Jim Click Shootout Awaits 'Cats
April 1, 2009
The UA’s No 22. women’s and unranked men’s track and field teams will take to Roy P. Drachman Stadium over the next three days as they host their biggest home meet of the season in the annual Jim Click Shootout.
The event, sponsored by legendary southern Arizona businessman Jim Click, gives athletes from across the country to see what it’s like to compete in a big time meet.
“We wants all athletes who may not get a chance to compete at the NCAA (Championship) level to have an opportunity to come to a meet that feels and is big time,” said track and field Director of Operations Francesca Green.
Unlike years past though, this year’s competition will take on a different sort of look that will put conference bragging rights up for brags.
Rather than compete as individual teams, two teams from three conferences will team up together as they duke it out to see which conference is tops. Arizona will team with Washington to represent the Pac-10 and they will face off against Kansas and Nebraska of the Big-12 and Penn State and Wisconsin of the Big-10.
Of course while a victory in the competition would be nice, what is more important is picking up NCAA Regional qualifications. In just two meets this year, Arizona has already scored 11 regional qualifications and will look to take that bar to another level this weekend.
Some of the premier Wildcats will open up their outdoor campaign on Saturday including last year’s outdoor high jump champion Liz Patterson and her partner in crime in Jasmin Day, the All-American husband-wife shot put duo of Zack and Nicole Lloyd, 2007 conference pole vault champion Gabriella Duclos, NCAA Championship long jumper Luis Rivera-Morales and two-time All-American shot putter Megan Howard.
Shevell Quinley will also see her first action of the season in the heptathlon on Thursday and Friday in the multi-event portion of the meet.
The combined events will begin Thursday at 11 a.m. and continue on Friday at 10 a.m. The rest of the athletes will hit the track on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.
Wasting No Time
In just two meets to start the outdoor season, the men’s and women’s squads have already combined for 11 qualifications for the NCAA West Regional Championships later this season.
The coaches feel that getting the qualification out of the way early in the season will allow the athletes to get a weight off their shoulders and focus the rest of their season on preparing for the Regional Championship In Eugene.
So far the UA qualifiers include LaTisha Holden (100-meter hurdles), Dahlys Marshall (100m hurdles), Abdi Hassan (1500-meters), Maggie Callahan (300-meter steeplechase), Irine Lagat (5000-meter run), Nick Mossberg (pole vault), Dutch Perryman (pole vault), Tomaz Bogovic (hammer throw), Tyler Johnson (hammer throw), Taylor Freeman (discus throw) and Korion Morris (shot put).
Return of the All-Americans
Five Wildcats earned All-American honors three weeks ago at the NCAA Indoor National Championships. Those athletes will open up their outdoor season on Saturday.
The throwing events will see Zack Lloyd, Nicole Lloyd and Megan Howard open up in the shot put, hammer throw and discus throw events. Zack Lloyd is a three-time All-American shot putter but also qualified for the NCAA Championships in the discus last year. His wife, Nicole, earned the first All-American accolades of her career at this year’s indoor championships was also an NCAA qualifier outdoors in the shot put and discus throws last year. Howard is a two-time All-American in the shot put and will likely take part in both the hammer and discus throws in addition to that this season.
Junior Gabriella Duclos returned from her red-shirt season in style at the indoor championships, earning All-American honors with a personal best jump in the event at 4.25m. Before sitting out last season, Duclos was the defending conference champion in the event and will look to regain that title this season after already claiming it indoors.
The biggest athletes opening up this weekend may just be junior Liz Patterson. Patterson is the defending national champion outdoors in the high jump and is coming back from an epic indoor championships in which she finished second after setting a personal record with her massive jump of 1.95m. Patterson will look to give Assistant Coach Sheldon Blockburger his fifth national champion in as many years this season as she looks to defend her title.
Release the Luis
Senior Luis-Rivera Morales won the indoor conference titles during the indoor season yet still found himself on the outside looking in as far as the National Championships were concerned. He will look to repeat last year’s trip to the outdoor championships this season as he opens up the season on Saturday.
Wildcats In The Rankings
In the first set of outdoor rankings released by the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for the 2009 indoor season, the Wildcat women find themselves in the top-25 to start things off.
The UA women look to have been propelled by their returning All-American’s and will begin the year ranked No. 22 by the coaches and are the fifth highest ranking team in the Pac-10, behind Oregon, Southern Cal, UCLA and Arizona State who are ranked 3rd, 8th, 9th and 10th respectively.
One of the more unknown streaks of an UA athletes in sophomore Maggie Callahan’s personal record streak in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Callahan has set a personal record seven straight times in the even dating back to her first competition as a Wildcat last season at the Willie Williams Classic in Tucson.
This past weekend, Callahan took it to a new level as she knocked 12 seconds off her previous personal best with a new one of 10:31.52 to qualify for the NCAA West Regional Championships.
Callahan ranks third all-time at Arizona in the event and has improved her steeplechase time by over a minute in the past year. The top spot in Arizona’s record books lays only 10 seconds away as she looks to keep the streak going Saturday.