'Cats Push Devils to the Brink in Dual

May 3, 2009


TEMPE, Ariz. - The results of the annual UA-ASU-NAU Double Dual meet have left a little to be desired for the Wildcats over the past couple seasons.  Those previous results seemed to have no bearing over this years Wildcat squad, however, as the UA men's and women's track and field teams pushed the top-5 ranked Sun Devils to their limits by making the meet the most hotly contested one in the rivalry in the past couple seasons.  Both the men's and women's competitions came down to the final few events Saturday at Joe Selleh Track in Tempe, Ariz. and the Wildcat's found themselves just points shy of a victory on both sides of the competition.

'I really believe this team had a lot of heart and a lot of desire to win in their performances today,' UA head coach Fred Harvey said after the meet. 'In the end they were just a couple points out of winning the whole thing.'

ASU won the men's competition by a score of 109-89 and also the women's competition by defeating the 'Cats 107-93.  The points difference was the closest it has been in recent years and with a couple swings of points in events here and there throughout the meet, the result could have been very different.  Arizona sound defeated NAU in the other end of the Double Dual with the men coming out on top by a score of 118-66 and the women coming out the victors 127-64.

The competitive nature of the annual dual meet often brings about some of the best performances of the season for both squads and Saturday lived up to the hype.

Senior Nick Mossberg continued his impressive senior campaign by setting a new personal best in the pole vault and moving to fourth in the UA's all-time record books with his jump of 5.41m (17-9).  The mark will also jump Mossberg up a couple spots in the national rankings, bumping him up to sixth place barring the results of other events across the country.

The men's middle distance crew definitely made their presence known Saturday as well.  Abdi Hassan continued his impressive freshman campaign by taking the 1500-meter run in a blistering time of 3:43.95 with an impressive kick down the backstretch to hold off ASU's Brandon Bethke.  The mark was good for a new Dual Meet record and the second time Hassan has dipped below 3:44 in the event this season.

Dylan Fitzpatrick earned the first regional qualification of his career in the same event, finishing third with a personal best time of 3:46.68, nearly a second and a half better than his prior best.

In the men's 800-meters, freshman James Eichberger also earned the first regional qualification of his young career in a second place, 1:50.34 performance.  Sophomore Jordan Mara also set a personal best in the same event while coming painfully shy of the regional qualifying mark, finishing in 1:50.60 and needing a 1:50.40 to qualify for the NCAA West Regional Championships.

Senior Chris Titsworth had one of the most impressive all-around performances on the day.  He began the evevning by winning the 110-meter hurdles in a personal best time of 14.34, just shy of the regional qualifying mark.  He followed that by leaving the field in the dust from the very beginning in the 400-meter hurdles before holding on to edge ASU's Roberto Archibold, bettering his season's best and regional qualifying mark to 51.68.  He then rounded out the evening by running a very quick lap split in the men's 4x400-meter relay to help his team to a season's best time of 4:12.91.

On the women's side, freshman Hannah Moen made sure that people won't forget the name any time soon as she clocked another personal best in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 10:34.26.  Moen is already the UA freshman record holder in the event and will look to continue improving on her own record at the NCAA Regional Championships later this month.  Sophomore Maggie Callahan also had a regional qualifying time in the event, finishing in 10:42.38.  The meet brought an end to one of the UA squad's most impressive streaks as Callahan had set a personal record in every race and every event outdoors since her first meet as a Wildcat until Saturday's Dual Meet. 

In the throws, freshman Taylor Freeman set personal records in the discus and hammer throw events with marks of 51.42 (168-08) and 48.05m (157-08), respectively.

Gabriella Duclos (pole vault), Liz Patterson (long jump), Luis Rivera-Morales (long and triple jump), Jordan Powell (high jump) and Irine Lagat (800m and 1500m) also won their respective events at the Dual meet.

Most of the Wildcats will have the next weekend off as they prepare to head to Eugene, Ore. in two weeks and look to carry their momentum forward as they battle for a title at the Pac-10 Championships.  Senior Shevell Quinley and sophomore Chris McGovern will be in Eugene next weekend to do work in the Multi-Event portion of the Pac-10 Championships.

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