Arizona Track & Field Prepares for Drake Relays
April 23, 2002
Up Next: The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams will travel to Des Moines, Iowa from April 25 through April 27 for this year's Drake Relays. This will be the 93rd year the event has taken place at Drake University. Events will begin at 9 a.m. CDT on Friday and at 8 a.m. CDT on Saturday and Sunday.
The Competition: This prestigious event attracts some of the world's top athletes every year. This year there are 8,787 athletes registered to compete. Sixteen Drake Relays record-holders will be returning to compete again this year.
Fast Forward: The Wildcats will be back in Tucson for the fourth and final home meet of the 2002 season on Saturday, May 4. It will be the annual double-dual meet with Arizona State and Northern Arizona, set to begin at 11 a.m. It will also be head coach Dave Murray's last home meet as Wildcat track and field head coach.
Looking Back: The Wildcats had a very impressive weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays that ran April 19 through April 21. The highlight of the meet was when senior Tara Chaplin automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 10,000m. Several other Wildcats improved their times and performances for postseason competition.
Murray's Musings: 'The Drake Relays is definitely one of the highlights of the outdoor season. It has a great atmosphere to compete in. There will be 20,000 to 22,000 fans in the stands everyday. It will give our athletes the opportunity to compete against some great competition in front of a big crowd. 'One thing we always have to worry about is the weather. We will be hoping for some good weather that will allow for some great competition. 'This is one of those meets that we will run more relays. We will be running the distance medley, the 4x100m and the 4x400m. We will also have several athletes competitng in individual events. Brianna Glenn will try to defend her 200m title on Saturday. 'It is just a really exciting meet with a lot of enthusiasm. We are used to competing in front of very small crowds. This will let our athletes compete against some of th best with a lot of fans. It is always a great meet.'
Scouting the Wildcats: The men's and women's track and field teams are enjoying a tremendous amount of success this year. The women finished the indoor season with a final No. 5 ranking in the Trackwire 25 and a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The men took two athletes to the indoor championships, garnering All-America honors for both. The women came home with three All-Americans.
The women have one of the strongest teams in recent history, currently ranked No. 6 in the Trackwire 25 poll, which is the highest ranking they have received in the 2002 outdoor season. 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, including a Drachman Stadium record in the 100m at the Jim Click Shootout and an NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 11.34 at the Mt. SAC Relays. Arizona also boasts the talent of this year's NCAA individual cross country champion in senior Tara Chaplin. The momentum of her fall championship run is the motivating factor for her this season. She earned an automatic-qualifying time of 33:30.59 in the 10,000m at the Mt. SAC Relays. The Wildcats also return several field events competitors with great potential this year. Senior Angela Foster is the Wildcats' leading thrower this year. Sophomore vaulter Amy Linnen won the NCAA indoor pole vault title after setting the NCAA indoor record in that event for the second time this season.
The Arizona men have quite a talented team for the 2002 season. Senior Mike Kenyon is a key component in the sprinting events this year. He has an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 45.38 in the 400m this season. Junior Matt Lea and senior Jules Doumbya are a huge factor every week for the Wildcats. 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 are having a huge impact this season for the Wildcats. Freshman hurdler Jeff Hunter has been an impressive perfomer with his speed and agility in the 110m high hurdles and 400m intermediate hurdles.
Reaching New Heights: When Amy Linnen took to the pole vault competition at the Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. on Feb. 8, 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.'
Linnen's record-setting performances did not stop there. After finishing second to UCLA's Tracy O'Hara at the Mountain Pacific Conference Championships, she knew that she still had something to prove. At the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. on March 8-9, Linnen set the record yet again. This time the mark stood at 14-10 1/4 (4.53m). She out-performed the closest competition by 11 inches. The second-place finisher was O'Hara who finished with a vault of 13-11 1/4. Linnen has also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a vault of 14-0 at the Stanford Invitational.
Freshman Phenom: Freshman thrower Sean Shields has been on a roll since the 2002 indoor season began. In his first season as a Wildcat thrower, he broke the UA freshman shot put record in three consecutive meets during the indoor season. The record now stands at 62-4 1/4 (18.90m), which is also the best toss this year by an Arizona thrower in the shot put. That throw also qualified Shields for the NCAA Indoor Championships. He placed 13th at the indoor national championships with a throw of 60-10 3/4 (18.56m). In the outdoor season, he has already qualified provisionally in the shot put with a toss of 60-6 (18.44m). He also has a Pac-10-qualifying throw in the discus with a mark of 176-5 (53.78m). Shields will be an important factor for the Wildcats as when they head into the postseason at the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Breeze: Senior sprinter and jumper Brianna Glenn is blazing a trail again. Every year at this time, Glenn's name is commonly heard among collegiate track and field's enthusiasts. Well, this year is no different. At the NCAA indoor championships, Glenn competed in three events (60m, 200m and long jump). She earned All-America honors in the 60m and 200m after finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. In outdoor competition, Glenn is doing it all over again. She set a Drachman Stadium record in the 100m at the Jim Click Shootout on March 23, with a time of 11.36. She improved her NCAA-provisional time in the 100m to 11.34 at the Mt. SAC Relays. She also clocked a speedy 24.06 in the 200m at the same meet. She earned an NCAA automatic qualifying jump in the long jump at the Sun Angel Classic with a leap of 21-5 (6.49m). Glenn is having yet another amazing season for the Wildcats.
Hunter's Heat: Another young Wildcat is proving to be another great find by the Arizona coaches. Freshman Jeff Hunter continues to impress the Wildcat coaches meet after meet. He has already qualified for the Pac-10 Championships in both the 110m high hurdles and and 400m intermediate hurdles. Hunter has also been a part of the 4x100m relay, which has provisionally qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He will compete on the 4x400m relay team at the Drake Relays as well. He will be another important factor for the Wildcat men when the Pac-10 Championships roll around in mid-May.
2002 Indoor Championships: The University of Arizona women's track and field team finished ninth at the 2002 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday, March 9, hosted by the University of Arkansas, at the Randal Tyson Track Center. The Arizona women's team took only three athletes to the event, and the team closed the two-day event with 19 total points to finish in ninth place. Senior sprinter Brianna Glenn finished fourth in the 60m dash event final with a time of 7.33 on March 9 and earned All-America honors in the event. Glenn accounted for nine of Arizona's 19 points. In competition on March 8, Glenn placed fifth in the 200m final with a time of 23.29 and finished 15th in the long jump with a final mark of 19-4 3/4 (5.91m). She also earned All-America honors in the 200m. In the first day of competition on March 8, Wildcat sophomore Amy Linnen led the Wildcat charge, winning the NCAA title in the pole vault. Linnen, who earned the team 10 points with the win, ended the evening with a vault of 14-10 1/4 (4.53m). The mark became a new school and NCAA indoor record, as Linnen won her first-career NCAA title. The three-time All-American improved upon her fifth-place finish in the pole vault at the 2001 NCAA Indoor Championships where she recorded a vault of 13-9 1/4 (4.20m). On March 8, senior Tara Chaplin also finished in 15th place overall with a time of 16:58.12 in the 5,000m final. The Wildcat men's team took two athletes - Sean Shields and Mike Kenyon - to the Championships but did not place in the final team rankings. In action on March 8, freshman Sean Shields placed 13th in the shot put with a toss of 60-10 3/4 (18.56m). Senior Mike Kenyon finished third in his heat of the 400m preliminaries. Kenyon's time of 47.05 was just off the qualifying time necessary to advance to the final.
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) is in his 35th and final 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, hurdlers 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.-30-