Wildcat Track & Field Prepares for In-State Rivals Arizona State and Northern Arizona
April 29, 2003
Up Next: The UA men's and women's track and field teams will compete in the annual outdoor double-dual meet on Saturday, May 3, as they face the Sun Devils of Arizona State and the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona. Field event action is set to begin at 1 p.m. with the men's hammer. Running events are slated to start at 7 p.m. with the men's 3,000 meter steeplechase. The meet will take place on Arizona State's Joe Sellah Track at Sun Angel Stadium.
The Competition: The Wildcats head into this weekend's competition with a lot of confidence after gaining momentum during the Mt. SAC Relays and Drake Relays. In the indoor version of the double-dual meet, both the men and women soundly beat Northern Arizona, but fell just short of a victory over Arizona State. In the USTCA power rankings as of April 29, the Wildcat men are ranked No. 10, while the women come in at No. 18. The ASU men are No. 29, while the Sun Devil women are No. 32. For NAU, the men are ranked No. 60, with the women at No. 73.
Fast Forward: The Pac-10 Combined and Conference Championships await the Wildcats after the double-dual meet. This year's championships will be held in Los Angeles, Calif. on the campus of the University of Southern California. The combined championships, consisting of the men's decathlon and women's heptathlon, will take place May 10-11. The conference championships will follow a week later on May 17-18. The UA men were fifth at last year's meet, while the women placed seventh.
The Wildcats still have one more home meet on the schedule. The Tucson Elite Classic will take place on the evening of May 24. The competition will be a last chance meet for athletes to qualify for NCAA regional action, which will be contested May 30-31.
Scouting the Wildcats:
Men's Sprints: The Wildcat sprinters are a strong group of runners with a lot of potential. Thus far in the season, the men's sprinting squad has been led by Jevon Mason and Jeff Hunter. Mason has earned a NCAA regional qualifier in the 400 meters (46.36), along with a Pac-10 qualifier in the 200 meters (21.34i). He's also been an integral part of the relay squads. Hunter has been pouring on the speed in recent weeks, most notably is his time of 13.86 at the Drake Relays in the 110 meter hurdles. He also has a NCAA regional qualifier in the 400 meter hurdles (51.63) and plays an important role for the relay teams. The men's 4x400 meter relay squad earned a NCAA regional qualifying time of 3:08.11 at the Sun Angel Classic. Other Wildcats to keep an eye on as the season inches towards the postseason are Bruce Bridges (100 meters) and Matt Lea (400 meters).
Women's Sprints: Senior Seynabou Ndiaye continues to lead the women's sprinters. She holds a NCAA regional qualifying time in the 100 meters (11.66), as well as a Pac-10 qualifier in the 200 meters (24.23). Ndiaye also is an important part of the 4x100 meter relay team. Angel Perkins has made an impact for the Wildcats in her freshman season. She holds postseason qualifying times in the 200 meters (23.95) and 400 meters (53.83), as well as playing a strong role on both relay teams, which have qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships. Sharifa Jones, a transfer from Michigan, has also made her name known in her first year as a Wildcat with postseason qualifiers in the 100 meter hurdles (13.56) and the 400 meter hurdles (60.26). Chelsea Powell also joins Jones as one of Arizona's strong hurdlers. Powell broke the one-minute barrier in the 400 meters at the Drake Relays, finishing in a time of 59.73 seconds. Freshman Marquita Taylor and sophomore Lindsay Scarborough are other Wildcats to watch for as the season progresses.
Men's Distance: Among the men's distance runners is a very talented group of runners. The 2003 distance squad have been strong motivators for each other. Newcomer Robert Cheseret has had a breakout freshman season for the Wildcats. He set the UA freshman record in the 5,000 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays with a time of 13:45.88, en route to qualifying for the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional Championships. He also qualified in the 800 meters with a time of 1:50.87. Josh Ludwig and Mark Anderson are coming on strong in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Ludwig has a season's best time of 9:00.24, while Anderson holds a personal best time on the season of 9:04.85. Both are Pac-10 and NCAA Regional qualifiers. Kyle Goklish's time of 29:31.36 in the 10,000 meters is a NCAA provisional qualifier. As the season continues, Aaron Powell (800 meters) and Jin Daikoku (1,500 meters) are ones to keep an eye on.
