Metcalf talks oval - Part 2

In part one of our interview with UW track coach Greg Metcalf, coach talked about the general upsurge in the UW track program and how the infusion of football talent has helped rekindle fan interest. In part two of our talk with Coach Metcalf, he goes into specifics when asked about each football player participating in his program and how they've developed their talents on the oval and in the infield.

Shelton Sampson - "Shelton's a freshman. Coming out of high school he was the third-fastest hurdler in the history of the state of Washington, behind Nate Robinson, who is the state record-holder, but Shelton beat Nate at the state championships. Shelton ran 10.7 for 100 meters and 21.56 for 200 meters and 13.88 for the hurdles in high school. Now just this past weekend, he ran a 21.18 for 200 meters, and on an indoor track that is absolutely flying. That's definitely on our top-10 list all-time. And right now Shelton is also our best guy running 60 meters as well, with a time of 6.84. So he's doing great things for us and when we get outside I think we'll move him into the 110 hurdles for sure. He was a great hurdler in high school."

James Sims - "James was a high school 50-foot triple-jumper from the state of Nevada. He came in and jumped for us last year, but as freshmen they are coming in and trying to get used to a lot of different things and I think he was also just a little beat up last year from football. He also tweaked his hamstring a little running down the runway, but now he's completely healthy and jumping a lot more consistently. He jumped an indoor PR for him last weekend - 49 feet 3 inches, and I think he's going to jump over 50 feet in the very near future. His confidence is coming and he's won two meets so far this year. I think he's doing a great job, and he'll even long jump for us a little bit. And he hasn't sprinted for us, but he might do the 60 meters and 100 meters for us outside."

Chris Singleton - "Out of high school, Chris was a 24 foot-plus long jumper and I think he ran 10.70, 10-65 in high school for the 100 meters. But right now he's running the 60 meters. He hasn't been doing any long jumping so far this year. I think it's more important for Chris right now to be working on fixing his speed and mechanics of how fast he's sprinting. Once he does that we can always get him back on a board. Chris has run a 6.99 indoors for 60 meters and last year he was running somewhere around 7.20, so he's running faster, more confident and looks better when he's sprinting. Outside he'll run the 100. I don't know if he'll run the 200 but I'd like to see him long jump eventually."

Matt Fountaine - "Matt is the brother of Husky great Jamal Fountaine. Matt is a great kid - and once you take off the jersey and helmet and pads you get to see what a kid is really all about and in our first indoor meet he ran a 6.98 for 60 meters, which is pretty good. He ran just under 10.70 for 100 meters in high school, so he's getting better. He didn't have a great weekend this last weekend, running a 7.16 but he's gaining confidence. Outside he'll run the 100, 200 and probably the short relay (4x100) as well. We'll see."

Derrick Johnson - "Derrick is more of a quarter-miler at this point. He was a great quarter-miler at the high school level in California. Derrick really hasn't run in a couple of years, so I was giving him some crud about finding his 'land legs' again. But he's getting better. He was coming down the straightaway at an indoor meet two weeks ago and there was some bumping going on - that's indoor track for you. He knocked the guy down in front of him - not intentionally of course, but Derrick hurdles the guy and finishes the race. He's got a little bit of a sore foot right now, but Derrick can definitely make an impact at 400 meters. And once he gets back to where he needs to be in the 400 and adds strength that will make him faster in the 100 and 200 and ultimately on the football field as well. Outside, he'll run the 1, 2 and 400. He's very capable of doing all the events. And we'll also put a relay stick in his hand. He could run 4x1 or 4x400 for us.

