Dramatic Moments in Austin
May 28, 2010
AUSTIN – It was a dramatic second day of competition for Arizona athletes at the NCAA West Preliminary Track and Field Championships in Austin that saw several more Wildcats punch their tickets to the national finals in Eugene, Ore., while others came just short.
Georganne Moline, the redshirt freshman who has absolutely been one of the highlights of the 2010 season, added another notch to her belt Friday as she advanced herself to Oregon in the 400-meter hurdles with a personal best finish of 57.88.
Moline and UCLA's Pac-10 Champion Turquoise Thompson ran head-to-head down the final 100-meters, battling for the third place in the final heat of the day and an automatic qualification to Eugene. The two soared over the final hurdle at the same time before Moline outkicked her fellow freshman to score the fifth fastest time in Arizona history and punch her ticket to the National Championships in her first collegiate outdoor season.
The kick was pivotal in earning the automatic spot as Thompson's finishing time of 58.25 was not good enough to earn one of the three prestigious time qualifications awarded to the non-top three finishers.
She's not done yet either, as she will be looked upon to join her teammates on the 4 x 400-meter relay Saturday where she will run the anchor leg and hope to advance in that event as well.
Redshirt Junior Christina Rodgers has a flare for dramatic finishes as has been demonstrated throughout the season and the Friday's 800-meter quarterfinal was no exception. Rodgers was part of a four-wide dash to the finish in easily the fastest heat of the day, setting a personal best of 2:04.47 to finish third and seal her spot at her second outdoor national meet.
The top four were separated by just over two tenths of a second in what was one of the most exciting races of the day.
Drama was the story of the day for several athletes, including a pair of freshmen in the field events.
Alyssa Hasslen was the first athlete in action Friday in the women's discus, needing a third throw of 49.44 (162-2) just to advance to the finals of the event and get three more throws. Those throws made all the difference as she launched her first one 50.09m (164-04) to help her climb from 14th place to 11th where she would stay for the remainder of the competition. The top twelve advanced to Oregon, giving the freshman the first national experience of her young career.
In the men's high jump, it took about 45 minutes of tallying on behalf of the judges to determine that freshman Nick Ross would advance to Eugene despite finishing in a mass tie, height-wise, for the last qualifying positions. Ross cleared 2.06m (6-9) and 2.11m (7-11) on his first attempts before missing all three at 2.16m (7-1). The lack of misses on his earlier attempts proved to be the difference in deciding whether he would be among the 12 finalists to advance.
He joined fellow freshman Edgar Rivera-Morales, who had no misses at all in the competition, as the first two athletes from the men's side to advance to the Oregon.
In the 100-meter hurdles, junior LaTisha Holden earned an automatic advancement and sophomore Dahlys Marshall set a personal best to earn one of the six valuable time qualifications and both will see action in tomorrow's quarterfinal round.
Holden finished third in her heat with a time of 13.51 to earn the qualification while Marshall ran the fastest time qualifying run of 13.54 to move on as well. Marshall's time is also the eighth fastest in Arizona history.
Junior Travis Cobb joined the UA track and field team after competing on the football squad all year. Despite not having touched the track in about five years and being ranked 70th in the West coming into the Prelim Rounds, Cobb finished 15th overall at the meet with a personal best time of 10.55. Only the top 12 advance to Oregon, but Cobb showed that he had the stuff from day one of walking on to the team.
Cobb was a valuable addition to the men's sprinting corps in a season where they lost a major cog in sophomore Chris McSwain. Cobb will now look to carry the experience back to his duties on the football team come fall.
The team will look to add more qualifications tomorrow on the final day of competition where the Wildcats will be represented in the women's 100-meter hurdles, 5000-meters, 4x400-meter relay, hammer throw and triple jump while the men have athletes in the 1500-meters, 5000-meters and the discus throw.