Women's Distance: The women's distance runners are a very young squad with a lot of talent. Junior Beth Hoge is a strong team leader for the women. Hoge has Pac-10 and NCAA Regional qualifying times in the 1,500 meters (4:25.16) and 5,000 meters (16:21.86). The core group of freshman continues to grow and improve as the season continues. Adrienne Goeller (5,000 meters and 10,000 meters) and Robin Tierney (800 meters and 1,500 meters) look to make some strides for some qualifying times in the last couple of meets of the outdoor season.
Men's Field: The outdoor season has been a strong one for the Arizona throwers. The men have multiple postseason qualifiers in three out of four events. Sean Shields has been a strong team leader for the Wildcats with a mark of 63-0 in the shot put and 187-7 in the discus, to earn a bid to both the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional meets. Rich Legarra is also coming on strong with qualifying throws of 58-5 3/4 (shot put), 188-10 (discus) and 199-8 (hammer). Scott Sharpe completes the trio of multiple qualifiers with marks of 55-5 (shot put) and 187-9 (hammer). Mark Ramos earned a spot in the postseason with a leap of 24-3 1/2 in the long jump. Mike Mortensen is the lone qualifier in the pole vault with a leap of 16-4 3/4 at the Willie Williams Classic.
Women's Field: As with any other season, the women's field events are a strong point for the Wildcats. Pole vaulter Amy Linnen was sidelined for most of the outdoor season with a nagging foot injury. She rejoined the squad at the Drake Relays, where she vaulted 12-10 1/4. Newcomer Connie Jerz has been a nice addition to the pole vaulting squad. In her first year with the team, she earned a NCAA qualifying vault of 13-7 1/4. Amber Varner and Rachel Varner are part of a strong UA women's throws squad. The sisters have both earned qualifying marks in the shot put and discus, while Amber adds one more in the hammer. Ilona Rutjes has been a strong discus thrower for the Wildcats all season, with a best mark of 167-4 to lead the team. In the javelin, Julie DeMarni continues to have a strong season with a season's best mark of 159-9, which qualifies her for both the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional meets.
2003 Season Outlook: The 2003 track and field season brings about a lot of changes for the University of Arizona. Former associate head coach Fred Harvey has moved up to Director of Track & Field and Cross Country. For the first time in 35 years, the Wildcats have a new cross country/distance coach in James Li for the first time in 35 years, and the team is loaded with a lot of young, freshman talent. But not everything is new for the Wildcats as the team also returns some of its top performers from the 2002 season, including Amy Linnen, Beth Hoge, Chelsea Powell, Julie DeMarni, Matt Lea, Mark Anderson, J.R. Harrison, Mike Mortensen and Sean Shields.
The final standings at the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships may not have had Arizona where they expected to finish, but the outlook for the coming season couldn't be better.
On the men's side, the future looks very bright. The Wildcats will return seven NCAA qualifiers, one All-American, ten All-Pac-10 performers and three out of four members of both relay teams, which were runners-up at the Pac-10 Championships. The Wildcat men return All-Pac-10 and NCAA performers in every event area.
The Arizona women head into the 2003 season with a fresh, new look. They return a good number of core athletes, including five NCAA qualifiers, one All-American and three All-Pac-10 performers. The squad will feature some of last year's top performers in every event area.
The talent of the freshman recruiting class is another thing to take note of when the 2003 version of the track and field team heads to competition in early January. 'All in all, I feel we had, for the second consecutive year, one of our top recruiting classes,' commented head coach Fred Harvey. In the past two years, the Wildcats have recruited several of the top athletes out of California and Texas, along with some of the top track and field athletes in state of Arizona history. 'Recruiting is the core of our success, and I feel that we have a great core at this time,' Harvey explained.
The 2003 season is expected to be another successful one for the Wildcats. With the returnees from last year's teams and the incoming recruiting class, the tradition of success in the Arizona track and field program is sure to continue under the new leadership of Harvey. The new and fresh look for this year's squads is sure to improve on the already-great reputation of what is known as Arizona track and field.
2002 In Review: The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams continued the tradition of excellence as they ended the 2002 season at the NCAA Championships in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The meet was highlighted by some of the team's top contributors from the season.
