Indoor Track Season Concludes With NCAA Championships
March 8, 2000
The Schedule: Fri.-Sat. Mar. 10-11 - NCAA Indoor Championships, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.
This Week: Husky sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker (Ellensburg, Wash.) and senior distance runner Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash.) head to the University of Arkansas' shiny new Tyson Indoor Track Complex for the 2000 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Friday and Saturday, March 10-11. Hooker, competing in both the 60- and 200-meter dashes, will be seeking his second NCAA indoor title, having captured the 55-meter crown in 1998. Aoki, meanwhile, will be looking to regain the form which brought her All-American status following an 11th-place finish in the 5,000m at the 1998 NCAA indoor meet. The 5,000 meters will Friday, as will both heats of the 200-meters and the prelims of the 60-meter dash. The 60-meter final will take place Saturday.
Last week: Hooker and Aoki each locked up NCAA bids with stellar marks at Iowa State's Cyclone Last Chance NCAA Qualifying Meet in Ames, Iowa. Hooker's time of 20.96 seconds in the 200 meters was the 11th-fastest 200m mark in the nation this year, but fell short of TCU senior Darvis Patton's event-winning time of 20.92. Patton's win brought to an end Hooker's streak of 14 consecutive victories in sprint races, dating back to January of 1999. day, Hooker had extended his streak with a 6.63-second victory in the 60m dash, remaining undefeated at that distance entering the NCAA meet. For the second-consecutive year, Aoki waited until the final week of competition to move into the NCAA field, running a personal-best time of 16:33.01 in the 5,000m to advance to the national meet ranked tenth overall. Washington also opened the 2000 outdoor season at home with a slew of event victories and NCAA provisional and Pac-10 qualifying marks at the Washington Outdoor Preview Meet in Husky Stadium. Junior David Bazzi (5,000m), and the 3,000-meter tandem of seniors Margaret Butler and Cami Matson all posted provisional-qualifying marks for June's NCAA Outdoor Championships in Durham, N.C., while 13 other Huskies added Pac-10 Championships qualifying marks.
NCAA Event Schedule: Following is an event schedule for the 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Track Championships, Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11 at the University of Arkansas' 5,000-seat Tyson Indoor Track Complex in Fayetteville, Ark. All times listed are Pacific Standard Time (PST).
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) Friday blistered to his ninth-consecutive win at 55 or 60 meters, torching the field at Iowa State's Cyclone Last Chance NCAA Qualifying Meet in a season-best 6.63 seconds. Just hours later, Hooker posted the nation's 13th-fastest time in the 200-meters, placing second to TCU's Darvis Patton in 20.96 seconds on ISU's 300-meter track. The loss was Hooker's first in a sprint race in all of 2000, and snapped a 14-race winning streak dating back to January of 1999. Hooker was last seen at the NCAA meet in 1998, when he won Washington's first-ever sprint title, taking the 55-meters in a scintillating 6.13 seconds and becoming the first freshman in NCAA history to capture the short sprint title. Hooker was on the fast track to defend his NCAA title in 1999 before an ankle injury derailed his indoor season in March. Hooker, who in Febraury won dual conference titles in the 55m and 200m dashes at the MPSF Championships, enters this year's national meet ranked 11th at 60 meters, and 13th in the 200m race. 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 has also competed on the UW football team as a wide receiver.
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 seven 60m finals in 2000 to his first seven 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, 7. 6.63, 1st, Cyclone Last Chance Qualifier.
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 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 bested the NCAA's provisional-qualifying standards for this year's NCAA Indoor Championships, but only two -- junior Ja'Warren Hooker and senior Anna Aoki -- qualified high enough to earn invitations to the event this weekend at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. Here is the complete list of Huskies who posted qualifying marks in 2000, adjusted for altitude and track size (c) to meet NCAA standards. NCAA meet invitations are traditionally extended to the top 15 qualifiers in each event:
Qualified and Competing
* Anna Aoki -- 3,000m (Prov: 9:37.03c -- ranks 35th nationally) 5,000m (Prov: 16:34.56c -- ranks 10th) Senior, Vancouver, Wash. (West Vancouver HS)
* Ja'Warren Hooker -- 200m (Prov: 21.21c seconds -- ranks 13th)
60 meters (Prov: 6.63 seconds -- ranks 11th)
Junior, Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg HS)
Qualified But Not Competing
* Melinda Campbell -- 3,000m (Prov: 9:40.54c -- ranks 46th) Sophomore, Newport, Ore. (Newport HS/Boise State University)
* Sandy Erickson -- Pole Vault (Prov: 11'-11.75" -- tied for 48th) Sophomore, Whitefish, Mont. (Whitefish 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)
The rankings: Both Husky squads slipped in this week's NCAA Dual Meet Rankings, the men's squad to 33rd and the women to 29th. The rankings, compiled weekly at Idaho State University, ranked Nebraska tops among women's teams, while Florida surged to No. 1 on the men's side. Both Husky squads remained unranked in the final Trackwire 25 of the 2000 indoor season, with NCAA-champion Arkansas running away with first-place over second-ranked Stanford, and the Texas Lady Longhorns defending their 1999 NCAA Indoor title over No. 2 UCLA. The Trackwire 25 ranks teams based on predicted finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Dialing Long-Distance: Husky senior All-American Anna Aoki (Vancouver, Wash.) ran her way into this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships on the final weekend of the season, posting the nation's tenth-fastest 5,000-meter time at Friday's Cyclone Last Chance NCAA Qualifier at Iowa State. Aoki's personal-best mark of 16:33.01 on ISU's 300-meter track locked up an invitation to the national meet, in just her first 5,000-meter race of the 2000 season. 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 NCAA 5,000-meter finish. Aoki made her presence known in 2000 with a provisional-qualifying mark of 9:37.03 (converted, altitude-adjusted) in the 3,000-meter run at February's MPSF Championship meet. The time, which ranks 35th nationally, was not fast enough to earn Aoki a second bid to the NCAA Championships. 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.
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 then-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.
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: The indoor season over, Washington shifts its focus outdoors, opening the season with a Pac-10 Triangular meet versus Cal and UCLA at the Bruins' Los Angeles facility.