Olsen Takes THIRD at NCAA Nationals

Congratulations to Vandal junior distance runner DEE OLSEN on her third place finish and All-American honors in the mile yesterday at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships. Both the Idaho Men's and Women's teams had one athlete earn All-American honors this weekend, with redshirt sophomore Russ Winger earning the silver medal Friday in the shot put.

Congratulations to Idaho junior distance runner Dee Olsen, who took third in the mile run Saturday afternoon at the 2006 NCAA National Indoor Championships. Her time of 4:41:01 was about a second behind Florida State's Natalie Hughes, and 7 tenths of a second ahead of Arianna Lambie of Stanford. It's been a stellar Indoor Track season for Dee, who also competes on the Idaho Cross Country team and earlier this year was named the WAC's Female Cross Country Athlete of the Year. In Indoor track this winter, Dee capped off her season by earning three gold medals at the WAC Indoor Championships a couple weeks ago and helped lead her team to a 2nd Place finish overall at the WAC Championships. She can now add All-American honors to her list of 2006 accomplishments.

Below are the complete results for the mile finals:

1 Johanna Nilsson, SR, Northern Arizona, 4:37.78
2 Natalie Hughes, SR, Florida State, 4:40.18
3 Dee Olson, JR, Idaho, 4:41.01
4 Arianna Lambie, SO, Stanford, 4:41.71
5 Marina Muncan, SR, Villanova, 4:42.13
6 Nicole Edwards, SO, Michigan, 4:42.67
7 Lindsay Donaldson, SO, Yale, 4:43.74
8 Desiraye Osburn, SR, Wichita State, 4:45.41
9 Meghan Armstrong, SO, Iowa, 4:46.65
10 Amber McGown, SR, Oregon, 4:48.30

Dee also qualified for Nationals in the 3000m run, in a race that took place about one hour after the mile finals. She gave an excellent effort despite essentially running the races back-to-back, and placed 20th with a time of 9:44.89.

Dee is now expected to prepare for the 2006 Outdoor Track season after redshirting the 2005 Outdoor season.

IDAHO solid in track the last decade... Idaho has enjoyed possibly its best decade ever in track, and a lot of that success can be attributed to co-head coaches Yogi Teevens (a track standout and graduate of Tulane University, 1989) who has been at Idaho the last ten years, and Wayne Phipps (British Columbia 1991, Oregon 1994) who has been a Track head coach at Idaho since 2000. Phipps also is the Cross Country head coach, and he's been named Cross Country Coach of the Year three times (twice in the Big West, and this year in the WAC), and last fall led Idaho to its first-ever Women's WAC Cross Country Conference Championship.

Since 1997, Idaho's men have done well at the NCAA Indoor Championships, placing in 8 of the last 10 National competitions. FIVE of the last 10 years Idaho has finished in the TOP 25 at the Indoor Nationals (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006). TWICE they've finished in the Top 20 (1999 and 2000). A summary of their last ten trips to the Indoor Nationals is as follows:

1997 - 58th (tie) Bowling Green, Cal, La-Lafayette, Villanova
1998 - 24th (tie) Colorado St, Dartmouth, Kasas, Missouri, Texas
1999 - 18th (tie) Indiana St
2000 - 19th (tie) Indiana St, Ohio St, Oklahoma
2001 - 28th (tie) Kentucky, Ohio St, Purdue, Wisconsin
2002 - 22nd (tie) Auburn, Kentucky, Michigan St, Minnesota, Oklahoma,
          SMU, Texas, Texas A&M, Wisconsin
2003 - 54th (tie) Baylor, Montana St
2004 - None placed
2005 - None placed
2006 - 25th (tie) Iowa St, Minnesota, Texas A&M

The women's team has not had the same history of success at the National level, but in the last couple of years Idaho has made a stronger showing. The women's team recent history at the NCAA Indoor Tournament is as follows:

2003 - 51st (tie) William and Mary
2004 - None placed
2005 - 27th (tie) SMU, UTEP, Villanova
2006 - 35th (tie) Cal, Kansas St, Western Illinois

The team will now set its sites on the 2006 Outdoor season. Both the men's and women's teams are loaded with young talent, and both are expected to do well in WAC competition and again at the National level.

Congratulations again to Dee Olsen and Russ Winger on earning All-American honors this weekend, and making another strong showing for the University of Idaho and the Western Athletic Conference.

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