Wildcat Track & Field Continues to Improve at Two Phoenix Meets

April 13, 2003

PHOENIX, Ariz. - The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams traveled to Mesa, Ariz. and Tempe, Ariz. this past weekend for the Mesa Invitational at Mesa Community College and the Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State University. The Wildcats faced some stiff competition, including many teams ranked in the current Trackwire top 25 polls. The field proved to be an asset for the Arizona squads as quite a few athletes were able to improve their season's best times and marks.

At Friday's Mesa Invitational, the Wildcats were able to excel with the group that competed. Sophomore Sean Shields had one of the best performances for Arizona with a new outdoor best for the season in the shot put. He won the event with a throw of 63 feet (19.20m). Scott Sharpe was fifth in the same event with a throw of 55-3 � (16.86m). In the men's discus, Shields was fifth with a toss of 180-7 (55.04m). Teammate Ryan Moore was 11th overall. In the hammer throw, Moore was the second-place finisher with a mark of 188-10 (57.56m). Sharpe was right behind him in third with a throw of 187-9 (57.24m). In the javelin, Jake Arnold was fourth with a throw of 165 feet (50.30m). In other field events, Mike Mensah was fifth in the long jump after a leap of 21-6 � (6.57m). He also was fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 45-11 � (14.01m). Sam Jacobson was seventh in the pole vault and 11th in the long jump. In the men's track events, Avery Sneed was 10th in the 100 meters and 13th in the 200 meters.

For the women at the Mesa Invitational, Chelsye Wika was 10th in the 100 meters and 12th in the 200 meters. In the 400 meter hurdles, Rebecca Nott improved her season's best time to 1:07.83 with an eighth place finish. On the field, Erin Dudugjian was fifth in the high jump with a leap of 4-9 � (1.47m). In the women's open pole vault, Sheena McKay was third, while Whitney Schauer was seventh overall. In the invitational pole vault, Connie Jerez went on to win the event for the fourth consecutive week. Her clearance of 12-11 � (3.95m) earned her the win this time. Juanita Braun finished tied for second with a leap of 12-5 � (3.80m), which is a new season's best for her and also qualifies her for the Pac-10 Championships. Jessica Corkill finished 10th in the long jump. Amber Varner improved her NCAA regional qualifying mark in the shot put with a throw of 48-1 � (14.67m) to win the event. Rachel Varner was third with a toss of 46-5 � (14.15m). In the discus, Ilona Rutjes was fourth with a toss of 165-11 (50.58m). Rachel Varner was sixth with a mark of 162-6 (49.52m), followed by Amber Varner with another improved mark of 159-1 (48.50m). Amber Varner was fifteenth in the hammer throw, as well.

In Saturday's action at the Sun Angel Classic, the Wildcats continued with several impressive performances. In the men's 800 meters, Robert Cheseret was thirteenth overall, just off of his season's best time and finishing in 1:51.44. Aaron Powell improved his best time to 1:52.15, while teammate Jin Daikoku finished in 1:53.63. Matt Burton also ran a new season's best, crossing the line at 1:55.26, while Graeme Wells finished in 1:59.24. Jeff Hunter was eighth in the 400 meter hurdles in a time of 51.64. In the men's 400 meters, Jevon Mason ran his fastest time this season, finishing eighth in 46.36 seconds. Matt Lea earned a bid to the NCAA regional meet, clocking a time of 47.42 seconds in the 400 meters. Bruce Bridges finished with a time of 11.12 seconds in the 100 meters. Mark Anderson improved his 3,000 meter steeplechase time to 9:14.63 with a seventh-place finish. Josh Ludwig was 16th in the 1,500 meter run with a time of 4:01.58, while teammate Wade Juntunen was 18th in 4:15.35. All four Wildcats in the 5,000 meters improved their season's best times. Kyle Goklish was ninth in 14:35.44, while teammate Mike Howard was 12th in 14:50.44. Matt McInvale crossed the line at 14:59.69 for 17th, and Eric Bohn was 19th in 15:05.59. The men's 4x400 meter relay team was seventh overall, but with a new season's best time of 3:08.11 to improve their standing at the NCAA regional meet.

In the women's action, Sharifa Jones improved her NCAA regional qualifying time to 1:00.26 with a fifth-place finish in the 400 meter hurdles. Right behind her was teammate Chelsea Powell in sixth, also with an improved NCAA qualifying time of 1:00.59. Lindsay Scarborough and Gina Mazzone finished 12th and 13th, respectively. Angel Perkins ran her fastest time of the season in the 400 meters, finishing third in 53.83 seconds. Seynabou Ndiaye placed eighth in the 100 meters with a time of 11.76, while teammate Marquita Taylor finished in 12.14 seconds. Taylor was 13th in the 200 meters with a time of 24.74. In the 3,000 meter steeplechase, Nicole Gurnicz was ninth overall. Robin Tierney clocked a time of 4:53.14 in the 1,500 meter run. Adrienne Goeller vastly improved her season's best time in the 5,000 meters, finishing fifth in 14:41.52. Michi Hirakawa-Wong also improved her time with a 10th place finish in 18:00.78. The women's 4x400 meter relay team was third with a new outdoor best of 3:46.57. In the only field event action of the day for the Wildcats, Sharifa Jones was eighth in the long jump with a leap of 19-0 � (5.81m) to earn a berth in the Pac-10 Championships, while teammate Jessica Corkill was 11th with a jump of 17-4 � (5.29m).

The Wildcats will head back to California next weekend to compete against some world-class competition. The UA discus throwers will compete at the Antelope Valley Discus Classic in Antelope Valley, Calif., while the rest of the squad will head to Walnut, Calif. for the Mt. SAC Relays, a three-day affair featuring some of the world's best track and field athletes.

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