Track & Field Has Busy Week with Two Home Meets

Day One Heat Sheet | Day Two Heat Sheet

March 22, 2004

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Up Next: The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams have a busy week ahead of them with two home meets. The Wildcats play host to the Mike Maynard Wildcat Combined Events on Tuesday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 24. Action gets underway at 11 a.m. MT on both days. Then, on Saturday, March 27, the men's and women's squads will team up to take on five other schools at the Jim Click Shootout. Saturday's events will begin at 11 a.m. MT, as well.

The Competition: Both meets will provide very strong competition for the Wildcats. At the Mike Maynard meet, three women will compete for Arizona in the heptathlon. Amanda Underwood leads the way for the Wildcats, having been the only heptathlete on the roster for the past two years. This year, she is joined by Jessica Corkill and Lexie Viggiano. The rest of the field will be filled out by athletes from Arizona State, Army, Kansas State, Oregon, South Dakota and a number of unattached athletes.

The Wildcats have a bit of a challenge ahead of them at the Jim Click Shootout. Last year, the Wildcats retained their crown with a huge margin of victory. This year could be tougher with the teams coming to challenge Arizona. The Wildcats will face Oregon, Nebraska, Kansas State, Cal State-Northridge and Cal-State Los Angeles.

The Jim Click Shootout combines the men's and women's team scores to determine the overall team champion. Arizona won last year's event with a score of 350 points. Colorado was second with 229 points, while Cal-State Los Angeles was third with 116 points.

NCAA Indoor Championships In Review: The Wildcats capped off a very successful indoor season at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. on March 12-13. Arizona came home with five All-Americans and one new school record.

Junior Sharifa Jones had a huge meet with back-to-back performances in the long jump and 60-meter high hurdles. With her two events happening at almost the same time, Jones had to be quick about nailing down a big jump in the long jump. On her second attempt, she came up with a mark of 19 feet, 8 1/4 inches to secure 11th place and All-American status.

Jones then set herself up for the preliminaries of the high hurdles. Jones didn't qualify for the final, but she ran the ninth-fastest time and set the school record for the third time this season with a time of 8.18 seconds.

Senior Connie Jerz finished off the indoor season in style with a third-place finish in the pole vault. She cleared 13 feet, 7 1/4 inches, earning All-America honors in the process.

Senior Kyle Goklish capped off his season with a 12th-place finish in the 5,000 meters final. He clocked a time of 14:14.74 and earned All-America status. The men's distance medley relay finished ninth with a time of 9:41.61.

In the second and final day, the Wildcats had two men competing. Junior Chris Chappell was unable to clear the first height in the pole vault, but it was a good experience nonetheless. Sophomore Robert Cheseret finished fourth in the 3,000-meter final with a time of 8:04.28, adding his name to the list of Arizona All-Americans.

Looking Back at the MPSF Championships:
Both the men's and women's teams had exceptional team performances at this past weekend's MPSF Championships. The men made a strong charge on the final day of competition, moving up from fifth to fourth place in the final standings. The women maintained their fifth-place standing throughout the meet.

After careful analysis by head coach Fred Harvey, the Wildcats have a lot to be proud of after the meet. According to the numbers, the Wildcats won five individual titles, set two meet records, had seven NCAA qualifying performances, set one school record, had 21 personal records and 29 season's best performances.

Sharifa Jones improved the school record in the 60-meter hurdles to 8.24 seconds (NCAA provisional), a record she already held. Jones was also one of the five champions, winning the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 10 inches. Angel Perkins was the other individual champion for the UA women, claiming victory in the 60 meters with a time of 7.45 seconds.

The Wildcat men were on a roll in the final day of competition. Robert Cheseret rallied back in the final laps of the 3,000-meter final to win in a blistering time of 7:52.00, improving his NCAA automatic qualifying time, while setting the meet record. Kyle Goklish followed suit in the 5,000-meter final. Goklish took the title with a meet record and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 14:09.51. The distance medley relay team won the third men's title, beating out three of the top-12 teams in the country. The quartet cruised to victory in 9:46.97. Josh Ludwig ran the 1,200m, followed by Eric Chavez's 400 meters, Kenny Frank's 800 meters, while Cheseret sealed the win in the 1,600m leg.

Along with NCAA qualifying marks by Jones, Cheseret and Goklish, the Wildcats had three others qualify for the national championships. Connie Jerz improved her provisional-qualifying mark in the pole vault to 13 feet, 2 1/2 inches. Billie Jo Grant also hit a provisional qualifying mark in the shot put, but holds a better mark from earlier in the season. Chris Chappell improved his provisional-qualifyng mark in the pole vault to 17 feet, 9 3/4 inches.

The Wildcats' success and progress during the indoor season is generating a lot of buzz in the program. The men's and women's squads look for it to carry over to the NCAA Indoor Chamionsips on into the outdoor season.

