Athletes Make Most of Last Chance
March 7, 2009
With the NCAA Indoor National Championships looming next weekend, several UA athletes sat right on the bubble of qualifying heading into this weekend's last chance meets. Those athletes headed up to Seattle, Wash. to take part in their NCAA Qualifier and senior Megan Howard and junior Jasmin Day made the most of their last opportunity.
Howard had her best throw of the season at just the right time, winning the event with a mark of 16.08m (52-9 1/4) to move her into 14th place on the national descending order list. The top 16 athletes from each event advance to the Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas. Howard had to wait for results from the other last chance meets across the country to determine her fate but no other athlete made the jump like the All-American did to jump into the top-16.
Day was sitting tied for the 15th spot in the women's high jump heading into the weekend and all it would have taken would have been a couple athletes jumping a centimeter higher to knock her off the bubble. Day eliminated any notion of that by clearing 1.82m (5-11 1/2) to win the event and to put her in a tie for seventh in the country. Day did make things interesting, however, after missing her first two of three attempts at 1.79 (5-10 1/2) and needing to make the last chance just to give her a shot at improving upon her previous season best. She made the third jump at that height but then went on to miss the first two at 1.82m. Her final jump at the height proved to be the golden one and surely helped her and her coaches breathe a sigh of relief.
One athlete who did not benefit from final jump, unfortunately, was senior Luis Rivera-Morales. The conference champion in both the long and triple jumps was sitting in the 16th position in the long jump at 7.74m (24-4 3/4). Rivera-Morales was only able to match that mark on Saturday and did not advance his position, despite winning the event and finishing the indoor season undefeated as an athlete from the other side of the country was able to spoil his hopes. Tarish Alexander of North Carolina A&T was sitting one spot behind Rivera-Morales in 17th place heading into the weekend. Alexander did not come close to match Rivera-Morales' mark on his firth five attempts but on the sixth and final jump, he landed a mark of 7.75m (25-5 1/4) to knock the UA athlete off the bubble by half an inch.
Rivera-Morales may still have an opportunity to advance depending on what athletes ranked in the top-16 actually declare for the event this week as several athletes have qualifed in both the long and triple jumps and may decide to forgo the long jump in favor of the triple jump. Rivera-Morales will have to wait until the declaration lists are released before he finds out his fate.
As it stands now, the UA will send pole vaulters Nick Mossberg and Gabriella Duclos, 400-meter runner Bobby McCoy, shot putters Zack and Nicole Lloyd and Howard, high jumpers Liz Patterson and Day, and pentathlete Shevell Quinley to the Indoor Championships next weekend.