Veterans Impress At First Meet
Jan. 18, 2009
Veterans on the UA No. 19 men's and No. 15 women's track and field squads kicked off the track and field season with a bang on Saturday at the Lumberjack Invitational in Flagstaff, Ariz. as three upper classmen earned automatic qualifications to the NCAA Indoor Championships in just their first meet of the season.
Defending outdoor high jump champion Liz Patterson picked up right where she left off last season as she matched her career best with a mark of 1.88m (6-2) to take first place in the season-opening meet. The junior's mark automatically guarantees her a spot at the Indoor Championships, easily clearing the required 1.85m qualification and beat her nearest competition by over four inches. The mark was also an indoor personal best.
Senior Zack Lloyd came out and showed why he should be regarded as one of the favorites in the shot put come March as he smashed his personal indoor best with a throw of 19.71m (64-8) which, barring the results of other meets from Saturday, gives Lloyd the top mark in the country the begin the season. The mark easily bested his indoor personal record of 19.60m set last season.
The final athlete to earn an automatic bid to the national meet was junior Gabriella Duclos who dominated the competition in the pole vault with her best clearence of 4.22m (13-10). The mark was good not only for the automatic bid, but was also an all-time personal best for Duclos, both indoors and outdoors.
'We're really pleased with the way out top people came out and got it done,' said UA head coach Fred Harvey. 'We got really great performances out of the key people.'
'In some of the freshmen or sophomores, we want to see some higher performances. They are younger and just starting to figure out what this level of competition is all about,' he added.
Another athlete that had a notable performances on the day were senior Megan Howard, who swept the shot put and weight throw events. Her best toss of 15.55m (51-0 1/4) was also good for a provisional qualification, meaning that if not enough athletes earn automatic bids to the NCAA CHampionships, the next group of athletes who achieved the provisional qualification will be accepted in descending order. Fellow senior Nicole Lloyd also earned a provisional bid after falling just short of Howard's mark with a best of 15.48m.
Senior Bobby McCoy finished first among collegiate athletes in the 200-meters and third overall. The men's 60-meter hurdles was an all-Arizona affair as senior Chris Titsworth, junior DeLoyd Gray and sophomore Ty Cordova swept the first three positions belong to collegiate athletes. Former UA-standout Jake Arnold won the event.
Senior Luis Rivera-Morales took the long jump title with a mark of 7.62m (25-0) to earn a provisional qualifcation. The UA's Jordan Powell finished second.
The UA will be back in action next Saturday at the New Mexico Cherry and Silver Invite in Albuquerque, New Mexico.