Huskies enter NCAA qualifiers having already made history

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Huskies enter NCAA qualifiers having already made history

Katie Rainsberger runs the 1500 meters at the Ken Shannon Invite on May 4. Rainsberger will run in the same event at 5:30 p.m. Thursday evening at the NCAA Western Prelims in Sacramento, California.

The Washington track and field team will send a program-best 45 entries to the NCAA West Preliminary meet this weekend, but this achievement has been a work in progress all season.

There have been huge changes at the top, as five of the six head and assistant coaches are in their first year at the UW. The only exception is Jeshua Anderson, who went from a volunteer assistant to his first run as the head sprints, hurdles and relays coach.

At the beginning of the season, this group of coaches made it very clear that the goal of all the athletes was to make these qualifying marks, and go even further.

The coaches sat the entire team down, and printed off the qualifying marks of the past years to let the athletes know what the standard was and what they needed to do.

“I think sometimes people know they want to qualify for a regionals or whatever, but they’re not maybe exactly sure what that mark was,” head coach Andy Powell said. “So for us at the very beginning, it was very clear what that mark was, and then I think the athletes got with the coaches and came up with a plan of what it would take, training-wise to get qualified.”

Powell wanted to set the tone early for this program. He and the rest of the coaching staff have more than done that, sending 42 athletes to qualifiers in just their first year.

“I think it’s the first step,” Powell said. “We had a lot of people qualify for indoor nationals and now a lot of people qualify for regionals, good showing in the Pac-12’s, so I think those are like the first steps of trying to get to a national caliber team, which our goal is to be in the top-10 every year.”

Now coming off the Pac-12 championship meet a couple weeks ago, the focus has been on refining the little things to prepare the athletes to peak at the highest level.

Twenty-three men and 19 women will go to Sacramento, California with a chance to earn their spot in the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet in Austin, Texas. Only 12 spots are available for each event. The action kicks off Thursday at noon and will run through Saturday night.

Reach reporter Josh Eddy at Twitter: @JoshTreEddy

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