'Cats win Six Events in Albuquerque
Jan. 23, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Two athletes earned their first championship qualifications of 2010 and a third better her previous one as The University of Arizona's track and field team wrapped up another solid day competition at the Cherry & Silver Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. on Saturday.
Freshmen Brigetta Barrett stole the show at the Albuquerque Convention Center as she matched a facility record in winning the long jump event with a clearance of 1.85m (6-0 ¾). The mark earned Barrett an NCAA automatic qualification in the event in just her second collegiate meet. She joins senior Liz Patterson – also a high jumper – as the second member of the UA women's squad to solidify a spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
“Brigetta is a very confident young lady and she's had some big jumps before,” UA head coach Fred Harvey said after the meet. “Hitting that mark is very satisfying for her because she knows she's on target – she knows she's going to the national meet.
Redshirt sophomore Abdi Hassan kicked off his indoor season Saturday in the 800-meters, winning the event by a second quicker then he won it a year ago on the very same track. Hassan's time of 1:50.73 was good for an NCAA provisional qualification, though Harvey is quick to point out that Hassan is a mile runner and that will be his main event during this indoor season.
“(Hassan's performance) bodes really well and he is a key player for us,” Harvey said. “If that guy can run with true confidence and really believe in himself then he is going to do some special things this year.”
Other members of the UA distance squad kicked of the season Saturday as well, including a near perfect finish in the women's 1500-meters that saw junior Maggie Callahan edge New Mexico's Ruth Senior by a hundredth of a second to win the event. Behind the top two were Arizona freshman Jennifer Bergman in third, sophomore Hannah Moen in fourth and freshman Cami Jackson in fifth.
Several members of the distance squad ran races different from their expected primary events on Saturday and Harvey says that while he was impressed with the team's performance, the real challenge will come next week in Seattle at the University of Washington Invitational.
Also earning the first NCAA qualification of their young career was freshman Julie Labonte in the shot put event. Labonte won the event with a mark of 15.39m (50-6) to take home the event and lead a clean Arizona sweep of the first four positions follows by freshman Alyssa Hasslen, sophomore Taylor Freeman and freshman Omatayo Talabi.
“Last week, (Labonte) had a pretty tough time getting acclimated to school,” Harvey said of the recently-arrived freshman out of Canada. “But she's a girl who is going to light this thing up when she starts to get comfortable in this new environment.”
In all, Arizona athletes won six events Saturday with the women's 4 x 400-meter relay team taking home the victory in addition to Luis Rivera-Morales winning yet another long jump event and Chris Titsworth taking first in the 60-meter hurdles.
“I'm really proud of (Titsworth),” Harvey said of the senior competing in his final year of eligibility indoors. “The guy is winning races and he has a very small window of opportunity to achieve what we need to do”
The Wildcats are schedule to split races next weekend with some athletes heading to Seattle while other return to Albuquerque for the New Mexico Invitational.
“The big thing overall right now is we're building a lot of confidence,” Harvey said. “Pretty in our conference and across the country are starting to realize we have a pretty formidable team.”