Washington earns the most first-place votes, and returns Top-20 finishers Katie Flood and Megan Goethals
The UW women return six of seven runners from their NCAA runner-up squad.
Fourteen months after a psychiatrist was preparing her to end her track career because
The Husky women will aim for a fourth Top-10 finish in the last five years.
The Husky women have been in the top-four at 20 of the last 22 conference meets.
Lauren Denfeld heads into her third season on the Washington staff, joining the Huskies from Oregon State where she helped revitalize the Beavers program as a student-athlete and a coach. Denfeld works with Washington head coach Greg Metcalf and associate head coach Jason Drake to mentor the Husky distance runners.
Denfeld's second season at Washington was one of the most memorable in the history of the women's distance program. It began in the fall of 2011 with the women's cross country team returning to the podium, as UW took second at the NCAA Championships, narrowly missing the program's second national title. Katie Flood won the inaugural Pac-12 Championship individual title, and she went on to place seventh at NCAAs with Megan Goethals placing 18th as each earned All-America honors. UW also won its fourth straight NCAA West Region title.
Moving onto the track in 2012, Flood and Goethals continued to lead the Husky charge. Flood completed one of the best all-around seasons in UW history, as she anchored the distance medley relay to a win at the NCAA Indoor Championships, a first for the women's team, and she then went on to capture the NCAA title at 1,500-meters, becoming the first Husky woman ever with two NCAA titles. Less than an hour after Flood won the NCAA 1,500m title, Goethals just missed winning the title at 5,000-meters, as she finished second by .03 seconds. Still, it was the best finish ever by a Husky at the distance, and helped the UW women's team to an all-time best eighth-place finish at NCAA Outdoors.
Still it was far from a two woman show on the track. Chelsea Orr and Baylee Mires joined quarter-miler Jordan Carlson on the NCAA title-winning DMR team. Orr and Christine Babcock would both advance to the NCAA quarterfinals at 1,500-meters, with Mackenzie Carter making the first round. Redshirt frosh Liberty Miller just missed the 5k NCAA finals, as she took 15th at West Prelims.
In Denfeld's first season on staff in 2010-11, the women's cross country team won West Regionals and finished 16th at the NCAA Championships. As freshmen, Flood and Goethals both qualified for the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track Championships, earning All-American honors indoors in the 3k and outdoors in the 1500m (Flood) and 5000m (Goethals).
A native of Bend, Oregon, Denfeld was one of the original members of the women's track and cross country program when it was reinstated in 2004. She became just the second runner in the modern era of Oregon State track to qualify for the NCAA West Regional Championships, where she ran in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2007 and 2008.
Denfeld was then brought back on the OSU bandwagon in August 2009 by head coach Kelly Sullivan, to help continue the program's progress. That season with Denfeld in the fold, the OSU women's cross country squad finished ninth at the West Regional Championships, matching the program's best finish since reinstatement. Four Beavers advanced to the NCAA Preliminary Rounds on the track.
During her time as a student-athlete at Oregon State, Denfeld set the school record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, breaking it several times, before registering the final mark of 10:38.28 in her final season. Not only does she hold the record, she was also the first woman to ever compete in the event in school history during her rookie season in 2005.
In the classroom, Denfeld earned the program's first CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 Second Team honor, as well as multiple Pac-10 All-Academic First Team awards for track. She also was a recipient of a Pac-10 Postgraduate Scholarship.
Denfeld graduated from Oregon State in 2008, earning her bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a focus in marketing and a minor in Spanish.