Track & Field Advances Six in First Day of NCAAs

June 12, 2003

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams completed the first day of competition at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Sacramento State University's Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex. The Wildcats got off to a successful start in the morning session with three athletes advancing in their respective events.

Junior Ilona Rutjes got things started for the Arizona women in the discus. Rutjes was second in her flight with a throw of 168 feet, 8 inches (51.42m). Heading into the third round of the preliminaries, Rutjes was in a spot to qualify for the final, but broke out with a six-foot improvement to give her the sixth best mark in the field of 28 throwers.

Senior Seynabou Ndiaye kept things rolling for the Wildcats in the 100-meter dash. Facing a slight headwind, Ndiaye was sixth in her heat. She finished in a time of 11.81 seconds, advancing to semifinals on time.

In the women's 100-meter hurdles, sophomore Sharifa Jones took the track for the UA women. Jones was fifth in her heat, finishing in 13.55 seconds. Jones will compete in Friday morning's semifinals, advancing to the next round based on time.

Sophomore Jeff Hunter closed out the morning session for the Wildcats. In the 110-meter hurdles, Hunter was sixth in his heat. He faced a strong headwind to finish in 14.31 seconds, and did not advance to the semifinals.

Senior Rich Legarra opened up the evening session for Arizona in the men's hammer. With three consecutive improvements, Legarra finished sixth in his flight with a final mark of 197 feet, 5 inches (60.17m). He was fifteenth overall in the preliminaries, falling just short of the top twelve that advance to the finals.

In the women's 100-meter dash semifinals, Ndiaye finished sixth in the second of two heats. She clocked a time of 11.72 seconds down the straightaway, but was unable to earn a spot in the final.

Senior Julie DeMarni ended her career as a Wildcat on Wednesday night. In the third flight of the women's javelin, DeMarni finished ninth and did not quailify for the final. In the men's shot put, sophomore Sean Shields was fourth in the second flight. He finished with a best throw of 59 feet, 5 � inches (18.13m) to claim a spot in the final.

In the first of two sections of the women's 5,000 meters, junior Beth Hoge finished seventh in 16:30.16. Hoge qualified for the final on Saturday night with the 13th-fastest time in the field. In the men's 5,000 meters, freshman Robert Cheseret finished third in the second of two sections. Cheseret's time of 14:02.63 earned him an automatic berth into Saturday's final.

The Wildcats continue competition at Sacramento State University on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. PT, beginning with the women's pole vault qualifying.

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