No. 15 Women, No. 19 Men In Albuquerque
Jan. 23, 2009
The No. 15 women’s and No. 19 men’s track and field teams will roll into the second week of competition this season as they head to Albuquerque, N.M. for the UNM Cherry and Silver Invite at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The trip will be the first of back-to-back weekends in the popular New Mexico college town.
The ‘Cats are coming off strong performances in their season-opening meet in Flagstaff, Ariz. this past weekend where the teams combined to earn three automatic NCAA Championships qualifications, three provisional qualifications and fifteen personal records. Not to mention the fact that none of the Wildcat distance team competed and a couple athletes were not participating in their dominant events.
At this point, the UA teams have only ten more meets in which to earn the prestigious, yet short-supplied automatic or provisional bids to the NCAA Championships in March. Because of the short amount of time or meets to do so, it’s important that the Wildcats come out with a bang each and every time they hit the track, according to UA head coach Fred Harvey.
The meet will give the UA plenty of opportunity to show off on a more national level as three other nationally ranked teams will see competition with squads from BYU, Stanford, and rival ASU also partaking in the festivities. A strong showing against such top notch squads could really help to put the UA on the map as far as national championship competitors go, a feat that can never be accomplished too early in the shortened indoor season.
Other squads seeing action this weekend include Adams State - a D-II track and field power , California of the Pac-10, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Northern Arizona just to name a few.
The field events will kick of the meet beginning with the women’s long jump at 8 a.m., followed by the running events which start at 9 a.m. with the men’s 60-meter hurdles preliminaries.
The Wildcats will also be right back at the Albuquerque Convention Center next weekend to compete in the New Mexico Invitational.
The Week in Review
The UA men’s and women’s track and field teams began the season ranked No. 19 and No. 15 in the preseason USTFCCCA poll, respectively. The Wildcats defended this ranking with an impressive performance at the Lumberjack Invitational in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Defending outdoor high jump champion Liz Patterson led the way for the women’s squad with an indoor personal record and matching of her all-time best with her winning jump of 1.88m. The mark is currently the third top jump in the country at this early point in the season.
Gabriella Duclos wasted no time making up for missing last season with an injury as she, too, set an all-time personal best mark in the pole vault on her way to a dominating win in the competition. Both marks were good for NCAA automatic bids.
On the men’s side, senior Zack Lloyd again showed why he should be regarded as one of the dominant throwers in the country in the shot put as he set the standard for the country with his indoor personal best of 19.71m and the top mark in the country my nearly a whole meter.
The season is just beginning, but the results are already looking promising for this young UA squad and they will look to set the bar even high as they head into this weekends meet at the UNM Cherry and Silver Invite.
ATHLETE FEATURE: Liz Patterson
Junior Liz Patterson enters the 2009 track and field season as the reigning NCAA outdoor champion in the women’s high jump. As she enters the world as a collegiate upperclassmen this season, she also took the reigns as one of the UA’s team captains for this year’s squad and will lead her team both on an off the field as the season progresses.
Patterson certainly didn’t appear to have any national championship hangover as the season began last weekend at the NAU Lumberjack Invite in Flagstaff, scoring an easy win with an indoor personal best mark of 1.88m and as the season goes on the pressure will be on Patterson to show more of the same as many expect to see her name at the top of the leaderboard quite often.
The junior out of Rowlett, Texas appears to be at the top of her game to start the season. UA head Coach Fred Harvey says that “her confidence is through the ceiling this season as far as competing is concerned.”
This follows a heartbreaking freshman year in which Patterson missed an NCAA Championship birth by rule of a jump-off, finishing sixth in an event where only the top five advance. The set-back had no ill effects on Patterson though as she bounced back her sophomore year to win the Pac-10 title, NCAA West Regional runner-up honors and the NCAA Championship as she has put herself on the map as one of the premier jumpers in the country almost overnight.
No Lloyd-erring Around
Senior Zack Lloyd’s name has been in the running as one of the top collegiate throwers in the country since he set foot at the UA and last Saturday he wasted no time in showing why.
In just his first meet of the season, Lloyd launched his best throw 19.71m to give him the top mark collegially in this young season.
Lloyd wrapped up the 2008 campaign with the top mark on the season set by a college athlete. With his 21.03m throw, Lloyd set a UA school record and qualified himself for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
With the Trial experience behind him, Lloyd is ready for another big season and will likely be seen at the top of the descending order list throughout the season.
Gabriella Duclos sat out what should have been her junior year last season due to a foot injury. Coming into the year, Duclos was the reigning Pac-10 Champion and a NCAA competitor and would have been a pivotal part of the UA’s championship run.
Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, but Duclos wasted no time getting back into the swing of things Saturday, setting an all-time personal best jump at 4.22m and holding the second top mark in the country heading into this weekend.
UA head coach Fred Harvey said before the meet the Duclos was not going to wait around this season and she made his prediction true with an impressive first meet. Duclos will look took to continue raising the bar in Albuquerque this weekend.
Notable Numbers from Lumberjack Invite
3 - Number of athletes earning both provisional and automatic qualifications to the NCAA Indoor Championships
8 - Events won by UA athletes
64’8” - The distance Zack Lloyd’s winning shot put throw traveled
6’2” - The height of Liz Patterson’s winning jump
13 - Freshmen making their UA debut