National Team staffs at the 1989 Junior Pan-American Games, as well as in a 1994 dual meet with Great Britain. The committee could hardly have made a better choice: in 1998 alone, four Huskies claimed conference titles, including sophomore sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker's double victory in both the 100m and 200m events. The five victories were the most for Washington since the 1976 squad claimed six championships. In his tenure, Richburg has converted Washington into one of the top dual-meet squads in the nation. The UW women's team has ranked among the top-10 dual-meet teams in the nation every year during the 1990s. His 1988 UW squad finished 10th at the NCAA championships, the best national finish in the school's history. Prior to coming to Washington, Richburg spent seven seasons at Kent State and three years as an assistant at Western Michigan. A fine athlete in his own right, Richburg earned All-America honors as a sprinter at Kent State, finishing sixth in the 200-yd dash at the 1967 NCAA championships.
Huskies on the Web:All of the latest information on Husky track and field, including releases, recaps, stats, schedules, bios and more is available on the web at www.gohuskies.com.
Next Week: Selected Huskies travel to NCAA Indoor Championships, March 10-11 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark.