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Women's Track/XC Ranked No. 3 Program Of The Year
The Huskies had top-25 finishes in all three NCAA Championships this academic year.
Fresh off a program-best finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, the Husky women's track and field and cross country program was today ranked an impressive third in the final Terry Crawford Program of the Year standings, announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Over the past two decades, Greg Metcalf has come to epitomize Washington cross country and track. A product of Ephrata, Wash. near the center of the state, Metcalf made his mark as a Husky All-American distance runner from 1990-93. His boundless passion for the sport led him into coaching, and soon he was back at his alma mater working with the distance program.
On Aug. 13, 2002, having served five years as assistant coach, Metcalf was named Washington's 12th head track and field coach, and just the fifth since Clarence "Hec" Edmundson took the helm in 1919.
An energetic presence, Metcalf immediately installed a new set of expectations that the team has already taken steps towards reaching. NCAA championships are the goal, and Metcalf's successes thus far have been nothing short of remarkable.
Metcalf's work with the men's and women's cross country teams have developed each into national contenders in recent years, with historic finishes for each team over the past decade, highlighted by an undefeated season for the 2008 women's team and the program's first NCAA title. The women's squad also reached the podium in 2009, taking third, and again in 2011, finishing as the NCAA runner-up.
Associate Head Coach
Veteran distance coach Jason Drake joined the Washington staff in the summer of 2009, bringing more than a decade of experience coaching and recruiting many of the country's best runners. Drake works with head coach Greg Metcalf to develop the men's and women's distance program, in addition to numerous other functions designed to continue the advancement of the Washington track and field program.
In Drake's six seasons, Washington has qualified its women's team to the NCAA Cross Country Championships every season, while the men made nationals in 2009 and 2015. On the track, 21 different distance runners have earned All-America honors since 2009.
Some of the projects Drake oversees in addition to regular coaching and recruiting duties include meet management of Washington's series of renowned meets at the Dempsey Indoor facility, which bring several thousand athletes each year to Seattle. He also handles implementation of Husky track and field and cross country camps, alumni relations, and fundraising for Washington's new outdoor track facility, which broke ground in 2011 and was inaugurated in the spring of 2013.
Drake served the previous seven years as the head distance coach at Washington State, serving as assistant distance coach in charge of the Cougars cross country program the first two seasons before being officially named cross country head coach in 2004. Prior to that Drake began his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Colorado, where he was an assistant distance coach from 1995-2002 and also served as recruiting coordinator during the final three years of his stint.
Assistant Coach, Vault/Jumps/Multis
Now in his nineteenth year at Washington, veteran coach Pat Licari continues to churn out All-Americans on a yearly basis.
Over the past 18 seasons, Licari has developed some of the nation's premier pole vaulters, including a two-time Olympian, three NCAA champions with six titles between them, eight Pac-12 champions combining for 10 titles, and 15 different All-Americans. American record-holder and World Championship gold medalist Brad Walker first rose to greatness under Licari's tutelage.
Even with all his coaching success in the pole vault, the 2015 season may have been the greatest yet, as Washington dominated the Pac-12 Championships like never before, and three different Huskies made the NCAA podium. The men's and women's vaulters combined to score 51 points at the Pac-12 meet, with the men going 1-2-4-7, and the women sweeping the top-three spots plus adding seventh-place as well. Jax Thoirs successfully defended his Pac-12 title with a PR of 18-6 1/2, and Kristina Owsinski won her first Pac-12 title to go with two MPSF titles, while 2014 champ Diamara Planell Cruz took second. At the NCAA Indoor Championships, Thoirs and Planell Cruz each finished in fourth-place, and then at the NCAA Outdoor meet, it was Owsinski's turn, as she broke the school record with a 14-5 1/4 clearance to get the third fourth-place finish of the year for the Husky vaulters. All told, seven Husky vaulters qualified for the NCAA West Prelims, a program-best, including Lev Marcus, who made it to the NCAA Indoor meet as a redshirt freshman with a make of 17-11 1/4.
Assistant Coach, Sprints/Hurdles/Relays
For the past seven years, assistant coach Raul Sheen has been getting the Husky sprinters up to speed, assembling a diverse and dynamic group that has piled up points at the conference level and established a presence at the NCAA Championships. Sheen joined the Husky staff in the fall of 2008 following a one-year stint at Long Beach State where he was named the 2008 West Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
Over the last seven years, Sheen's sprinters and hurdlers have won four Pac-12 titles, and combined for 29 All-America honors. Husky sprinters have earned 16 individual bids to the NCAA Outdoor Championships under Sheen, and the men's 4x100-meter relay has advanced to the final site in four of his seven seasons, a testament to the depth UW has relied upon each year.
Sheen has helped Huskies find success across all sprint events, as Washington has qualified athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Prelims in every one of the fourteen possible sprint events, combining the men and women, during Sheen's tenure.
Volunteer Assistant, Multis
Atanas Atanassov enters into his fourth year as a volunteer assistant on the Husky coaching staff. He works with Assistant Coach Pat Licari coaching the UW multi-event athletes, planning daily workouts, leading practice and coaching in competitions.
Over his first two years, Atanassov worked with All-American Husky record-setter Jeremy Taiwo, helping Taiwo reach new heights in 2013. Taiwo was the NCAA decathlon runner-up with 8,239 points, a total that surpassed the World Championships 'A' Standard. With a third-place finish at the USA Outdoor Championships, Taiwo qualified for the 2013 World Championships in the decathlon. He also broke the UW heptathlon record indoors, scoring 6,156 points, and raised the heptathlon high jump World Record to 7-4 1/2.
