'Cats Set to Get Rolling at NAU

Jan. 14, 2010

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The UA men's and women's track and field teams will kick off the 2010 indoor season Saturday at the Lumberjack Invitational at the Walkup Skydome Flagstaff, Ariz. 


The relatively low key meet features athletes from Arizona, Northern Arizona and UNLV and a host of unattached athletes.  As the first meet of the season, the UA squad will look to get an idea of where they stand to start the season and give some of the freshmen a chance to see what collegiate competition is about.


All UA events will be represented except the men's and women's distance squads.


The event will mark the beginning of the end for Arizona senior long jumper Luis Rivera-Morales.  The 2009 outdoor All-American returns as for his last semester of eligibility indoors.  He will not compete outdoors.  Rivera-Morales has already set himself apart as one of the elite jumpers in Arizona history as one of only two athletes to hold top-10 marks in both the long and triple jumps.


But where one Rivera-Morales is coming to the beginning of the end, another is just getting his feet wet.  Rivera-Morales' brother, Edgar, begins his UA career Saturday as he debuts ion the high jump.  Edgar is coming off a trip to the 2009 Junior Pan-American Games in Trinidad and Tobago where he finished second.  He is the type high school high jumper coming out of Mexico.


Joining the siblings in the jumps is another high jumper in Nick Ross.  The freshman of of Murrieta, Calif. was the second best high jumper in the country with a personal best of 7-3.  He was the California State Champion in the event and gives the UA jumps team yet another exciting variable.


The women high jumpers are no slouch either, with what almost has to be considered the best 1-2-3 punch in the nation.  Leading the way is three-time All-American and 2008 National Champion Liz Patterson, who was recently mentioned to the preseason Bowerman Award watch list.  Patterson enters her senior season having finished as the national runner-up both indoors and outdoors last season.


'Our freshman jumpers are ready to start the season, as well as Luis and Liz,' UA head coach Fred Harvey said. 'We really expect some quality performances from them.'


She is joined by fellow senior and multiple time All-American Jasmin Day and freshman Brigetta Barrett who comes to the Wildcats as one of the top high jumpers out of high school, having already cleared 6-2 in her career.  Day will not compete this weekend, however.


Saturday won't just be a feature of the UA jumping squad, however.  The UA sprinters and hurdlers will also be in action, with the sprinters debuting in their first meet under new assistant coach Francesca Green.


Juniors Kyle Alston and Aaron Seminski represent the eldest members of a young Arizona men's squad, but sophomore captain Chris McSwain and redshirt freshman Nico Reaves should not be overlooked.


For the women, the hurdling tandem of sophomore Dahlys Marshall and junior LaTisha Holden could provide plenty of excitement as they come back from impressive seasons last year.  Both earned All-Conference honors indoors last season in the 60-meter hurdles. 


Arizona also fields four 400-meter runners that have shown exceptional glimpses in their young careers in junior Deanna Sullivan and sophomore Andi Menhennet, Georganne Moline and Echos Blevins.


The UA throwers will also be in action, with sophomore Taylor Freeman leading the way with two impressive freshmen in Alyssa Hasslen and Julie Labonte in tow.  On the men's side, Korion Morris joins Tomaz Bogovic and Tyler Johnson as the team's returning members of an Arizona throwing program that has been exceptional over the last decade.


'I think we're going to kick this thing off right,' Harvey said.  'We are really excited and ready to see what we are capable of doing.'


Events will kick off at the Skydome Saturday starting at 7:45 a.m. 



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