May 4, 2002
PULLMAN, Wash. -- In a dual meet that was suspenseful to the very last event, the Washington State men's and women's track and field teams scored victories over cross-state and Pac-10 rival Washington Saturday at Mooberry Track.
The Cougar men, with a one-two finish in the 5,000m and a come-from behind win in the 4x400m relay, defeated the Huskies 103-99. The WSU women also won with a score of 105-98. An international scoring format was used, giving 5, 3, 2, and 1 points for the first four places with only two athletes scoring from each team in individual events, and 5 and 3 points for relays, making the day's competition exciting from start to finish.
"Going into the meet on the men's side, it was virtually a tie," Cougar coach Rick Sloan said. "Whoever came out and competed would win. There weren't a lot points for us to make up the points that we were behind (based on previous marks and times). We had a team meeting (earlier in the week) and knew the discus, 5000m, and the triple jump would all be going on at the end of the meet and we had to get those points so the meet would be decided by the 4x400m relay."
As expected, the Cougar sprinters - Anson Henry, Anthony Buchanan and Bennie Chatman - dominated their races with one-two-three finishes in the 100m and 200m dashes, and Washington had a strong hold on the middle distances. With Steve Dwyer not competing this weekend, and Eric Dudley and Darion Powell redshirting during the outdoor season, the Cougars scoured the roster for competitors in both hurdles races. Filling in and taking the three points for third and fourth included javelin thrower Matt McGee, distance man Scott Johnson, and steeplechaser Kyle Barker, who tackled both the high and intermediate hurdles.
The WSU team welcomed thrower Sam Lightbody back to the track from the football practice field. Lightbody placed second to Tim Gehring in the shot put and at a pivotal point in the meet, grabbed second in the discus as UW's Mat Schwinn tossed a lifetime best 181-8 (55.38m), an NCAA Provisional Qualifying mark. Gehring won the hammer while Nate Cummings earned a WSU point with his debut throw that was only one-quarter the distance of Gehring's. Curt Borland won the javelin on his final throw of 209-1 (63.72m), beating UW's Seth Jens by nine inches. Washington's Brad Walker won the pole vault and bettered his NCAA PQ with a clearance of 18-1 (5.51m).
"Early in the meet we struggled just a little bit and Washington got a little bit of an advantage," Sloan said. "Lightbody did a great job in the discus but their guy threw a lifetime best by a large margin. Without Sam Lightbody out there with second place finishes in the discus and shot put, there's six points we don't have. And we don't have anybody else to put in there."
WSU freshman Jamil Smith won the long jump (23-0 3/4, 7.03m) and came back with a collegiate-best leap of 50-5 (15.34m) to win the triple jump, out-distancing Washington's Marcus Kelly by nine inches. But the Huskies did not have a second triple jumper entered so the Cougars grabbed seven points to UW's three.
In the men's 5k, senior Oscar Franco-Parra moved from fourth place with a mile left to win while freshman Danny Wolf turned on the speed burners for a heroic bell lap passing Ben Koss to finish second and put the Cougars ahead in the meet, 98-96.
The final event of the day, the men's 4x400m relay, found the Cougars shutting the door on the Huskies as Dione Cason, Qieed Ishmael, and Jon Manthey kept the race tight until the baton was grabbed by senior Anson Henry. Henry, who earlier had won the 100m, placed second in the 200m and run the second leg of the winning 4x100m relay, wasted no time in catching UW's Phillip Tabor on the back stretch and crossed the finish line amid the roaring approval of both the WSU men's and women's teams gathered on both sides of the track. The men's 1600m relay time of 3:12.28 was a seasonal-best for the Cougs.
The women's dual was no less exciting with clutch performances from several athletes, despite a slow start early in the meet.
Shavon Hawkins and Tamara Gulley recorded identical times in the 100m dash (12.13) but Gulley's lunge at the line was not enough for the win. Ellannee Richardson won the 200m dash, 100m hurdles and ran the anchor leg of the winning 4x100m relay which ran a season-best 45.56 seconds. Richardson and teammate Randi Smith both finished the high hurdles in a time of 14.10 seconds but Richardson won on the computer screen. Smith went on to win the 400m hurdles, edging UW's Kelsey Sheppard, as both had NCAA PQ times. Smith also ran the second leg of the 400m relay and was the anchor of the 4x400m relay.
WSU's Hillary Smith claimed the steeplechase race, just her second ever contested, with a gutty final 60m sprint past UW's Laura Halvorson. She returned, in spite of a sore back and a gimpy walk, to run her first 400m race this year and finished fourth behind UW's LeTesha Moore and Cambrielle Jensen, and Cougar distance runner freshman Brittney Boysen. Smith and Boysen added three points to the WSU total here.
In the field events, WSU won the high jump but it wasn't All-American Whitney Evans who sat out with a sore knee. Cougar Briana Willis took the high jump (5-8, 1.73m) and pole vaulter Karla McGee made her debut over this bar at 4-11, grabbing one point for the Cougar women.
Meet records were broken by Kate Soma, UW, in the pole vault (12-5 1/2, 3.80m) and Cicley Clinkenbeard, WSU, in the triple jump (41-8 3/4w, 12.72m). Clinkenbeard also won the long jump (19-7, 5.97m).
The throws were all but claimed by the youthful Cougars. Brittany Hinchcliffe shattered her own freshman hammer record with an NCAA PQ toss of 184-10 (56.33m). Another freshman, Marie Muai, won the discus with a toss of 150-2 (45.78m). Sophomore Shannon Rance edged UW's Searan Salibian by 3/4 inch for the shot put win. Washington's Heather Reichmann won the javelin with a meet record distance of 153-5 (46.77m).
"It was a solid team effort," Sloan said. "There were some obvious heros of the meet but the thing that won the meet for us as much as anything were the people doing events they'd never done before. That's a winning effort."