UA Track & Field Fares Well in First Outdoor Meet

March 8, 2003

The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams sent athletes to two different meets on Saturday, March 8. A majority of the squads opened the outdoor season at the Bill Sawyer Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. at Arizona State, while four athletes traveled the Washington Husky Last Chance qualifier in hopes of improving their NCAA qualifying times and marks.

In the first outdoor action of the 2003 season, the Wildcats performed well. Arizona came up with its first NCAA qualifiers in the throws. In the men's hammer throw, three Wildcats earned qualifying marks. Rich Legarra won the event with a throw of 199 feet, 6 inches (60.82m). Ryan Moore and Scott Sharpe finished third and fourth, respectively. Moore had a best throw of 185-3 (56.46m), while Sharpe threw for 183-5 (55.90m). Julie DeMarni earned herself a berth to the NCAA Regional Championships with a throw of 143-8 (43.80m) in the women's javelin. Following DeMarni, Amanda Underwood finished fifth and Amber Varner was sixth. Freshman Rachel Varner threw the discus a NCAA qualifying 152-10 (46.58m) for third place in her first collegiate meet ever. Her sister, Amber, finished fourth with a throw of 145-2 (44.25m). Sean Shields qualified in the discus with a toss of 187-7 (57.17m) and in the shot put with a throw of 62-10 (19.15m). Sharpe also qualified in the shot put, throwing a mark of 54-9 � (16.70m). In the women's hammer, Jackilyn Drake was fourth, while Amber Varner finished fifth. Jake Arnold was a seventh-place finisher in the javelin.

In other field event action, Juanita Braun won the women's pole vault with a vault of 11 feet, 5 inches. Adam Zimnisky placed second in the men's pole vault with a leap of 15-5 �. Following Zimnisky, Arnold finished third, while Sam Jacobson was fourth. Jessica Corkill won the women's long jump with a leap of 17-6 �. Mike Mensah was the top Wildcat finisher in the men's long jump, leaping 22 feet, 7 � inches. Matt Johnson placed third in the men's high jump, finishing at 6-6 (1.98m).

In women's sprinting events, Chelsea Powell finished second in the 100-meter hurdles in 14.58 seconds. Lindsay Scarborough finished fifth, while Amanda Underwood was sixth. Elaine Gilmore was third in the 400 meters. Marquita Taylor finished fourth in both the 100 meters (12.32) and 200 meters (24.96). Powell placed second in the 400 meter hurdles, followed by third-place Scarborough and fourth-place Gina Mazzone. The women ran an 'A' and 'B' squad in the 4x400 meter relay. The 'A' squad finished second, followed by the 'B' squad in third.

On the men's side of the sprints, Arnold was fifth in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.65 seconds. Adrain Thomas was the top Wildcat finisher in the 400 meters, finishing sixth in 48.92. Avery Sneed finished seventh in the 100 meters in 11.30. Thomas was sixth in the 200 meters, finishing in 22.34. Daniel Olea was ninth, followed by Sneed in 12th. The men's 4x400 meter relay team finished second in 3:18.24.

In the women's distance races, Robin Tierney led a trio of Wildcats in the 1500 meters, finishing fourth in 4:48.91. Nicole Gurnicz was fifth and Adrienne Goeller placed seventh. Goeller was fourth in the 800 meters, finishing in 2:37.99. Michi Hirakawa-Wong was fourth in the 3000 meters in a time of 10:40.09. She was followed by Jen Ford in fifth place.

In the men's longer distances, Kyle Goklish was second in 3:57.59, followed by fifth place Josh Ludwig (4:00.71) and eighth place Wade Juntunen (4:06.03). Goklish also led the same trio in the 800 meters, finishing fifth in 1:56.76. Juntunen placed 13th, while Ludwig was 14th. Mike Howard was the top Wildcat finisher in the 3000 meters. He placed fourth in 8:42.69. Eric Bohn wasn't too far behind in sixth place, crossing the line at 8:45.12.

Several Wildcats participated in the Washington Husky Last Chance Qualifier on Saturday, March 8. For the men, Jeff Hunter competed in the 60 meter hurdles to improve his NCAA provisional qualifying time, while also running the 200 meters for the first time all season. He improved his qualifying time in the 60-meter hurdles to 7.83 seconds. In the 200 meters, Hunter ran a time of 21.73 seconds, which did not qualify him for the NCAA Indoor Championships. In the men's pole vault, Chris Chappell was in search of a NCAA qualifying mark, while Kevin Opalka tried to improve his NCAA qualifying mark. Chappell finished with a vault of 17 feet, � inches (5.20m), which was short of the NCAA standard. Opalka finished with a height of 16 feet, � inches (4.90m). He has a previous best 17 feet, 5 inches. Beth Hoge was the lone UA woman to compete. She ran the 3,000 meters, finishing in 9:37.28, which did not improve her previous qualifying time.

The NCAA Indoor Championships will be held in Fayetteville, Ark. on March 14-15 at the University of Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center.

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