Meet Recaps:
Northwest Pole Vault SummitThe Wildcat vaulters kicked off the 2004 season at the annual Northwest Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nev. Some of the world's best vaulters were on hand for what turned out to be a very successful competition for the Wildcats.

Connie Jerz led the way for the UA women, competing in the Elite Women's division. Jerz finished in a ninth-place tie with a height of 13 feet, 2 1/4 inches. Juanita Braun was another top female vaulter for Arizona. Braun finished second in her section at 12 feet, 9 1/2 inches. Chris Chappell begins the season as the top men's vaulter for Arizona. Chappell was tied for 11th in his division at 16 feet, 4 3/4 inches. Adam Zimnisky won his section at 15 feet, 10 3/4 inches, while teammate Sam Jacobson finished tied for fifth in his section at 15 feet, 1 inch.

Western Indoor Classic
The complete men's and women's squads started the 2004 season in Boise, Idaho at the Western Indoor Classic. The Wildcats came away with three individual titles and 20 Mountain Pacific qualifiying performances.

Angel Perkins won the 60 meters in 7.53 seconds, while teammate Sharifa Jones claimed the 60-meter hurdles title in 8.60 seconds. Jessica Corkill claimed a victory of her own in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 9 1/4 inches. Chris Chappell improved his season's best mark with a vault of 16 feet, 6 3/4 inches. Mike Mensah finished third in both the long jump and triple jump, earning MPSF qualifying marks in both events.

Arizona Shootout
The Arizona men and women both earned victories over Northern Arizona, while falling to Pac-10 rival Arizona State at the Arizona Shootout in Flagstaff. In the process, the Wildcats earned four NCAA provisional qualifiers and a host of MPSF qualifiers.

Jevon Mason led the way for the UA men with a fourth-place finish in the 400 meters, provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships with a time of 47.23 seconds. Chris Chappell set himself up for a chance at the NCAA title with a vault of 17 feet, 5 inches. Billie-Jo Grant is making a big splash with a qualifying throw in the shot put in only the second collegiate meet of her career. She finished second in the event with a throw of 50 feet, 6 1/4 inches. Also, Connie Jerz's vault of 12 feet, 11 1/2 inches was a NCAA provisional qualifier, but she already holds a season's best vault of 13-2 1/4.

Falcon Invitational
The Wildcat women had a very successful meet at the Air Force's Falcon Invitational, a quadrangular meet including Air Force, Arizona, Colorado and Colorado State. The UA women finished second behind Colorado State. The men's squad found the meet to be a very tough challenge and finished fourth.

Angel Perkins won the 60 meters for the third week in a row, this time in 7.51 seconds. Marquita Taylor claimed second in both the 60 meters and 200 meters. Connie Jerz won the pole vault to continue her success during the 2004 indoor season. Billie-Jo Grant had the biggest performance of the meet with a provisional qualifier and huge personal record in the shot put. Grant improved her mark to 52 feet, 4 3/4 inches. For the UA men, Jevon Mason posted a fourth-place finish in the 200 meters. Robert Cheseret won the mile run with a time of 4:13.47. Adam Kuehl hit a season's best throw in the shot put with a toss of 56 feet, 7 1/2 inches.

Pac-10 Invitational
The Pac-10 Invite was a big meet for the Wildcats. The teams had the chance to compete at the same facility where the indoor conference meet would be held, as well as get a look at the competition for the conference meet. Both squads posted several impressive performances, including an automatic qualifier on the men's side.

Robert Cheseret was the Wildcat to claim the first automatic qualifier of the season for Arizona. Cheseret finished second in the 3,000 meters in 7:55.37 to secure a trip to Arkansas and a chance to compete for national title. Sharifa Jones also had a big day en route to a provisional qualifying time of 8.29 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, which also set the indoor school record in the event.

Coaching Staff: The Wildcat track and field program has one of the nation's best coaching staffs in the nation. Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Fred Harvey enters his second year as head coach and his 17th year with the program. Harvey works primarily with the sprinters, hurdlers and several jumpers. Assistant coach Dawn Mortensen joined the staff in the Fall of 1997. Mortensen was a sprinter for the Wildcat track and field team in the 1990s, and she now works with the sprinters and hurdlers. Assistant coach John Frazier is in his fourth year with the Wildcats after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Florida. Frazier works with the Wildcat throwers and has produced several of Arizona's most outstanding athletes. James Li joined the program in 2002 to coach the cross country teams and to assist with the distance runner during track season. Li was the head coach at Washington State before coming to Arizona, where he had quite a bit of success. The Wildcats' latest addition is that of Eric Boxley. Boxley acted as a volunteer assistant coach in 2003, and he was added to the full-time staff for the 2004 season. Boxley works with the jumpers and vaulters.-30-

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