UA Track & Field Adds More Postseason Qualifiers at UCLA Invitational

April 5, 2003

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The University of Arizona finished the weekend at the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner Kersee Invitational with several new postseason qualifiers. The meet, held at UCLA, featured strong teams from Arkansas, Hawaii, Georgia, Cal Poly-SLO and UCLA. All in all, the Wildcats earned six new postseason qualifiers and improved times and marks with six other individuals.

On the track for the UA women, Beth Hoge led the way, earning a NCAA regional qualifying time with a win in the 5,000 meters. Her time of 16:46.81 was over 15 seconds faster than her closest competitor. Nicole Gurnicz was the lone Wildcat in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, finishing ninth in 11:29.15. The women's 4x100 meter relay team placed third, while improving their NCAA regional qualifying time to 45.45 seconds. Sharifa Jones made her way into the NCAA regional meet with an eighth-place finish in the 100 meter hurdles and a time of 13.84 seconds. Freshman standout Angel Perkins earned her way into the Pac-10 Championships in her first outdoor meet of the season. Perkins finished fourth in the 400 meters in a time of 55.05. Seynabou Ndiaye, already a NCAA qualifier, improved her time to 11.72 in the 100 meters, finishing fifth overall. Chelsea Powell followed Ndiaye's example by improving her 400 meter hurdles qualifying time to 1:01.07 with a second place finish in the race. In the 200 meters, Marquita Taylor picked up a Pac-10 qualifying time of 24.59 to finish sixth overall.

In the women's field events, the Wildcats continued to look impressive. Amber Varner improved her NCAA qualifier in the hammer throw, finishing seventh and a throw of 171-7 (52.32m). Teammate Jackilyn Drake was ninth with a toss of 155-11 (47.53m). Julie DeMarni was second in the javelin, finishing with a best throw of 144-8 (44.11m). Amber Varner was also the ninth-place finisher in the shot put with a throw of 45-1 � (13.76m). In the discus, Ilona Rutjes was fourth with a throw of 164-0 (50.00m). Right behind her was fifth-place Rachel Varner, who improved her NCAA mark to 162-7 (49.57m).

In the men's running events, Josh Ludwig earned himself a spot in the NCAA regional field for the 3,000 meter steeplechase after a second-place finish in 9:07.01. Mark Anderson finished fifth in 9:16.60. The UA men's 4x100 meter relay team was second in 41.08 seconds. In the 1,500 meters, Jin Daikoku was third, finishing in 3:52.97. Graeme Wells was eighth overall with a time of 3:56.56. Jeff Hunter continued his winning ways with a victory in the 110 meter hurdles in 14.24 seconds. Aaron Powell was sixth overall in the 800 meters, finishing in a season's best time of 1:53.49. Robert Cheseret won the 5,000 meters in 14:21.2 to add a second NCAA qualifying time to his season as he is already qualified in the 800 meters. The men's 4x400 meter relay team improved its NCAA regional qualifying time to 3:09.1, earning the victory over Pac-10 rival UCLA by one second.

On the field for the men, Mike Mensah was the third-place finisher in the long jump with a leap of 22-5 (6.83m). Also competing for the Wildcats, Mark Ramos was fifth overall in the long jump. Mensah was also the third-place finisher in the triple jump, finishing with a best mark of 45-8 (13.92m). Sean Shields finished fifth in the shot put with a throw of 60-3 � (18.38m). He was also sixth in the discus after a throw of 178-5 (54.39m). In men's high jump action, Matt Johnson was sixth after clearing 6-5 � (1.97m).

The Wildcats next competition will be in Mesa, Ariz. on April 11 for the Mesa Invitational at Mesa Community College and then in Tempe, Ariz. on April 12 for the Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State.

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