Labonte Punches Ticket To Nationals
May 27, 2010
AUSTIN – Julie Labonte elongated her already impressive freshman season Thursday, becoming the first Wildcat to punch their ticket to the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. two weeks from now.
The NCAA West Preliminaries, hosted at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, introduced the country to the new National Championships format that consists of two rounds essentially: two regional preliminaries (East and West) that will host the first round and quarterfinals for each even before advancing the top finishers to the semi-finals and finals in Oregon.
Labonte sent her third throw in the shot put 16.49m (54-1 ¼) to finish third overall at the West Preliminaries for the NCAA Championships to earn an automatic bid to Eugene. Labonte has already posted the third best throw in Arizona history, despite her youth and sits just at the cusp of setting the freshman record.
Alyssa Hasslen, a fellow freshman, came just shy of punching her ticket as well as she finished 15th overall with a mark of 15.24m (50-0). Only the top 12 per event advance to the final national meet.
Freshman Georganne Moline continued her impressive season, running the fourth fastest time of the first round in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 58.35 – her second best mark of the season. The time advances Moline to quarterfinal where she will look to earned one of those 12 qualifying spots.
Christina Rodgers did what she did best in the 800-meter run, taking a lead about 400-meters in and never letting anyone else get in front of her. Rodgers ran a smooth time of 2:06.94 to win her heat and earn an automatic qualification to tomorrow's quarterfinal. Her time was the fifth fastest of the preliminary round.
Junior Travis Cobb continued his improbably run, going from one of the last people even declared into the meet to advancing to tomorrow's quarterfinal. Cobb's 10.62 in the 100-meter dash in the sixth and final heat was good for third place in the heat, garnering him an automatic bid into tomorrow's race. It was Cobb's second fastest time of the season, and made more impressive by the fact there was a +0.0 wind reading.
Junior Deanna Sullivan was another of those athletes falling into the “just missed” category, missing the final qualifying spot in the 400-meter dash by two hundredths of a second, despite running one of her best races of the season in 54.43. She will now turn her attention to helping lead a group of sophomores in the 4x400-meter relay on Saturday as they look to continue their already impressive season.
Events will continue tomorrow at noon with the women's discus and go on throughout the day as more athletes look to either solidify their spot in Eugene or advance to Saturday's quarterfinals. You can follow all the action live here at arizonaathletics.com.