UA Track & Field Impressive at Double-Dual Meet

May 4, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams left Sun Angel Stadium with a sense of confidence that is sure to take them to new heights entering the postseason. At the conclusion of Saturday's double dual meet action versus Arizona State and Northern Arizona, both the men and women soundly defeated NAU, but fell short to the Sun Devils for the second time this season. The UA men took out the Lumberjacks by a score of 112-69, while suffering a narrow loss to the Sun Devils, 100-92. On the women's side, the Wildcats beat NAU 110-52, while the Sun Devils took the win by a score of 91-87.

The number of improvements, especially in qualifying performances, is what the Wildcats were looking for heading into the beginning of the championship season. Altogether, between the men's and women's teams, the Wildcats improved on 39 performances.

The action started in the field events with the men's hammer, where the Wildcats scored their first victory. Scott Sharpe won the event with a Pac-10 qualifying throw of 194-9 (59.35m). Rich Legarra wasn't too far behind in third place with a throw of 192-10 (58.78m), followed by teammate Ryan Moore in fourth with a toss of 184-1 (56.11m). Sean Shields won the discus with a mark of 184-7 (56.27). Legarra was right behind him in second place, finishing with a best throw of 176-10 (53.89m). Shields and Legarra teamed up again in the shot put to finish first and second, respectively. In the javelin, Jake Arnold improved upon his previous best with a throw of 176-10 (53.91m) to place third. Arnold also finished second in the pole vault at 15-1 (4.60m). In the long jump, Mark Ramos was third overall with a leap of 23-1 � (7.05m).

The Wildcat women were just as successful on the field. Amber Varner was the third-place finisher in the hammer throw with an improved qualifying mark of 179-3 (54.63m). She was followed by teammate Jackilyn Drake with her own improved mark of 170-5 (51.94m). In the discus, Ilona Rutjes improved upon her season's best with a toss of 169-4 (51.61m). Julie DeMarni brought home a victory in the javelin with a throw of 150-5 (45.84).

The UA women excelled in the jumps three victories. In the long jump, Sharifa Jones won with a leap of 20-2 � (6.16) to earn a NCAA Regional qualifying mark. Two-sport star Cocoa Sanford won the triple jump in her second competition of the year for the Wildcats. She won with a jump of 37-7 � (11.46m). Amy Linnen won the pole vault, followed by six of her teammates in second through seventh place.

On the track for the Wildcat men, the evening started off with the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Josh Ludwig finished third in a time of 9:10.09. Teammate Mark Anderson was fifth overall in 9:12.25. The men's 4x100 meter relay team qualified for the NCAA Regional with a first place finish in 40.52 seconds. The team was made up of Jeff Hunter, Jevon Mason, Matt Lea and Adrain Thomas. Robert Cheseret brought home another win for the Wildcats in the 1,500 meters with a Pac-10 qualfiying time of 3:50.11. Jin Daikoku finished fifth in 3:54.16. In the 110 meter hurdles, Jeff Hunter was the winner in 14.01 seconds, followed by Arnold in fifth place. Hunter also won the 400 meter hurdles with an improved postseason qualifying time of 51.41. Arnold was fourth overall in a new personal best time of 56.24.

In the men's 400 meters, Matt Lea improved his NCAA Regional qualifying time to 46.88 seconds, while finishing second. Adrain Thomas improved his season's best with a fifth-place finish in 48.04 seconds. All three Wildcats in the 800 meters improved upon their season's best times. Aaron Powell led the way with a second place finish in 1:52.02. Graeme Wells was right behind him in third place with a time of 1:52.18. Matt Burton was fifth overall in 1:54.17. In the men's 200 meters, Jevon Mason walked away with a fourth place finish and a Pac-10 qualifying time of 21.44 seconds. Cheseret won the men's 3,000 meters in 8:17.06. The dramatic conclusion for the UA men was in the 4x400 meter relay. The squad finished second in an improved NCAA time of 3:07.79, as they were edged by ASU, which finished in 3:07.79. The Wildcat squad was made up of Hunter, Lea, Thomas and Mason.

The UA women had quite a few impressive performances on the track as well. In the 100-meter hurdles, Sharifa Jones won in an improved postseason qualifying time of 13.52 seconds. Chelsea Powell was third in 14.46 seconds. Angel Perkins burned up the track with a win in the 400 meters and an improved qualifying time of 52.49 seconds. Cocoa Sanford finished fourth in 58.62 seconds. Seynabou Ndiaye added her name to the list of Wildcat winners with a speedy 11.64 in the 100 meters, also an improved qualifying time. Marquita Taylor was fifth in 11.98 sceonds.

Beth Hoge added to the improvements made over the course of the evening with a 2:11.77 in the 800 meters. Chelsea Powell won the 400-meter hurdles, followed by second-place Jones. Perkins added another improved qualifying time in the 200 meters, as she won in 23.90 seconds. Ndiaye followed in third-place in 24.36 seconds. Adrienne Goeller was fourth in the 3,000 meters in 10:17.35. The UA women capped off the evening with a win in the 4x400 meter relay. Coming from behind to take the lead in both the third and fourth legs, the UA women sped to a new season's best time of 3:41.48 to improve their standing for the NCAA Regional at the end of the month.

The Wildcats will send Amanda Underwood (heptathlon) and Jake Arnold (decathlon) to the Pac-10 Combined Championships in Los Angeles on May 10-11. The rest of the squads' Pac-10 qualifiers will compete for the conference title at USC on May 17-18.

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