Senior Brianna Glenn once again had a busy NCAA meet and proved to be one of the most talented and versatile athletes in the nation. Glenn placed in three events at the national meet, earning All-America honors in the long jump, 100 meters and 200 meters. She placed third in the long jump, fourth in the 100 meters and sixth in the 200 meters.
Senior Angela Foster earned her second All-America honor in the hammer throw. She placed eighth in the hammer with a throw of 200 feet, 3 inches. Foster played an integral part in the team's recent success at the national level and will be missed greatly.
In her first year as a Wildcat, junior Julie DeMarni qualified for the NCAA Championships and placed 16th overall in the javelin. She is also the new school record-holder in the javelin. After another year under her belt, DeMarni should contribute greatly at the national level.
Sophomore Beth Hoge made her debut at the NCAA Championships this past spring. Hoge finished 13th in the 5,000 meters. She is the team's top returning distance runner and will contribute greatly over the next to years to the Wildcat cross country and track and field teams.
Sophomore Amy Linnen currently holds the collegiate record in the indoor pole vault at 14 feet, 10-ï¿½ inches, as well as the World Junior record at the same mark. She placed 13th at the USAT&F meet. Linnen has established herself as truly one of the finest vaulters in the nation. She is an up and coming athlete on the world level.
Senior Mike Kenyon competed in both the 200 meters and the 400 meters at the NCAA Championships, bringing home All-American honors in both events. He placed 11th in the 200 meters and seventh in the 400 meters. He then went on to compete at the USAT&F meet where he placed fifth in the 400m, qualifying him for the relay pool at the World Cup.
Sophomore Mike Mortensen made his debut at the NCAA Championships in the pole vault. He vaulted 16 feet, 10-3 ï¿½ inches to claim 14th place. His highest vault of the year was 17 feet, 7 inches, which is almost a foot higher than his previous best. Mortensen is anticipated to be very successful over the next two years.
Freshman Sean Shields was a huge addition to the team this past season. He placed ninth at the NCAA Championships, earning his second All-American honors as a freshman. He earned his first honor at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Shields then went on to compete in the USA Junior National meet, where he placed first in the shot put, setting a new World Junior record and American Junior record with a throw of 67 feet, 9 inches. He was also second in the discus. He then went on the World Junior meet where he placed second in the shot put and eighth in the discus. In the next three years, he could develop into one of the finest athletes ever to compete at the University of Arizona.
The 2001-2002 cross country and track and field seasons were a time for the Wildcats to say good bye to one of the namesakes of the program. Dave Murray retired as the Director of Track and Field and Cross Country after 35 years of coaching at the University of Arizona. His shoes will be filled by former Associate Head Coach Fred Harvey. Harvey is entering his 16th season with the Wildcats and enters his new position ready to lead the Wildcats to more successful ventures. He has coached many All-Americans, several national champions, and several Olympians. He has recently been selected to be the head coach of Team USA's men's team at the 2003 Pan American Games.
The 2001-2002 season ended successfully for the Wildcats. The teams look forward to beginning a new era of Wildcat track and field in 2003 under a new head coach and with many exciting possibilities with the talent of the athletes.
The Coaches: Head coach Fred Harvey (16th year, Cal Poly-SLO, '82) begins his first year as the Wildcats' leader. Harvey has coached several world-class athletes, such as Patrick Nduwimana, a 2000 Olympic semifinalist and Arizona track and field veteran. Assistant coach Tom Hays (6th year, Kansas, '89) is one of the top pole vault coaches in the nation and will direct the Wildcat jumpers this season. Assistant coach John Frazier (3rd year, UCLA, '86) was an addition to last year's coaching staff. The Wildcat throwers will be led by coach Frazier. Assistant coach Dawn Mortensen (6th year, Arizona, '96) was a standout sprinter for the Wildcats in the 1990s and works with the Arizona sprinters and hurdlers. Assistant coach James Li (1st year, Beijing Institute of Physical Education) joins the Wildcat coaching staff to coach the distance runners. Li also heads up the Wildcat cross country teams.
Note: In the Willie Williams Classic (March 21-22), Matt Wagner competed unattached and was not a competitor for the University of Arizona.
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