Day Two Wraps Up For Wildcats

June 11, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Ever since last season's nationals, senior Luis Rivera-Morales has been looking forward to his chance to come back and compete for All-American status one last time before he graduated.  On Thursday, he made that dream a reality.

Rivera-Morales popped the second best jump of his life at 7.94m (26-0 3/4) on his third and final attempt in the opening round of the finals to jump from 10th to fifth and the mark would hold for sixth place in a highly competitive field and the first top-8 national finish of his career. 

In a field where 7.90m was the minimum to score points, it was going to require at least the second best jump of his life in order to score and Rivera-Morales came through in the clutch.  With Arizona fans and coaches waiting on the edge of their seats as he ran his approach on the third attempt, he made everyone even more nervous as he used as much of the board as possible without fouling.  The white flag came up, however, and he pointed to his coach, Sheldon Blockburger, afterwards as if to let him know that he needn't worry.

It was the first time a Arizona long jumper has scored at a national championship meet since Vance Johnson did it the 1984 NCAA National Championships, further epitamazing Rivera-Morales' career as one of the top long jumpers in Arizona history.

He's not done yet, however, as he will look for his second All-American award in the triple jump event whihc takes place tomorrow and Saturday.

For the fifth year in a row, a UA shot putter has earned All-American honors as senior Zack Lloyd wrapped up hios impressive career with a runner-up finish in the event Thursday.  In the best national finish of his career, Lloyd earned the fourth All-American award in his tenure as a Wildcat with his mark of 19.86m (65-2).   He will now set his sights on the US Championships in Eugene in a couple weeks and look to earn a spot on the national team representing the country at the World Championships in Berlin.

Events will resume tomorrow as junior Liz Patterson looks to defend her high jump title and avenge her runner-up finish to Texas' Destinee Hooker at this year's indoor championships.  Gabriella Duclos will also look to repeat her All-American status from the indoor season and Rivera-Morales will take part in the opening round of the men's triple jump. 

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