Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Former Oregon State steepler and assistant coach Lauren Denfeld named assistant coach at Washington...

SEATTLE - Washington track and field and cross country head coach Greg Metcalf announced today the addition of assistant coach Lauren Denfeld (left/file photo courtesy Oregon State University) to the Husky family. Denfeld will primarily work with the UW distance runners, in conjunction with Metcalf and assistant coach Jason Drake.

Denfeld replaces Kelly Strong, the long time assistant coach, who resigned after the Huskies' third place finish at last fall's NCAA women's cross country championships. Strong recently was named an assistant coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Denfeld comes to Washington from Oregon State, where she helped revitalize the Beavers program as a student-athlete and a coach. After graduating in 2008, Denfeld was hired on at her alma mater in 2009 and spent the past year as an assistant coach with the Beavers.

"We are incredibly excited to add Lauren Denfeld to our coaching staff," said Metcalf. "We put a great deal of thought into this hire and the future of our program. As we got to know Lauren, the choice became increasingly more obvious. She is the perfect fit for our program. She is an intelligent, ambitious, and hard-working young woman. Lauren is full of limitless potential and I am excited to watch her career grow from here. Her primary responsibility will be to work daily with our young student-athletes, and help to build our track and field program as a whole."

A native of Bend, Oregon, Denfeld was one of the original members of the Oregon State women's track and cross country program when it was reinstated in 2004. She became just the second runner in the modern era of OSU track to qualify for the NCAA West Regional Championships, where she ran in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2007 and 2008. Denfeld was then given her first coaching opportunity by her former head coach Kelly Sullivan in 2009.

"Lauren has had the chance to work with one of the great coaches in our sport, Kelly Sullivan, so I know she has an understanding of what it takes to succeed," said Metcalf, who has a past history with Sullivan. "Coach Sullivan said it perfectly: `Lauren was meant to be a collegiate coach.' I would have to say I agree."

I am thrilled to be joining the staff here at the University of Washington," said Denfeld. "Coach Metcalf has built one of the most successful distance programs in the country and I am honored to be working with such a talented group of young men and women. I am excited to live in a beautiful city like Seattle, and to represent an impressive academic and athletic institution like the University of Washington while contributing to the continued success of Husky Cross Country and Track and Field."

Denfeld will look to help the Huskies build on a recent string of unparalleled successes over the past several seasons. The women's team has run to consecutive podium finishes at the NCAA Championships, finishing first in 2008 and third in 2009, while the men's team has posted back-to-back Top-20 finishes for the first time since 1990-91. The USTFCCCA ranked the Husky men's cross country and track and field program fifth in the nation for 2009-10 while the women finished 15th.

Last season with Denfeld on staff, the OSU women's cross country squad finished ninth at the West Regional Championships, matching the program's best finish since reinstatement. Four Beavers advanced to the NCAA Preliminary Rounds on the track as well.

As a student-athlete, Denfeld set the OSU school record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, breaking it several times, before registering the final mark of 10:38.28 in her final season. Not only does she hold the record, she was also the first woman to ever compete in the event in school history during her rookie season in 2005. In the classroom, Denfeld earned the program's first CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 Second Team honor, as well as multiple Pac-10 All-Academic First Team awards for track. She also was a recipient of a Pac-10 Postgraduate Scholarship.

Denfeld graduated from Oregon State in 2008, earning her bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a focus in marketing and a minor in Spanish.

The Husky distance runners report next week in preparation for their season opener September 3rd against cross state rival Washington State in Eprhata.

NOTE: The University of Washington sports information office and Oregon State University contributed to this report.

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