If you are a Husky football fan you have plenty of reasons to be optimistic at the moment. Steve Sarkisian and his staff just finished their first spring and visibly made a talent challenged football team look better to all observers.
Out on the recruting trail Washington is off to it's best start ever and is currently ranked by most recruiting services in the top ten nationally. Washington is kinocking on doors long ignored up and down the west coast and is coming away with some big time wins in recruiting.
The latest recruit is a tall and talented receiver from the Los Angeles area by the name of Tevin Carter. Tevin is a five start talent from a small school in the LA area who has attracted a lot of attention in the Pac 10 despite the fact that the recruiting services haven't fully evaluated him yet.
Carter has the dimensions and speed that are reminicent of USC receivers of the past decade. It is obvious Sarkisian is trying to attract the same type of talent he was used to working with in the Southland.
If you are Jake Heaps take notice because Sark also will also be bringing in Jamall Kearse from Lakes in 2010 who is another talented and physical receiver.
Most importantly Heaps has to like the progress that current QB Jake Locker made this spring under Sark's tutleage.
Wakes in the pool
Art Thiel did a little follow up this past weekend on the demise of the swim team and indirectly mentioned Steve Kelley's hatchet job of a story on Washington AD Scott Woodward.
Steve Kelley wrote an incredibly one sided column on the demise of the swimming team. He criticized Woodward for being heartless in the way he delivered the news.
"I don't want to say anything bad about the athletic department here, because I've really enjoyed my time here," Gong said, "but he [Woodward] was in the room for maybe 30 seconds. He was very cold. There was no emotion. I didn't feel any sorrow from him. There were no words of grief."
Art Thiel took the time to follow up with Scott Woodward's side of the story which is an angle that Steve Kelley chose to ignore.
"We decided to tell the truth, be decisive, factual and exit the room," he said. "I didn't want to come off as insincere, or give false hope. But it was hell. You feel godawful. There's no nice way to say it, no way to make them feel better.
"It's illogical to them -- they competed their butts off, did everything we and my predecessor (Todd Turner) asked of them. Then this guy comes in, some administrator from the outside, and tells them their program's gone, after they gave their all. I understand."
If anyone actually thinks it was an easy decision to cut the swimming program at UW they are out of their minds. Balancing a budget these days takes hard and unpopular decisions. There are always going to be winners, losers, and casualties along the way.
The seeds for the demise of the program were sewn decades ago and I think most people realize that even though we are all sad to see UW have to cut a sport. like I have said before if you don't like budget cuts by some football season tickets. Win or lose the football program is the funding mechanism for the entire thletic department.
That is also one of the reasons Woodward considered moving the Apple Cup to Qwest Field. Revenue isn't as easy as it was once to find and expect UW and other schools to continue to make decisions that may at first seem unpopular but in the end may be the only way to keep the boat floating.
Huskies fade on Lake Natoma
Washington finished third behind California and Stanford in the Men's Pac 10 Grand Finale. The high heat got to Washington yesterday
The Bears assumed a slight early lead over Washington and Stanford, but Cal's advantage was never more than two seats. Stanford surged halfway through the 2,000 meters into second over Washington, with Huskies fading in the final 500 meters. The Bears won in 5 minutes, 41.9 seconds, with Stanford second in 5:42.2 and Washington third in 5:44.1.
UW has raced the Golden Bear's three times this season and is now 1-2 against their arch rivals. They will race again when they head East to compete for the national title in the IRA in June.
If you take a good look at those times you can tell all three of those crews were simple smoking in the final race.
Washington was punded by a good 10 seconds in the women's final finishing 4th. Coach Bob Ernst continues to rebuild the women's program and his recruiting efforts should put together a title contender next season.
As anyone can tell you it isn't easy coming from behind.
Husky softball team advances in 15 innings
The budget crunch at the University of Washington hasn't been helpful in the softball team's pursuit of a national championship. The third seeded Huskies will not be hosting any tournament games this season because they do not have lights at their stadium. Since ESPN is televising many of the games they are requiring lights which makes sense.
So the softball team had to open up tournament play 3000 miles away in New England. The Huskies prevailed with a 6-1 victory over U-Mass in 15 innings to move on to the super regional which is most likely in Guam.
But the tireless pitching of Lawrie (35-7) and UMass starter Brandice Balschmiter (34-6) let the 1-1 tie run through 14 innings.
Each pitcher threw complete games in the first game. Balschmiter threw 114 pitches in Game 1 and Lawrie 144. Their arms got no rest in Game 2. Balschmiter threw 243 pitches and Lawrie 251. Lawrie had a career-high 24 strikeouts and Balschmiter, who did not walk a batter, had 14 strikeouts.
"When you're playing a game like that it's not that you're tired," Lawrie said. "You've got to look at what you've done to get there. You've got to look at all the money you've put in the bank. And you're not done spending."
Of her game with Lawrie, Balschmiter said: "Going to the line [after the game], there was a respect, a mutual moment. We both pitched our hearts out tonight."
If Washington is going to win it's first national championship in softball it is going to be on the arm of Danielle Lawrie. Having her out on the mound for 15 innings is just brutal. It will be interesting to see how she bounces back in the super regionals.