'Cats Impress on Day One

Feb. 27, 2009

SEATTLE, Wash. - The No. 10 women's and No. 22 men's track and field squads kicked off competition at the MPSF Conference Championships in Seattle on Friday as two athletes earned individual titles and both teams are in prime position to make a big run at the competition on Saturday.

Senior Luis Rivera-Morales won the long jump event with his mark of 7.74m (25-4 3/4).  The win kept Rivera-Morales' perfect streak on the season going as he has won all five long jump events he has competed in this indoor season.  More importantly though, the mark moved Rivera-Morales from the proverbial bubble as far as national championships qualifying is concerned.  Enterin the meet, he was ranked 16th in an event where only the top 16 athletes in the country advance to the National Championships in College Station, Texas in two weekends.  With his performance Friday, Rivera-Morales moved up to 11th on the list and gave himself some breathing room and almost guaranteeing him a spot in the meet.

'We came in this weekend knowing what we needed to do to get out of (that situation),' Rivera-Morales said. 'I just went out there and got it done.'

Senior Jordan Powell placed fifth in the event to also earn points for the men's team.

Also earning a conference title was junior pole vaulter Gabriella Duclos.  Duclos did not miss a jump until after she was already guaranteed the victory and cleared 4.20m (13-9 1/4) on her first try to seal the deal.  Duclos is also one of the UA athletes guaranteed a spot at the National Championship by earning the NCAA automatic qualifying mark. 

Senior Shevell Quinley also made she that she booked her plane ticket to Texas on Friday by finishing third in the pentathlon with a score of 4005, just squeaking over the automatic qualifying score of 4000.  Quinley entered the final portion of the event, the 800-meters, needing to run a 2:24 in order to earn the auto bid.  She ran the race in 2:23.05.

Sophomore LaTisha Holden set a new personal record in the preliminaries for the 60-meter hurdles event by setting the fastest all-around time of 7.46 to give her the number one seed in tomorrow's final.  Freshman Dahlys Marshall also qualified for the final in the event.

Irine Lagat eared points for the women's team with her seventh place finish in the 5,000-meter run to help set the women up in sixth place after one day of competition and just six points out of fourth.  Tomorrow will see a lot of points available to the team as well, especially with the nation's top high jumper in Liz Patterson competing.

The men's distance medley relay team of Dylan Fitzpatrick, Bobby McCoy, Jordan Mara and Abdi Hassan set a provisional qualifying time of 9:40.72 to put them around tenth place in the nation in only their first ever time running the event.

The men current sit in seventh place with 19 points though the leader, Arizona State, sits with only 28 points giving the men ample opportunity to make up ground in tomorrow's events.

All results from day one of the MPSF Championships can be found here.  The meet will resume tomorrow around noon and all live results from the final day will be found at this link.

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