Tracks teams take 8th at Pac-10s

May 18, 2008

The UA men's and women's track teams wrapped up competition at the 2008 Pacific-10 Conference Championships Saturday at Joe Selleh Track in Tempe. Having to overcome injuries and an overall lack of depth compared to other teams, both teams came out of the meet with an eighth place finish but were within just a couple events of pulling out top five finishes had things gone just a little differently.

The men's team finished with a total of 65 points, and were only 16.5 points out of a fourth place finish while the women also totaled 65 points and were 15 points out of a top five placing.

'In meet like this you can't have mistakes,' said assistant coach Craig Carter. 'But overall the mentality and attitude of these kids was a whole lot better (than the past).'

The athlete of the weekend was easily thrower Zack Lloyd, who claimed the conference title in the men's shot put with a personal best throw of 21.03m (69' 0') on Friday. The mark is the top collegiate throw nationally in the current outdoor season and ranks pushes Lloyd to the top of UA's all-time best list.

'Basically, I have exceeded my own expectations for where I am at right now,' Lloyd said. 'Once I really finish my workouts and my lifting, who knows how far I'll be able to throw.'

Lloyd then followed the performance Saturday with a third place finish in the discus with a mark of 55.80m (183' 1') to bring his total points contributing to the team to 16.

Jarred Sola also had an impressive performance in the shot put as he earned a fourth place finish with a season's best throw of 18.75m (61' 6 ¼').

The UA also had one other conference champion in the women's high jump where Liz Patterson dominated the competition on her way to a best jump of 1.88m (6' 2'). Patterson set a personal record in the event by one centimeter and cleared the bar on her first attempt on every jump before she barely missed clearing the 1.90m (6' 2 ¾') mark.

Teammate Jasmin Day took third in the event with a best clearance of 1.78m (5' 10').

Other notable performances from the weekend happened in a variety of different events, including both the men's and women's 400-meter dash on Saturday.

Ashley Gadson led off the event with a fourth place finish in a time of 53.76 while teammate Deanna Sullivan fought back from the outside lane to a point-earning finish of eighth in 54.63.

Bobby McCoy followed the ladies performances with a personal best performance of 45.31. The mark would have been good for a win at most venues across the country, but McCoy came in fourth in a 400m field that contained six of the top 25 athletes nationally in the event, including the Nos. 1 and 2 runners. McCoy then pulled up in the men's 200-meter dash with an apparent hip flexor injury, though the extent of the issue is still unknown. McCoy would also not run in the men's 4 x 400-meter relay to conclude the competition

Marcus Tyus also had to pull up in the men's 100-meter dash with a groin, and likely played a critical role in the UA not earning as much points as they potentially could have.

In the women's 800-meter run, Christina Rodgers set an outdoor personal best in her fifth place finish in a time of 2:06.75.

The men's long jumping trio continued to put points on the board for the team, combining to score 26 of the men's points. They started Friday with Luis Rivera taking third in the long jump at 7.48m (24' 6 ½'). He was followed by Daniel Marshall in fourth at 7.43m (24' 4 ½') and Jordan Powell in sixth with his jump of 7.34m (24' 1').

They resumed on Saturday with Marshall's second place finish in the triple jump at 15.60m (51' 2 ¼') and Rivera in fifth with a best jump of 15.25m (50' ½').

Multi-event athlete Shevell Quinley scored points in three events over the two days in the long jump, 100-meter hurdles and high jump. Her mark of 6.01m (19' 8 ½') was good for seventh on Friday. She then finished sixth in the hurdles with a time 13.99 and finished sixth again in the women's high jump with a best clearance and regional qualifying mark of 1.75m (5' 8 ¾').

Megan Howard and Nicole Lloyd also earned points in multiple events across the two days. Howard took fifth place in the hammer throw on her very last throw of 59.33m (194' 8') after almost fouling out at the beginning of the event. She followed this with a fourth place finish in the shot put later in the evening with a best toss of 15.73m (51' 7 ¼'), giving her nine points on the weekend.

Nicole Lloyd did not quite match the success of her husband, Zack, on the weekend but still came through with some big points, placing sixth in both the shot put and discus events with marks of 15.14m (49' 8 ¼') and 49.52m (162' 5'), respectively.

Four new athletes added their names to the already impressive list of regional qualifiers in distance runners MacKenzie Edwards and Maggie Callahan, hurdler Chris Titsworth, and Quinley.

Edwards hit a qualifying mark of 4:28.18 in the preliminary heats of the women's 1500-meter run on Friday and Callahan shaved 17 seconds off her previous personal best in the 3000-meter steeplechase later in the evening as she finished in 10:46.87.

Titsworth also earned a qualification Friday in the preliminary heats on the men's 400-meter hurdles with his personal best time of 52.29 and Quinley qualified in the high jump on Saturday.

Several of the athletes competing over the last couple days officially ended their season after the Pac-10 meet but many of them will simply have the next weekend off before heading to Northridge, Calif. for the NCAA West Regional Championships May 30-31.

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