Patterson Takes National High Jump Lead
Feb. 14, 2009
AMES, Iowa - The way UA high jumper Liz Patterson has been competing this season, the question heading into this weekend's Iowa State University Classic in Ames, Iowa was not really about whether she would win or not, but how much she would win by. Saturday afternoon, Patterson showed the rest of the country that she is playing for keeps by setting a personal record in the event of 1.93m (6-4), surpassing the University of Texas' Destinee Hooker for the national lead in the 2009 NCAA indoor season.
Patterson’s jump was easily a personal best, surpassing her previous mark of 1.88m (6-2) by two inches. It was also a Lied Recreation Athletic Facility record.
The jump places Patterson in some good company at a school that has had phenomenal success in the women’s high jump through the years as she now sits tied with Erin Aldridge for fourth all-time at The University of Arizona.
Patterson is only the fourth UA athlete since 1990 to clear 1.90m (6-2 ¾) and the first since Aldridge did it in Indianapolis in 1997.
Patterson is the returning outdoor champion in the event after upsetting Olympian Sharon Day of Cal-Poly at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa last year. Patterson also won the Pac-10 title in the same event.
Hooker was the outdoor champion in 2006 and 2007 and had led the country this season with a best mark of 1.91m (6-3 ¼) and is regarded by many as the favorite to win again this year. Patterson's jump, however, made a statement that she is still the reigning champion and that she should still be regarded as a favorite herself.
Patterson was not the only UA athlete making splashes Saturday, as athletes competing in both Seattle and Iowa are also in competition.
In Seattle, redshirt freshman Abdi Hassan added his name to the growing list of athletes earning provisional qualifications as he just squeaked in under the required time in the men's mile. Hassan edged out Oregon's James Withers in a time of 4:03.11 to win the event. The mark was good for a personal record and fell just under the NCAA's required provisional time of 4:04.00 for the event.
Senior Dylan Fitzpatrick also won his heat in the same event in a time of 4:07.14, a personal best by over two seconds.
UA athletes will continue to compete throughout the day. Results from the meet will be updated as the day goes on at www.arizonaathletics.com