Dec. 6, 1999
STANFORD, Calif. - Track and Field 2000 at Stanford begins with the quest for championships. Now that can be a pretty daunting task, considering the tremendous accomplishments surrounding the 1999 season. Not only did the Stanford men win the conference indoor, accumulate it's highest point total ever at the Pac-10 Outdoor and produce two individual national champions in Brad Hauser (5000 indoors) and Nathan Nutter (10,000 outdoors), the mighty Cardinal corralled two NCAA Runner-Up team trophies. No doubt 1999 ended as the most successful season in Stanford's history, but with the bulk of those points returning in 2000, expectations are high for Stanford to take the next step toward dominance.
The Cardinal sprinters are making a return to the days of Darrin Nelson, Gordon Banks, Allan Sheets and James Lofton. With the help of Coach Edrick Floreal and the return of Pac-10 finalist Michael Harte, the Stanford sprint crew will make tremendous noise at the Pac-10 Championships in Eugene.
Harte returns as one of the top 10 high hurdlers in school history, and a threat to hit the NCAA standard this season. Michael is joined in the starting blocks by the versatile Justin Williams, a talented freshman from Worthington, Ohio. Williams gives the Cardinal an explosive sprinter not seen since Jimmie Johnson won the Pac-10 200 in 1997.
Williams will burst from the blocks in the 100 and 200 meters as well. Again, Stanford shows it's experience in these events, with Harte, Leroy Sims and Evan Kelty all capable of scoring big points.
A bevy of talent at 400 meters leaves the Cardinal staff with the enviable task of putting together a crack 4x400 relay. The loss of Jeff Allen, the second fastest 400 hurdler in Cardinal history and a 46 point leg on the mile relay will sting, but the overwhelming depth in this area should leave Stanford with much to coo about. The quartermilers are led by Kelty and Paul Martin. Martin is the truest one-lapper for the Cardinal, and his ability to come back from potential career-ending achilles problems has the coaching staff excited.
This is where the Cardinal will crush opponents.
Dare to doubt that statement? Best of luck to you. Stanford boasts a group of athletes that, from top to bottom, are the best in college track and field. The talent is overwhelming. The depth is such that one of a dozen different men could lead the group at any time. And the times and championships speak for themselves.
Milers Michael Stember, Gabe Jennings and Jonathon Riley return to the fold after redshirt seasons. While Stanford missed these athletes in the Cardinal and White for the '99 season, all three impacted the national running scene with scintillating performances.
For Stanford opponents, it gets worse. At 800 meters, the Cardinal could go with any combination of athletes. In addition to Jennings and Stember, who rank as the third and fourth fastest performers in Stanford history, Lananna's group adds Jonathan Stevens, Mark Hassell, and Ryan Carroll, a fifth place finisher at the 1999 Pac-10 Championships. Wow.
Stember, Jennings and Riley are all sub four minute milers, but they are just three of the five athletes Stanford could place in the 1500 at the NCAA Championships. Stevens is also an accomplished miler, and the Cardinal has added the incredible talents of Andy Powell in this event. Powell comes to the Farm as the seventh fastest high school miler in American history, having clipped a 4:02.7 last summer.
It's not often any college track and field program returns a member of the USA World Championship Team, but the Cardinal boasts just that in Brad Hauser. Paired with brother Brent and fellow fifth year senior Jason Balkman, Stanford boasts a trio of distance runners looking to make NCAA history this spring. For two straight years, these three amazing athletes combined with recent alumnus Nathan Nutter to smoke the rest of the country over 10,000 meters. Two straight years, two consecutive one-two-three finishes at the NCAA Championships, and there are, believe it or not, other Cardinal athletes who want in on the action. Thomas Murley, an NCAA provisional qualifier at this distance, and Donald Conrad a Dartmouth alumnus now completing graduate work on the Farm, give Stanford two more athletes capable of scoring at the NCAA meet.
These same athletes will create a sea of Cardinal and White at 5000 meters as well. In addition to Brad Hauser, Stanford adds NCAA Indoor Runner-Up Brent Hauser and NCAA scorer Balkman to a potent aresenal. Hold on, there's more. Redshirt Jonathon Riley led American collegians in the 5000 meters last year with a time of 13:36.69. Andy Powell, Daniel Parris and Jesse Thomas swept the 5000 meters at the Junior National Championships in 1999.
Jamey Gifford and David Abril, both Pac-10 Qualifiers, return as the team's top steeplechasers. Abril is the 1999 Cal Dual Meet Champion in this event,. and both athletes are capable Pac-10 scorers. Any number of freshmen may also contribute in the steeplechase as well as the 5000 and 10,000 meters. Louis Luchini and Adam Tenforde finished 2-3 at the 1998 Footlocker National XC Championships, and Tenforde is a sub-nine minute two-miler. Steve Loughlin is an Oregon state champion and experienced steeplchaser, while Seth Hejny, Curt Herberts, Nate Miller and Philip West all ranked among the nation's best high schoolers last season.
Several athletes return from a group of big-point jumpers in 1999. No doubt all eyes are fixed on senior Toby Stevenson, the 1999 NCAA Runner-Up in the pole vault. Stevenson is truly one of the nation's greatest competitors, one who always saves his best vaulting for the championship meets. After winning the NCAA Outdoor pole vault in 1998, Toby looks forward to another fight with the country's best this spring. Defending Pac-10 Champion Michael Ponikvar is taking a year away from school, but by no means is the high jump cupboard bare on the Farm. Junior Todd Beyerlein returns as a Pac-10 scorer with numerous jumps over seven feet. The horizontal jumps feature a pair of promising talents. Sophomore Warrick McDowell scored at the Pac-10 Meet as a freshman and qualified for the Junior Nationals in the triple jump. Ryan Fernandez, another sophomore, sports incredible hops himself and led the Stanford jumpers indoors last season.
Traditionally an area of strength for the Cardinal, the 2000 men's throwers will continue to excel in all areas. Back for another season is the versatile and explosive Mark Ganek. Whatever the event, Ganek's vast athletic skills and strong personality make him the leader of this crew. Mark hit the NCAA provisional standard for both the hammer and discus last season, and looks to fill the void left by All-American Adam Connolly's graduation. Ganek is joined in the hammer and discus by high school All-American Nick Welihozkiy. Nick comes from a tremendous athletic and coaching background in Virginia, and will compete at the Pac-10 and national level immediately.
The shot put boasts two tremendous sophomores in Chris Sprague and George Curts. Sprague is a former Junior National Champion who spent last season moving from the glide to a spin. As Chris continues to become more comfortable with this new technique, look for huge improvements in his throws. Curts is one of the strongest throwers in Stanford history. Now in his second season under the teaching of Robert Weir, George will give the Cardinal weightmen a tremendous punch at the conference level.
After a redshirt season two years ago, Chad Wassink led the Stanford javelin throwers in 1999. Wassink threw well at the Pac-10 Meet last May, and he will be joined by multi-event standout Jay Goff in this area. Goff is the 1999 Oregon State Champion in the javelin and considers it one of his best events.
The decathlon is an area of strength for the Cardinal in 2000, and despite the youth of the Stanford group, these guys are ready to step up to the national level. John Darcy returns after a redshirt season in which he qualified for the Junior National Championships. John could be found all summer long spinning in the discus cage or stepping over hurdles, improving his technique. And this season he'll have some company. The highly touted Jay Goff comes to the Farm after a dominant high school career in the track rich state of Oregon. Goff placed sixth in the decathlon at the Junior Nationals last season, and his size and speed make the multi-events a natural fit. Both Darcy and Goff look for a push from Chris Folkman, another redshirt freshman with considerable talent.