Patterson Claims Indoor Championship

March 12, 2010

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - It may not come easily, but Arizona senior Elziabeth Patterson claimed the second NCAA individual title of her career Friday afternoon at the Randal Tyson Center in Fayetteville, Ark., winning the high jump event with a best clearance of 1.93m (6-4).

Patterson gave everyone in attendence enough to keep them on their toes on the first day of comptition at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Champiionships, missing attempts at 1.78m, 1.84m, and 1.87m before missing her first two attempts at 1.90m (6-2 3/4).  On the other hand, Hawaii's Amber Kaufman had a clean slate all the way through 1.90m and looked nearly unstoppable to start the competition.

Patterson came through during gut-check time, however, clearing the bar at 1.90m on her third and final attempt and then going on to clear 1.93m on her very first attempt - only her third first attempt clearance of the competition to Kaufmann's six.  Kaufmann missed all three attempts when it mattered most though, returning Patterson to the top of the podium for the first time since the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

The mark matches the second best of Patterson's career and was a season's best.  Patterson entered the competition as the favorite, leading the nation with a best mark of 1.92m (6-3 1/2) and as a 2010 Bowerman Award watchlist honoree.  Patterson's victory also gives UA jumps and multis coach Sheldon Blockburger his fifth individual champion in the past six years. 

Patterson's second national title gives UA athletes eight high jumping championships in their 30-year NCAA history, making it the most decorated event on the women's side. 

Not to be forgotten in the mix is the performance of freshman Brigetta Barrett.  Barrett bounced back from her MPSF Championship in the event where she defeated Patterson to take third place overall at the national meet with her best clearence on the day of 1.84m (6-0 1/2).  In a sense, Friday's competition gave UA fans a chance to see the changing of the guard with Patterson in the senior year of one of the most impressive high jumping careers in Arizona historyand Barrett just a freshman already making a splash on the national scene.

The two also combined for 16 points for the women's team with 800-meter runner Christina Rodgers and shot putter Julie Labonte still to compete.

In other events, redshirt sophomore Abdi Hassan used a strong kick down the stretch in the mile preliminaries to edge into the third position in a photo finish in a time of 4:03.11 to claim one of the automatic qualifications for tomorrow's final in the event.

   

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