The Washington track and field team had its best showing in years at the NCAA Indoor Championships last month in Albuquerque, N.M., and the success has carried over to the outdoor season.
Freshman sprinter Quadelle Satterwhite, who was a member of the men’s distance medley relay team that finished eighth at the Indoor Championships, said that he never expected to qualify for the event and that the experience of competing against some of the nation’s top athletes was invaluable.
“It fired me up competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships,” Satterwhite said. “It gave me hope that I can make the NCAA Outdoor Championships as well.”
Heading into this weekend’s Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif., the UW has looked strong in its young, outdoor season.
Last weekend at the Trojan Invitational in Los Angeles and the Oregon Preview in Eugene, Ore., pole vaulters Diamara Planell Cruz and Kristina Owsinski both posted marks that will likely be strong enough to qualify them for the NCAA First Round at the end of May, for which the top 48 marks in the West region qualify.
Head coach Greg Metcalf noted that 10 athletes are currently in the top 48 marks in their given events, but he hopes that number doubles or triples this weekend.
“I think we can walk away [from the Stanford Invitational] and hopefully have 20 to 30 athletes punch their tickets to the NCAA First Round,” Metcalf said.
Sophomore Kimberly Stueckle also started off the outdoor season strong as she posted an outdoor personal record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.98 seconds last weekend, tied for the seventh best in the UW’s history in the event. Her sister, Kayla Stueckle, ran an impressive 59.57 seconds in the women’s 400-meter hurdles. Senior Kasen Covington also put together a strong effort and nearly set an outdoor personal record in the triple jump with a winning mark of 50-5 ½.
“We’ve got a really strong group of young athletes,” Metcalf said. “The goal is to get to the NCAA Outdoors in Eugene and have more athletes represent us.”
As the hosts of this weekend’s tournament, the Cardinal will debut its full team for the first time in the outdoor season, and 14 of its 16 All-Americans will be competing beginning at 9 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday. More than 3,300 athletes, representing 114 universities, will take part in the 39th edition of the tournament.
After this weekend, the UW will return to Seattle to host the Washington Open on Saturday, April 12th.
Reach reporter Brent Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @bparker17
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