Track & Field Shines in Field Events at UCLA Invite

April 10, 2004

WESTWOOD, Calif. - The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams completed competition at the second annual Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational at UCLA. The day was highlighted by several big performances in the field events for the Wildcats. Arizona also had a number of impressive races on the track to close out the weekend.

Sophomore Rachel Varner had one of the biggest performances for the Arizona women. Varner finished third in the discus, tying her season's best throw of 176 feet, 4 inches (53.74m). Her sister, Amber Varner, also had a big day in the throws. Amber was sixth in the shot put with a season's best throw of 48 feet, 10 inches (14.88m). In the discus, Amber was eighth with a throw of 153 feet, 5 inches (46.76m). All of these marks are Pac-10 and NCAA Regional qualifiers.

Senior Matt Wagner won the javelin competition with another huge throw. His mark of 221 feet, 5 inches (67.49m) was over 30 feet better than the next best collegiate competitor. In the men's pole vault, senior Kevin Opalka was second with a clearance of 17 feet, 4 � inches (5.30m). Junior Chris Chappell was fourth with an outdoor season's best vault of 17 feet, 0 � inches (5.20m).

In the men's triple jump, J.R. Harrison continued to look very strong with his third meet with a mark of over 50 feet. Harrison finished second at 50 feet, 4 inches (15.34m). On the track, sophomore Robert Cheseret continued to be the man of the hour. Cheseret won the mile run in a Pac-10 qualifying time of 4:01.43.

Junior-transfer Fanice Chepkorir clocked a season's best time in the 800 meters, finishing sixth in 2:13.02 as she closes in on the Pac-10 qualifying time. Junior Sharifa Jones clocked an NCAA regional qualifying time of 13.76 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles.

The women's 4x100 meter relay team shaved a few tenths of a second off of their best time, winning in 45.50 seconds. Senior Connie Jerz cleared 13 feet, 2 � inches in the women's pole vault to place fifth. Freshman April Kubishta set a new season's best with a clearance of 11 feet, 8 � inches.

In the men's 800 meters, freshman Kenny Frank ran his fastest time of the season, crossing the line at 1:53.09. Mark Ramos was third in the long jump with a best mark of 23 feet, 2 � inches (7.08m).

Freshman Adam Kuehl was sixth in the discus with a Pac-10 and NCAA Regional qualifying throw of 182 feet, 1 inch (55.49m).

The Wildcats will head back to the Southern California area next weekend for one the season's biggest events. Mt. San Antonio College will host the 46th annual Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. from Wednesday, April 14 through Sunday, April 18.

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