Also steadily improving under Atanassov's coaching was 2015 grad Nick Pfeiffer, who upped his decathlon PR each year to a PR of 6,943 points in his final decathlon at the Pac-12 meet, where he finished ninth. Just a redshirt freshman, Carson Murray competed in the multis but had special success in the high jump, clearing 7-1 1/2 during the Pac-12 decathlon and advancing to NCAA West Preliminaries in the high jump.
A native of Bulgaria, Atanassov has a Masters in Physical Education, and more than twenty years of coaching experience, dating back to club coaching in his home country where his athletes won a dozen Bulgarian national titles. After moving to the Seattle area, he has served as an assistant coach with Highline Community College, coaching the NWAACC decathlon champion, and the pole vault coach for the Renton School District. He is USATF Level 1 coaching certified.
Volunteer Assistant, Jumps
An NFL legend and former NCAA Champion in the long jump, Metcalf just completed his first season assisting with the Husky jumpers A 13-year veteran in the National Football League, Metcalf made his debut in 1989 with Cleveland after the Browns drafted him with the 13th overall pick in the first round. He spent his first six seasons with the Browns, then moved on to play for the Browns, Falcons, Chargers, Cardinals, Panthers, Redskins and Packers, last appearing with Green Bay in the 2002 season. Metcalf was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, making the team in 1994 and 1995 with Cleveland and in 1997 with San Diego.
A multi-talented player in the National Football League, Metcalf excelled at offense and as a kick returner on special teams. In his second NFL season, he led the league in kickoff return yards (1,052) and return touchdowns (two). He also led the NFL in punt return touchdowns in four different seasons (1993-1995, 1997). Overall, Metcalf finished his career with 2,392 rushing yards, 541 receptions for 5,572 yards, 3,453 punt return yards, and 5,813 yards returning kickoffs. This gave him a total of 17,230 all-purpose yards, ranking him among the NFL's top 10 in that category at the time of his retirement. He also scored 55 touchdowns (12 rushing, 31 receiving, ten punt returns, two kickoff returns). Metcalf's 12 returned-kick touchdowns are tied for third-most in NFL history behind Brian Mitchell and Devin Hester, and equal with Dante Hall. His 10 punt return touchdowns were an NFL record until Hester broke that mark in 2011. An illustrious track and field career was highlighted by winning the NCAA Championship in the long jump in 1986 and again in 1988 for the Longhorns.
He was a four-time All-American and holds the Texas school record with a best of 27-8 ¼. He made the finals of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials, placing eighth. On the gridiron at Texas, Metcalf was a three-time member of the All-SWC Team and the 1987 SWC Offensive Player of the Year and Team MVP. He is the only player in Texas history to string together four consecutive seasons leading the team in all-purpose yards. Metcalf is a member of the University of Texas Hall of Honor. Metcalf began coaching football and track at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle after retiring from the NFL. He also started an elite high school track and field club called Seatown Express.
Assistant Coach, Distances
Former Husky standout Anita Campbell has returned to her alma mater to help lead the women's distance program which she helped usher into the national spotlight. Campbell enters her second season working with Head Coach Greg Metcalf.
This is the first college coaching experience for Campbell, who competed at Washington from the fall of 2005 until the spring of 2010. A two-time All-American, Campbell is a Husky Hall of Fame member as part of the 2008 women's cross country team. She captured the 2009 Pac-10 title at 10,000-meters and went on to finish third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships that year.
During her first year as an assistant, Campbell helped the Husky women's team reach the NCAA Cross Country Championships, placing 23rd as a team, while junior Maddie Meyers enjoyed one of the best years in school history. Meyers took 27th at the NCAA Cross Country meet for her first All-America honor, and she anchored the distance medley relay to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships, wrapping her season in the 5,000-meters finals at NCAA Outdoors. Eleanor Fulton (Mile, Indoors) and Baylee Mires (800m, Outdoors) also earned Second Team All-America honors during the 2015 track season.
Assistant Coach, Throws
A former NCAA standout, Jason Schutz transitioned into the coaching world and has established himself as one of the top young assistants nationally in the throws events. Schutz now comes to Seattle for his first year working with the Husky throwers in 2015-16.
A two-time NCAA scorer in the discus at Colorado State and a 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials participant, Schutz brings seven years of coaching experience to Montlake and a familiarity with the West Coast, as he spent the last four years at Cal State Northridge. Prior to that, Schutz was an assistant at the University of Pittsburgh for two seasons, and spent one year as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater.
In Schutz's final year at Cal State Northridge, he helped the Matadors women's team to a runaway Big West Team title, and qualified junior Monique Griffiths through to the NCAA Championships in the women's hammer throw, with a school record of 206-4 in the process. Schutz's athletes won three of the four individual Big West titles on the women's side, with Griffiths winning the discus and hammer, and senior Mariah Counts taking the javelin. His throwers contributed 49 points to CSUN's winning team score of 212. A young men's group also had point scorers in three of the four throwing events in 2015, with four different throwers scoring, including just one senior.
Director of Operations
Jessica Riden came to Washington as the Director of Operations for Husky Track & Field in the fall of 2013. She serves as the meet director for Washington's home meets, including meets in the Dempsey Indoor.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any Husky meet questions.
Riden comes to Seattle after spending the past seven years serving as the Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Operations at Penn State University. At Penn State, Riden was the home meet manager, and also served as the sports information contact.
She received her Bacherlor's from Penn State in 2004 majoring in Journalism with a minor in Kinesiology. From there, Riden worked in athletic communications at Bucknell University and East Tennessee State University before returning to her alma mater.