16 UA athletes to compete in Des Moines
June 9, 2008
The UA men's and women's track teams will both send several athletes to the NCAA National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa this week. After competing throughout the year to earn a chance to qualify at regionals and advance the national championship, the team will finally find themselves on the big stage.
Of the 16 athletes that will compete this week, 11 of them earned automatic qualifying bids at the NCAA West Regional Championships. The five others were chosen out of the NCAA's at-large pool as some of the top remaining athletes in the country who did not earn an automatic qualification.
Of these athletes, four are senior and three of those are members of the men's 4 x 400-meter relay team. Seniors Jeremie Brower, Robert Chozet and Bobby McCoy team with junior Chris Titsworth and fought their way to a sixth place finish at the regional meet. However, only the top three teams earn the auto bid and so the squad had to be chosen out of the at-large pool and were awarded the 18th and final spot in the event. The selection gives the three seniors one last chance to perform in the collegiate career.
McCoy also failed to earn an automatic qualification in the 400-meter dash. But he has a top mark on the season of 45.31 that ranks seventh nationally, has earned an invitation to Olympic Trials later on this month and is coming off of a fourth place All-American performance in the event of the NCAA Indoor National Championships a couple months ago. The resume made McCoy an easy selection for an at-large bid.
Senior thrower Shawn Best also earned an at-large selection in the men's shot put event. The All-American from year's past has a best throw on the season of 19.44m that ranks fifth nationally and also made him a shoo-in for the national meet.
He will join his teammate and top-ranked collegiate thrower Zack Lloyd in the event. Lloyd, who also earned All-American honors at the indoor meet, has a top mark of 21.03m on the season and is one of the favorites the win the whole thing in the event. His toughest competition will likely come from ASU's Ryan Whiting and the two will battle for both state and national bragging rights. Lloyd will also see competition in the men's discus event.
Senior Jarred Sola will also be competing in his final meet in the shot put event as well.
The men's 4 x 100-meter relay team has a couple new faces on it this year compared to the one that earned All-American accolades at last year's national championships. But despite losing Troy Harris and Antoine Cason from the team, Xuehan Xiong and freshman Alston have filled in nicely in addition to returning seniors McCoy and Marcus Tyus. This year's team currently ranks 11th in the nation and is coming off from winning the first place crown in the West Region.
Luis Rivera-Morales rounds out the men's qualifiers and will compete in the long jump.
On the women's side, junior Shevell Quinley will look to defend the All-American honors she earned at the indoor championships in the multi-events as she competes in the heptathlon this week. She also earned a qualification in the 100-meter hurdles separately from her automatic qualification in the heptathlon.
Christina Rodgers is coming of a personal record setting performance at the regional meet in the 800-meter run and will look to earn her first All-American honors this weekend.
A complete release for the national championship will be available on the Arizona Athletics website within the next couple days.