Track & Field Impressive at Jim Click Shootout and Stanford Invitational

March 27, 2004

TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams played host to the Jim Click Shootout on Saturday at Roy P. Drachman Stadium. The Wildcats competed against squads from Cal-State Los Angeles, Cal-State Northridge, Kansas State, Nebraska and Oregon. In the non-scoring affair, the Arizona Wildcats wracked up a number of Pac-10 and NCAA Regional qualifying performances to put them well on their way to another strong postseason appearance.

The Wildcats sent several distance runners to the Stanford Invitational to benefit from the strong competition. Sophomore Robert Cheseret led the way with a huge performance in the men's 10,000 meters. Cheseret won the Open/Collegiate section with a USA-leading time of 28:25.62. Senior Kyle Goklish also had a big day in the 10K. Goklish was ninth with a time of 28:59.49. Both Cheseret and Goklish earned automatic qualifying times for the NCAA Championships in Austin, Tex. in June. Senior Eric Bohn clocked a big personal best in the 10K with a time of 30:24.94.

Junior Josh Ludwig finished 10th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Stanford Invitational. Ludwig's time of 8:57.52 punched his ticket to the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional Championships. Senior Nicole Gurnicz placed 31st in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:11.69.

The rest of the men's and women's squads competed at home on Saturday with a number of big performances. The Wildcats had star performers both on the track and in the field events. In the women's sprints, sophomore Angel Perkins had a big day. Perkins won both the 200 meters and 400 meters with NCAA Regional-qualifying times. In the 200 meters, Perkins clocked a time of 23.81 seconds, while she crossed the line at 54.10 seconds in the 400 meters.

Sophomore Marquita Taylor finished second in the 100 meters in 11.79 seconds, qualifying for the conference championships. Her time was only one-hundredth of a second off of the NCAA Regional standard.

Senior Connie Jerz maintained her winning ways in the pole vault. Jerz won with a vault of 13 feet, 5 � inches (4.11m), far surpassing the qualifying marks for the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional Championships. In the men's pole vault, senior Kevin Opalka took top honors with a season's best vault of 17 feet, 6 � inches (5.35m), improving his mark for the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional Championships. Chris Chappel was third with a vault of 16 feet, 8 � inches (5.10m).

Senior Jevon Mason was all over the track, setting personal best times in two events and helping the relay squads to two very strong performances. In the 200 meters, Mason was second in 21.29 seconds, insuring him a bid to the NCAA Regional meet. Mason won the 400 meters in 46.89 seconds for another spot in the regional championships.

In the men's throws, senior Matt Wagner had a huge throw of 240 feet, 10 inches (73.40m) to win the javelin competition. It was an improvement of over 18 feet on his previous season's best, putting him in good position for the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional Championships.

In the 100-meter hurdles, Jones was second with a time of 13.47 seconds. The new personal best earned her a return trip to the NCAA Regional meet. Freshman Tiffany McDonald will join Jones at her first NCAA Regional after a third-place time of 13.87 seconds. Junior Chelsea Powell made her way into the field for the Pac-10 Championships with a time of 14.25 seconds.

The Arizona women's 4x100-meter relay team will be a part of the postseason after a regional-qualifying time of 45.79 seconds en route to a fourth-place finish. The 4x400-meter relay squad won with a time of 3:46.25.

Senior Amber Varner continued to look very strong in the throws for the Wildcats. She was fifth in the shot put with a throw of 46 feet, 9 � inches (14.26m). Varner was third in the discus, finishing right behind her sister, Rachel. Rachel threw 160 feet, 5 inches for second place, while Amber finished with a best throw of 158 feet even.

Junior Jin Daikoku was the top finisher for the Wildcats in two distance events. In the 1500-meter run, Daikoku finished fourth in 3:55.73. He was third in the 3,000 meters with a time of 8:56.30.

Wildcat hurdler Dan Cook was ninth in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 14.76 seconds, inching closer to that Pac-10 qualifying time of 14.74. Senior Matt McInvale was second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 9:29.36.

The men's 4x100-meter relay team was third in 41.35 seconds, while the 4x400-meter relay squad was also third with a time of 3:15.67. The Wildcats' 'B' squad in the 4x400 meters was fourth in 3:18.84.

In the horizontal jumps, senior J.R. Harrison was the top finisher for the Wildcat men. In the long jump, Harrison was fourth with a leap of 23 feet, 2 � inches (7.08m). Harrison won the triple jump at 51 feet, 8 � inches (15.76m).

Freshman Adam Kuehl looked very strong in the throws. He finished second in both the shot put and discus. In the shot put, he had a best mark of 56 feet, 8 � inches, while he threw 182 feet, 9 inches in the discus. Both marks are Pac-10 and NCAA Regional qualifiers. Freshman Jarred Sola also earned his way to both postseason meets with a third-place throw of 55 feet, 10 � inches (17.03m) in the shot put. In the men's hammer, senior Ryan Moore threw 186 feet, 9 inches (56.93m) to finish third.

The Wildcats will hit the road for the next month as they trek through Arizona, California and Iowa during the month of April. The next meet will be the Mesa Classic in Mesa, Ariz. on April 9.

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