Wildcat Track and Field Off To NCAA Indoor Championships
March 5, 2002
Up Next: The University of Arizona will send five athletes to this year's NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday, March 8 - Saturday, March 9. Competing for the Wildcats will be Brianna Glenn (60m, 200m and long jump), Amy Linnen (pole vault), Tara Chaplin (5,000m), Mike Kenyon (400m) and Sean Shields (shot put).
The Competition: The meet will close out the 2002 indoor track and field season for the Wildcats. It will be held in Fayetteville, Ark. on the University of Arkansas campus. The competition will include national track and field powerhouses such as LSU, UCLA and Tennessee, along with the top individual performers from around the nation.
Fast Forward: With the beginning of the outdoor season here, the Wildcats can look forward to competing on their home track. The Wildcats' first home meet will be the Willie Williams Invitational on March 15-16, followed by the Jim Click Shootout on March 23.
Looking Back: At last year's indoor championships, the Wildcat women finished tied for third place with Clemson. Glenn, Linnen and Chaplin all went to last year's championships. The Arizona men finished in 13th last year. Kenyon competed last year in the 4x400m relay for the Wildcats.
Murray's Musings: 'The only person we did not get in that we were hoping for was pole vaulter Kevin Opalka. The NCAA took 15, and he was 17th on the performance list. He only missed it by 2cm, so that's really too bad. He had a big personal record this year going 17-6, but it wasn't quite good enough.
'We have Sean Shields in the shot put, and Mike Kenyon qualified in the 200m and 400m. He's only going to concentrate on the 400m so he can try to finish in the top three or four. With the way he has been running, he definitely has a shot at it.
'On the women's side, we have three excellent competitors. Brianna Glenn will compete in three events, which isn't something we anticipated. We thought it was too much to ask, but she insisted. Friday will be a tough day for her competing four times during the day. Also, Amy Linnen is going in as the number one pole vaulter. Tara Chaplin is ranked ninth, but we feel she can finish a lot higher. We may not have the quantity, but we have a lot of quality competitors.'
Scouting the Wildcats: The men's and women's track and field teams are enjoying a tremendous amount of success this year. The women are ranked number five 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 have 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 has been 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 is the Wildcats' leading thrower this year, and sophomore vaulter Amy Linnen broke the NCAA indoor record earlier this season.
The Arizona men return quite a talented team for the 2002 season. Senior Mike Kenyon is 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.
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: As the regular indoor season comes to a close, 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 20.99 in the 200m and 46.04 in the 400m to automatically qualify in both events. Throwers Richard Legarra and Sean Shields are also provisional qualifiers in the shot put with throws of 62-0 3/4 and 61-9, respectively. The Arizona women had two athletes post automatic qualifying marks for the indoor championships. Brianna Glenn ran a 7.28 in the 60m, 23.40 in the 200m, jumped 20-7 1/4 in the long jump and 41-5 1/4 in the triple jump. Glenn's 60m time is an automatic qualifier, while her 200m, long jump and triple jump finishes are provisional marks. Amy Linnen vaulted 14-10, a new NCAA record, in the pole vault to qualify automatically. Sarah Jacobs has provisionally qualified in the pole vault with a height of 12-5 1/2. 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.
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.
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.