Track and Field Opens Outdoor Season
March 20, 2010
TUCSON – The University of Arizona men’s and women’s track and field teams may not have had many athletes in competition Friday night nor were most of the ones that were competing in their primary event, but that didn’t keep the team from posting some highly impressive marks Friday evening at Roy P. Drachman Stadium.
The team hosted the 2010 Willie Williams Classic to kick off the outdoor season and several Wildcats made the most of their first collegiate outdoor meets.
Freshman Julie Labonte bounced right back from her impressive indoor season to set a new collegiate best in the shot put with a mark of 16.50m (54-1 ¾). In the days of regional lore (i.e., a year ago), that mark would easily have been enough for a regional qualification. With the new East and West Regional standard though, Labonte should still be in good shape as the top 24 individuals from each event from the West Region will advance to the NCAA National Championship “Semi-Finals” in Texas later this year. Labonte’s mark will rank among the top in the nation in this early part of the outdoor season.
Redshirt freshman Georganne Moline ran her first 400-meter hurdles of her career Friday evening and didn’t disappoint in the least. After one of the most illustrious high school careers in Arizona history, UA fans finally got a glimpse of what Moline is all about as she posted a time of 1:00.50 to finish second overall in the event. Moline placed herself ninth all-time in the event in the Arizona record books in just her very first meet, giving coaches and fans a lot to be excited about.
In the women’s 1500-meter run, redshirt junior Christina Rodgers fended off Utah’s Lucy Yates in an all-out sprint down the backstretch to claim the victory in 4:30.62. More impressive about the race was the fact that Rodgers primary event is the 800-meters but one may not have been able to tell that by witnessing Friday’s performance.
Also in that race, Julie Stupp (of UA swimming fame) competed in her very first 1500-meter run and finished sixth overall in 4:38.87. The time is respectable by anyone’s standards but what is more impressive about it is the fact the until the 2010 track and field season, Stupp had not run a race of any sort since high school having spent the last four years in the pool.
Events will resume with day two of the annual meet for the collegiate athletes and day three for the high school athletes who also compete in their own sections. Events will kick off at 10 a.m. with both the high school and collegiate athletes switching off events throughout the day.