UA Track & Field Finishes Day One of Willie Williams Classic

March 21, 2003

TUCSON, Ariz, -- The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams played host to the first day of competition at the 19th running of the Willie Williams Classic. The day's collegiate action consisted mostly of distance events in the evening for the Dave Murray Distance Carnival, which was named after long-time Arizona track and field coach Dave Murray. High school preliminary competition took place during the day as well.

For the Wildcats, the day was a successful one. The only sprint race of the day was the 200 meters. On the women's side of that event, freshman Marquita Taylor finished sixth overall in 24.96 seconds. Elaine Gilmore and Chelsye Wika also competed, finishing 23rd and 26th respectively. For the UA men, a trio of Wildcats finished in the top ten. Jevon Mason led the way with a sixth place showing, finishing in 21.77 seconds. Matt Lea and Adrain Thomas battled it out for first place in the third heat, with Lea coming out victorious in 21.79 seconds, while Thomas was second in 21.86 seconds. Also competing for the UA men were Bruce Bridges (21st), Daniel Olea (24th) and Avery Sneed (27th).

In the first annual Dave Murray Distance Carnival, the Wildcats had several good showings. In the women's 1,500 meters, Beth Hoge, running unattached in this meet, finished first in 4:31.58. Former Wildcat Erin Doherty was third in 4:37.39. Robin Tierney placed 17th overall for the UA women. Nicole Gurnicz was eighth in the women's 5,000 meters, finishing in 18:09.12. Michi Hirakawa-Wong finished 10th, while teammate Adrienne Goeller was 12th. Also, Jenn Ford finished 16th overall. Chelsea Powell ran a time of 1:02.52 in the 400 meter hurdles to claim fifth place. She was followed by a trio of Wildcat women with Lindsay Scarborough (11th), Gina Mazzone (14th) and Rebecca Nott (19th).

On the field for the Wildcat women, the Varner sisters finished second and third in the women's shot put, with both earning NCAA regional qualifying marks. Rachel was second with a throw of 47 feet, 7 � inches (14.52m), and Amber was third with a toss of 47-1 � (14.36m). Julie DeMarni was a second-place finisher in the women's javelin throw, finishing with a best toss of 159-9 (48.70m), improving her season's best by over 15 feet. Amanda Underwood was 13th and Amber Varner was 15th behind DeMarni.

Robert Cheseret led the Wildcat men in the distance races. He finished first in the 800 meters, with a team best time of 1:50.87 for the season, and earned a NCAA regional qualifying time. He was second in the 5,000 meters in 14:28.17. Also in the 800 meters, Aaron Powell finished fourth in a time of 1:53.60, which was just a tenth of a second off of his all-time best that he ran during the indoor season. Jin Daikoku finished fourth in the 1,500 meters in 3:55.84, while teammates Graeme Wells and Wade Juntunen finished eighth and ninth respectively. Five other Wildcats joined Cheseret in the 5,000 meters, with all finishing in the top ten. Kyle Goklish finished third in 14:40.01. He was followed by Mark Anderson (5th), Matt McInvale (7th), Mike Howard (8th) and Eric Bohn (10th). Jeff Hunter ran his first 400 meter hurdles race of the outdoor season, finishing second in 51.63 seconds. Josh Ludwig won the 3,000 meter steeplechase in 9:30.18.

The UA men also had several great performances on the field. Mike Mortensen led the way, with a vault of 16-4 � (5.00m) to finish tied for first in the pole vault and earning a NCAA regional qualifying mark. Sam Jacobson was seventh overall with a vault of 15-3 (4.65m). Adam Zimnisky and Jake Arnold finished tied for eighth. The Wildcats went one-two in the triple jump with J.R. Harrison winning and Mike Mensah in second. Harrison won with a leap of 48-7 � (14.82m), while Mensah finished with a best jump of 48-1 � (14.66m). Richard Legarra was a third-place finisher in the shot put with a throw of 58-5 � (17.82m). Scott Sharpe finished fifth, followed by Adam Kuehl in eighth, who competed unattached. In the men's javelin, former Wildcat Esko Mikkola won the event with the third best throw in the world this year. His mark of 269 feet, 1 inch (82.02m) put him among the world's best. For the Wildcats, Jake Arnold was 12th and Matt Wagner finished 15th.

Competition will conclude on Saturday, March 22 with high school and collegiate action getting underway at 9 a.m. at Roy P. Drachman Stadium.

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