"And then when you add him to a 4x100 group of Shelton, Matt Fountaine, Mark James, one of our hurdlers, Reggie Williams, Chris Singleton, Roc - we have lots of options in that event now. We have not run 39 seconds in the 4x100 in a long time but I think that group is very capable of running it. I think our school record is 39.24 and I don't know if that mark is in jeopardy just yet, but if maybe we add another kid to that group who knows how fast they can run. From a team standpoint, people would like to see what they are capable of doing. I know Coach Neuheisel jokes about it and Bobby Hauck used to joke about it, but they always said they had a 4x100 team on their football team that could run under 40 seconds. We'll you know, they might be right. And hopefully this spring we'll get a chance to see that happen."

Roc Alexander - "I just got an email from a track coach in Colorado wondering what ever happened to the fastest kid to ever come out of the state of Colorado. Roc is a super talent and is probably the best pure track athlete on the football team. He's run 10.38 for 100 meters and 20.78 for 200 meters. Roc can flat fly. But he needs to be healthy, so he's been working with the coaches on some mobility things and running mechanics. When Roc is healthy he can make an impact in the Pac-10 meet at 100 meters and 200 meters for sure. I talked to him the other day and he's feeling better and from the waist down he's fantastic, but he definitely needs to move his arms when he runs so the better he feels the more confident he'll be and the faster he'll run. The plan is to get him ready to run outdoors, and our first outdoor meet is on March 22nd."

Will Conwell - "Will is a sophomore this year. He was a 59-foot shot putter in high school and threw 160, 170 feet in the discus. I think Will was playing linebacker last year but he's been moved up to defensive end. But in both arenas, to be a better thrower and have more of an impact on the football field, he just needs to get bigger. And right now he's redshirting the indoor season but is still training with our throws coach, Bud Rassmussen. He's been working with the strength coaches a lot too, working on footwork and getting better. So he'll redshirt the indoor season and we'll see where he goes from there. He's a great kid and cousin of former Husky great Ernie Conwell. Ernie was a great shot putter here, a 64 foot-plus shot putter and even qualified for the Olympic trials in '92."

Reggie Williams - "Reggie has not raced indoors yet. It's funny, because Coach (Dion) Miller, our sprint coach, said that in working with Reggie the past two weeks that he's become visibly faster. And that's scary. Dion has had an incredible impact on those guys. He's positive, upbeat and he's got lots of energy, similar to all the coaches on our staff right now. But he's done a great job with those guys. And Coach Neuheisel and I talked a lot about this. Having good range of motion, good flexibility and good core strength is paramount, or tantamount, to running and being healthy and running fast. And with Reggie, by just doing a couple weeks of mobility stuff and drills, has better range of motion than he did a month ago. Our big goal with Reggie is to put him at the end of our 4x100 team and then run 100 meters outside. I would love to see him triple jump too, as he was a 48,49-foot triple-jumper in high school. But we'll see. I know his biggest goal is to improve his foot speed, for a lot of reasons. If he can run two-tenths faster in the 40, what does that do for him? Well, it may not move him up a round in the (NFL) draft but it could move him in different directions, that's for sure."

Nate Robinson - "Nate is a superstar. He's 5-8 and if you ever go to see a Husky basketball game you see a young man do amazing things. And we also saw that last fall. Nate is the Washington State record-holder in the 110 meter hurdles. He's run 13.85 in the hurdles but in college the hurdles go from 39 inches to 42 inches. By adding three inches to a person of his stature is a big challenge for him, but Nate is all about conquering challenges. He's told me he wants to run. I won't even talk with him about it again until after the basketball season is over. But from a public relations standpoint, I don't think anybody has ever done three sports here that I can remember. And just for that reason alone, I think Nate Robinson will do it. We probably wouldn't see him until well after April. Spring football begins then and that's his priority. Rick is of the feeling that if they are really, really helping us out that maybe they will have a little more flexibility but their first priority is football. That's their first commitment but they like what they are doing and the attention they are giving to our program is a good thing. Our Pac-10 meet is in the middle of May at USC, so that would be a great place to take our football players. We have plenty of time after spring drills are over."

Here's a link to the first part of our conversation with Greg Metcalf Top Stories