The “Mile City” portion of the UW Invitational did indeed deliver what it promised, as 15 men broke the four-minute mile barrier, a record for a single meet in the Dempsey Indoor, and they were led by NCAA Champion Luke Houser, who broke the School Record and Dempsey Record with a scintillating 3:51.73. But the thrills extended well beyond that signature event, as freshman Hana Moll and senior Carley Thomas each etched their names into the NCAA all-time top-10 in the pole vault and 800-meters, respectively.
The UW Invitational wrapped up its second day by 12 noon today, then the Dempsey turned into “Mile City,” a new competition this year spotlighting the distance that has been such a centerpiece in the Dempsey over the past two decades, and even more recently with Washington’s national championship success at the distance. More than 500 men and women from a wide range of age and experience levels ran the mile today, highlighted by several elite races in the middle of the event.
Houser led 15 total men, and five Huskies, to sub-four-minute miles today, outkicking his teammates and fellow NCAA Champions Joe Waskom (3:53.64) and Nathan Green (3:53.74) for the win. His time just edged out Waskom’s UW and Dempsey record of 3:51.90, set a year ago, and ranks Houser as the fourth-fastest miler in NCAA history.
Breaking the 4:00 mark for the first time as Dawgs today was Ronan McMahon-Staggs, the UCLA transfer who went to No. 8 in school history in 3:54.61, and junior Leo Daschbach, who had broken four minutes as a high school star but got his first one in college today, with a PR time of 3:58.18. McMahon-Staggs and Daschbach bring the total number of Husky sub-four milers to 20, a staggering amount considering 14 of those have come since Head Coach Andy Powell took over the program in 2019.
Moll, one of the most heralded recruits in school history along with twin sister Amanda, took over the NCAA lead in the women’s pole vault today with a clearance of 15-2 ¾. The Olympia, Wash. native and 2023 World Championships finalist made her home debut as a Husky a memorable one, going toe-to-toe with 2016 Rio Olympics Gold Medalist Katerina Stefanidi, and coming out on top in the tiebreaker, as both women finished clearing the same height.
The phenom, forget the “freshman” part, goes to No. 5 in NCAA history indoors, and No. 2 in school history, as 2020 grad Olivia Gruver sits…