In-State Rivals Up Next For Arizona Track & Field
Feb. 12, 2002
Up Next: The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams will head to Flagstaff, Ariz. on Thursday, Feb. 14 for a double-dual meet with NAU and ASU. NAU will play host to the Wildcats and Sun Devils at the Sky Dome beginning at 4 p.m. MST.
The Competition: The meet will feature Arizona's three major universities in an indoor double-dual meet. Each year NAU, ASU, and UA meet in the indoor and outdoor season. NAU is a powerhouse in the Big Sky Conference, while ASU is coming on strong in the Pac-10. The Arizona women's team come in as the only ranked team in the Trackwire 25 at No. 2.
Fast Forward: The indoor track and field season is quickly approaching the conference and national championships. The Wildcats will head to Flagstaff, Ariz. for the Mountain Pacific Conference Championships on Feb. 22-23. This meet will feature tough competition from several western states.
Murray's Musings: 'Every year, this meet is a highlight to go against Arizona State and Northern Arizona. We want to do well just because they are in-state schools. It's not a meet that will make or break your season, but it's still important. You just don't want to get beat by any other in-state schools, but we aren't going to sacrifice anyone to win.
'Both schools are very good this year. ASU is coming on strong this year. NAU is the perennial champion in the Big Sky Conference. NAU definitely will have an advantage since they are more geared to the altitude.
'We are coming off of a very good meet at Nebraska. Our team scoring wasn't able to offset the bigger teams, but we did very well. I am really excited about Amy Linnen, Brianna Glenn, and Mike Kenyon. I'm also really pleased with our men throwers, Sean Shields and Rich Legarra. Our vaulters are strong on both the men's and women's sides. So far, this has been a good year to this point.'
Scouting the Wildcats: The men's and women's track and field teams are enjoying a tremendous amount of success this year. The women have improved to a sole-possession of the number two ranking in the latest Trackwire 25 poll. Both teams have had several national qualifiers, including an NCAA record-setting performance in the women's pole vault. The men are steadily improving at every meet as they gain more national qualifiers each time out.
The women return one of the strongest teams in recent history. Senior Brianna Glenn, defending national champion in the 200m and long jump, is Arizona's premier sprinter. She will be a dominant force during the 2002 season. Arizona also boasts the talent of 2002 NCAA individual cross country champion in senior Tara Chaplin. The momentum of her fall championship run will likely be the motivation to give it all she has during the 2002 track and field season. The Wildcats also return several women with great potential this year. Senior Angela Foster will be the Wildcats' leading thrower this year, and sophomore vaulter Amy Linnen comes back after two fifth-place finishes at the indoor and outdoor championships.
The Arizona men return quite a talented team for the 2002 season. Senior Mike Kenyon will be a key component in the sprinting events this year. He helped lead the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish in the 4x400m relay at last year's NCAA Indoor Championships. Junior Matt Lea and senior Jules Doumbya, also 4x400m relay team members, return for this season. Redshirt freshman Adrain Thomas will probably surprise a lot of teams out there with his sprinting abilities. He is expected to contend for a spot on the 4x400m relay team. Newcomers Sean Shields in the throws and Aaron Powell in the 800m have the potential to make a huge impact this season for the Wildcats.
2001 In Review: The Arizona track and field program had one of its finest seasons ever in 2001. The Wildcats produced 16 total All-Americans and four NCAA titles. The women's team capped the year with a third-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The Indoor Championships produced eight All-America honors and three NCAA titles. The Wildcats doubled the number of All-Americans at the Outdoor Championships and added one more NCAA title to the mix. Arizona brought home two top-five finishes and one top-20 finish.
The women's team made history at the NCAA Championships with the highest finish (third) in Arizona history. The Wildcats scored 44 points with only four competitors at the meet, and the women brought home three individual titles.
The Arizona men had a very successful season, as well. The men's team finished 13th with 15 points at the indoor meet, but it was unable to come up with any points at the outdoor meet. The men took five athletes to the meet and only competed in two events.
Then-junior Brianna Glenn's remarkable performances earned her two NCAA titles. She won the long jump title and then went on to win the 200m and place third in the 100m. Joining the scoring party was senior Andrea Dutoit when she took to the pole vault competition. She brought home the championship after a vault of 14-9 ï¿½ feet (4.20m). Leading the way for the men was senior Patrick Nduwimana. He took home the individual title for the 800m at the indoor meet. He also led the 4x400m relay team, which placed fourth. Joining him in the relay were junior Matt Lea, senior Mike Kenyon and junior Jules Doumbya.
Reaching New Heights: When Amy Linnen took to the pole vault competition at the Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., her goal was to just get in there and do her best for the team. When the night was over, Linnen had done much more than her best. Not only did she place first in the event, but she blew the rest of the competition away with a new NCAA record. Linnen's vault of 14-10 broke the old record for the indoor pole vault by 1/2 inch. Her mark is better than the outdoor record, but it will only stand for the indoor season. During the meet, Linnen cleared every height on her first attempt until she tried to break the world record. Despite her efforts, she came up short three times at 15-5 3/4. 'I knew I had it in me,' Linnen said. 'I just didn't know it was going to be today. I don't want to sound cocky, but I think I'm capable of a lot more. I think God gave me a special talent, and this is it.'
National Qualifiers: After two meets down in the indoor season, Arizona has six provisional or automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 8-9. The Wildcat men have three athletes qualified for the championships to this point. Mike Kenyon ran a 21.23 in the 200m and 46.95 in the 400m to qualify provisionally in both events. Throwers Richard Legarra and Sean Shields are also provision qualifiers in the shot put with throws of 60-4 and 58-9 1/2, respectively. The Arizona women had two athletes post automatic qualifying marks for the indoor championships. Brianna Glenn ran a 7.28 in the 60m, 23.83 in the 200m, and jumped 20-7 1/4 in the long jump. Glenn's 60m time is an automatic qualifier, while here 200m and long jump finishes are provisional marks. Amy Linnen vaulted 14-10, a new NCAA record, in the pole vault to qualify automatically. Each automatic qualifier is guaranteed a spot in the national championships, while provisional qualifiers will compete depending on the number of automatic qualifiers in their respective events.
The Coaches: Director of track and field and cross country Dave Murray (Arizona, '65) enters his 35th year as a coach at Arizona, making him the longest tenured coach in the Wildcat athletic department. He has coached over 160 All-Americans in cross country and track and field and 28 NCAA individual champions. Associate head coach Fred Harvey (15th year, Cal Poly-SLO, '82) coaches the Arizona sprinters, hurdles and relay teams. Harvey has coached several world-class athletes, such as Patrick Nduwimana, a 2000 Olympic semifinalist and Arizona track and field veteran. Assistant coach Tom Hays (5th year, Kansas, '89) is one of the top pole vault coaches in the nation and will direct the Wildcat jumpers this season. Assistant coach John Frazier (2nd year, UCLA, '86) was an addition to last year's coaching staff. The Wildcat throwers will be led by coach Frazier. Assistant coach Dawn Mortensen (5th year, Arizona, '96) was a standout sprinter for the Wildcats in the 1990s and works with the Arizona sprinters and hurdlers.