UA Track & Field Sends Six to USA Championships
June 18, 2003
Up Next: The University of Arizona will send five athletes to the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Stanford University. The meet will take place June 19-22 at Stanford's Cobb Track and Angell Field. The Wildcats will be represented by Connie Jerz (pole vault), Amy Linnen (pole Vault), and Jeff Hunter (110m Hurdles) in the senior events. Angel Perkins (200m, 400m), Adam Kuehl (shot put, discus) and Jake Arnold (decathlon) will compete in the USA Junior Championships at the same time and location.
Pole Vault: Jerz and Linnen will face some tough competition in the women's pole vault field. World record holder Stacy Dragila is the favorite to win the competition for the sixth time, while Kellie Suttle should also be a strong contender. Linnen and Jerz are two of the top vaulters at the collegiate level and will be joined by fellow collegians Becky Holliday and Niki McEwen of Oregon and Lacy Janson of Florida State. Also, former Wildcat Andrea Dutoit will be in the mix.
110m Hurdles: Hunter is also coming off a disappointing showing at the NCAA Championships, where he battled a strong headwind in the preliminaries and just missed out on advancing to the semifinals. Hunter looks to improve upon his personal best time of 13.76 seconds this weekend. Three-time World champion Allen Johnson is heavily favored to win this year's title.
Junior 200m: Freshman Angel Perkins enters the 200 meters with one of the fastest times in the field. Perkins ran a season's best 23.90 at the double-dual meet at Arizona State in early May. Shalonda Solomon leads the field with the fastest time, running a quick 23.02.
Junior 400m: Perkins will be a strong contender for the title at this year's meet. She enters with the third-fastest time in the field, only following Stephanie Smith (52.14) and Shana Cox (52.42). She Also has the experience of being the 2000 champion in the 400 meters. Perkins has competed at the national and world levels for the past four years and looks to continue her success this weekend.
Junior Shot Put: Adam Kuehl heads to the USA Junior meet with high expectations. Kuehl has been training hard all season and enters the shot put with a season's best throw of 57 feet, 7 inches. The mark places him among the nation's top junior marks this season. Nik Kujacznski enters the competition with a field-leading throw of 62 feet, 11 inches and is the favorite to win.
Junior Discus: Kuehl will also be a strong contender in the discus at the 2003 meet. He has thrown a season's best mark of 174 feet, 4 inches. Nik Kujacznski also comes in with the nation's top mark in this event with a throw of 204 feet, 10 inches.
Junior Decathlon: Jake Arnold has been improving all season as he has tackled the grueling task of competing in 10 events for the decathlon. The freshman enters the USA meet with a personal best 6,834 points, placing him fourth on the decending order list for competitors. The favorite is Chris Helwick with a best showing of 7,216 points.
The Coaches: Head coach Fred Harvey (16th year, Cal Poly-SLO, '82) begins his first year as the Wildcats' leader. Harvey has coached several world-class athletes, such as Patrick Nduwimana, a 2000 Olympic semifinalist and Arizona track and field veteran. Assistant coach Tom Hays (6th year, Kansas, '89) is one of the top pole vault coaches in the nation and will direct the Wildcat jumpers this season. Assistant coach John Frazier (3rd year, UCLA, '86) was an addition to last year's coaching staff. The Wildcat throwers will be led by coach Frazier. Assistant coach Dawn Mortensen (6th year, Arizona, '96) was a standout sprinter for the Wildcats in the 1990s and works with the Arizona sprinters and hurdlers. Assistant coach James Li (1st year, Beijing Institute of Physical Education) joins the Wildcat coaching staff to coach the distance runners. Li also heads up the Wildcat cross country teams.