Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two good reads on Jason "JD" Drake & Katie Follett...

Here are two great articles on the web on new Washington assistant track & cross country coach Jason "JD" Drake (left/photo courtesy University of Washington), and on Husky senior Katie Follett.

Drake, who joined the Washington staff in July, is described by head coach Greg Metcalf as someone "that could be a head track coach at another Pac-10 school."

Drake certainly has the credentials. During his seven-year stint across the state at Washington State University, Drake led the men's cross country team to the 2006 NCAA Championships, their first NCAA appearance in eight years and second since 1984.

From the few times that I've had the opportunity to interact with JD, I've found that he's been willing to push the button and embrace the use of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to get the word out about Husky track & cross country.

Joe Darda writes, "In addition to coaching and recruiting responsibilities, he will be encouraging alumni relations and fundraising with the aim of a new outdoor track and field facility. This is what Drake calls "the big picture stuff."

"In the new world with resources like Flotrack, our sport is getting more exposure and there are people in the community who will get involved," Drake points out. "I'm hoping to reach out to those people."

In addition to websites like Flotrack, which provides comprehensive video coverage of track and cross country events, Drake is doing his own part to promote the sport--and the Huskies--through his "uwtrack" Twitter account.

You can read the full story here...

Meanwhile, senior Katie Follett (left/2007 photo by Paul Merca) was interviewed by Runner's World writer Peter Gambacccini in advance of Saturday's NCAA West Regional cross country meet in Springfield, Oregon.

Follett talks about the differences between the 2008 national champions and this year's squad, as well as her high school career, where she said, "I hadn't had the most success in high school. I never made it to any of Foot Locker races or on the national scene."

Follett, a two-time Pac-10 champion and Olympic Trials qualifier at 1500 meters, is a very articulate young woman who wrote a guest column last year for paulmerca.blogspot.com at the Olympic Trials in 2008, and was selected by UW coach Greg Metcalf to speak at last year's NCAA cross country championships media session the day before winning the national title.

You can read Gambaccini's article here.

paulmerca.blogspot.com will have coverage of Saturday's NCAA West Regional meet from Springfield, Oregon.

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