Track & Field Edged by Sun Devils but Trounce Lumberjacks

May 1, 2004

TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams played host to the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at the 2004 'Duel in the Desert' on Saturday, May 1. The three schools meet twice each season, once in the indoor season and once in the outdoor season. The outdoor meet alternates between Tucson and Tempe. This year's meet was full of very close competition for all three schools.

In team scoring, both the UA men and women overwhelmingly beat NAU. The men won by a score of 125-61, while the Wildcat women defeated NAU, 139-53. In the competition with Arizona State, both Wildcat squads fell to the Sun Devils. The men lost by a score of 104-96, and the women fell short by a score of 103-95. It was one of the closest competitions between Arizona and ASU in recent years.

Despite the setback to Arizona State, the Wildcats had one of their best meets of the season. By the numbers, Arizona had 28 Pac-10 qualifying performances, 22 NCAA Regional qualifiers, and 37 seasonal improvements.

Sophomore Robert Cheseret had a big day for the Arizona men, winning distance events to pace the Wildcats. In the 800 meters, Cheseret clocked a regional-qualifying time of 1:49.79 in his first time running the event this season. He did the same in the 1,500 meters, clocking a regional-qualifying time of 3:46.83. Pacing himself in the 3,000 meters, Cheseret sprinted to his third victory of the night in the final 300 meters, winning in 8:22.75. Cheseret was closely followed in the 3,000 meters by senior teammate Kyle Goklish, who also sprinted to the front of the pack in the final 300 meters, finishing second in 8:24.50. Junior Jin Daikoku improved his best time in the 1,500 meters, finishing third in 3:51.86.

Junior Sharifa Jones played a huge role in the Wildcats' success. She won the 100-meter hurdles in 13.44 seconds. In the long jump, Jones was second with an outdoor season's best mark of 19 feet, 9 � inches (6.04m). The mark qualifies her for the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional Championships. Jones also paced the 4x100-meter relay team to a win. The squad clocked a time of 44.75 seconds, a regional qualifier. The time was only 1/100th of a second off the school record time. The squad was made up of freshman Tiffany McDonald, sophomores Angel Perkins and Marquita Taylor, and Jones.

Perkins was also a top performer for Arizona. She finished runner-up in both the 200 meters and 400 meters. Perkins clocked NCAA Regional qualifiers and season's best times in both events. In the 200 meters, she was timed at 23.77 seconds, and clocked a time of 52.36 seconds in the 400 meters.

The women's sprinters were posting fast times all over the track. Taylor helped the Wildcats in the 100 meters and 200 meters. In the 100 meters, she tied her season's best time of 11.79 seconds to finish second. She finished right behind Perkins in the 200 meters with a time of 24.27 seconds.

Senior Matt Wagner returned to his winning ways with a victory in the javelin. Wagner threw 225 feet, 2 inches (68.63m) for the win. Freshman Adam Kuehl won the discus at 173 feet, 7 inches. He also finished runner-up in the shot put with a throw of 57 feet, 8 � inches (17.58m).

The UA men's sprinters also had several impressive performances. Senior Jevon Mason was third in both the 200 meters and 400 meters. Mason improved his Pac-10 qualifying time in the 200 meters to 21.22 seconds, while he improved his regional-qualifying time in the 400 meters to 46.39 seconds. In the 100 meters, sophomore Avery Sneed clocked a time of 10.87 seconds to improve upon his season's best time.

In the women's distance races, sophomore Amber Steen was second in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:38.90 seconds. Freshman Karen Langdorf finished runner-up in the 3,000 meters, clocking a season's best time of 10:32.78.

In the 400-meter hurdles, Chelsea Powell went into the competition determined to break the one-minute barrier. She did just that, winning in 59.95 seconds to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships.

Freshman Daniel Cook won the 110-meter hurdles in 14.79 seconds. Cook also finished third in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 55.94 seconds in his first time running the event this season. The men's 4x100-meter relay team finished third in a season's best time of 41.06 seconds. The 4x400-meter relay squad was second in 3:13.61.

Senior Connie Jerz won the pole vault with a clearance of 13 feet, 3 � inches. Senior Sheena McKay cleared a big personal best with a vault of 12 feet, 1 � inches (3.70m) to finish third. In the women's shot put, senior Amber Varner was second with a throw of 47 feet, 1 � inches (14.37m). Her sister, sophomore Rachel Varner, was third with a toss of 44 feet, 10 � inches (13.68m).

Rachel won the discus with a big throw of 180 feet, 6 inches (55.02m). Amber was fourth after a throw of 148 feet, 2 inches (45.17m). In the hammer, senior Jackilyn Drake hit a big personal best with a throw of 178 feet (54.26m) to finish second. Amber was third with a throw of 170 feet, 5 inches (51.95m). Junior Amanda Underwood threw a personal-best 122 feet, 7 inches (37.37m) to finish second in the javelin.

On the field for the Wildcat men, there were a number of very strong performances. Senior Chris Chappell and sophomore Sam Jacobson finished 1-2 in the pole vault. Chappell cleared 16 feet, 10 � inches for the win, while Jacobson cleared a season's best height of 16 feet, 4 � inches.

Junior Mark Ramos led a trio of seasonal improvements in the long jump, finishing second with a leap of 23-11 � (7.30m). Senior J.R. Harrison was third at 23 feet, 9 inches (7.24m), while freshman Daniel Marshall placed fifth with a leap of 23 feet, 0 � inches (7.03m). Harrison won the triple jump at 52 feet, 1 � inches (15.88m). Marshall was second with and improved mark of 48 feet, 9 inches (14.86m).

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