UA Women Finish 5th At Nationals

March 13, 2010


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The University of Arizona's women track and field team had their best finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships since 2002 this weekend, finishing 15th overall at the Randal Tyson Center in Fayetteville, Ark.

Liz Patterson won the second national high jump title of her career Friday afternoon, finishing with a winning clearance of 1.93m (6-4) to defeat Hawaii's Amber Kaufmann.

Kaufmann was perfect on her attempts through 1.90m (6-2 ¾) while Patterson struggled at times, having at least one miss on three of her heights and having to make a third attempt clearance at 1.90m just to have a chance to win it. She cleared 1.93m on her first attempt, however, and Kaufmann had her first three misses of the day at the height, giving Patterson the victory.

“It was a tough competition,” she said. “ I wasn’t really in a position to win until the very end, but I guess that’s when it matters.”

Patterson is no stranger to tough competitions, having already been a part of one of the most epic high jumping duels in recent history at last year's indoor championships with Destinee Hooker of Texas. Patterson was a severe underdog in that match-up and pushed Hooker to the limits. Friday, Patterson was arguably the favorite but she had to fight every bit of the way to get there.

It was such a close competition there at the end,” Patterson said. “I knew I had to step up at that point, and I was able to.”

Freshman Brigetta Barrett also impressed in the event on his first appearance on the national scene, finishing in a tie for third place overall with her best clearance of 1.84m (6-0 ½)

The women combined for 15.5 points to finish 15th overall and as the second highest ranked school at the the Pac-10 Conference, with only the eventual national champion Oregon ahead of them.

On the men's side, senior Luis Rivera-Morales wrapped up his collegiate career with a sixth place finish in the long jump to earn the second All-American accolade of his career. His jump of 7.85m (25-9 ¼) was tied for fourth but he fell to sixth on tie-breaking principles.

Freshman Nick Ross also earned All-American awards in the high jump, finishing seventh overall with a best clearance of 2.19m (7-2 ¼) and fellow frosh Edgar Rivera-Morales finished ninth overall. The two gave UA fans a good idea of what to expect over the coming years as far as the jumps crew is concerned.

Redshirt sophomore Abdi Hassan advanced to the men's final in the mile run, finishing 10th overall in the event and freshman Julie Labonte finished 12th in her first national meet.

The UA will now kick off the outdoor season this weekend at the Willie Williams Classic hosted by the UA at Roy P. Drachman Stadium. Events will run from Thursday to Saturday.

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