Pac-10 Track and Field Championship Preview
May 11, 2004
WALNUT CREEK, CALIF. -- The Pacific-10 Conference Track and Field Championships (74th annual for men, 18th annual for women) get underway in Tucson, Ariz., this Friday and Saturday, May 14-15. The University of Arizona will host the event at the Roy P. Drachman Stadium-Rincon Vista Track (5,000).
Activities begin Friday, May 14 at 2:30 p.m. PT, and Saturday, May 15 at 3:00 p.m. PT. Admission is $6.00 per day, while tickets for youth/senior citizens/students are $4.00. A two-day ticket is available for $10.00 for adults, and $6.00 for youth/senior citizens/students.
MEN'S THEME . . . OREGON will attempt to defend its Pac-10 title and already has picked up 25 points from its decathlon competitors after last weekend's multi-events championships...Host ARIZONA will count on sophomore Robert Cheseret in the distance races. He's posted a school record, and Pac-10 leading, 13:22.65 in the 5000 meters. Meanwhile, senior teammate Matt Wagner's posted the league's top mark in the javelin at 240-10... ARIZONA STATE is top-heavy in the sprints where it should pick up points from freshmen Domenik Peterson and Steven Koehnemann, sophomore Lewis Banda, and juniors Jason Barton and Seth Amoo. Banda leads the Pac-10 in the 400 meters (45.23), while Peterson has posted an indoor time of 20.57 in the 200 meters to rank tied atop that event...CALIFORNIA will depend on its troops in the field events - sophomore Teak Wilburn leads the league in the high jump (7-5), while junior Rhuben Williams ranks second in the shot put (64-9 3/4) and third in the hammer (205-2), and sophomore Kurt Seefeld is third in the discus (176-0)...Freshman Tommy Skipper already has a Pac-10 individual title in hand after capturing last weekend's decathlon. He'll look to add to OREGON's point total in the pole vault where he's posted the league's top mark at 18-8 3/4i this year. The Ducks will also count on a pair of hurdlers in sophomore Eric Mitchum (110m hurdles - 13.50w, 400m hurdles - 51.47) and senior Brandon Holliday (400m hurdles - 51.08)...STANFORD continues to rely on its distance corps as it owns three of the top four marks in the 1500 meters, and in the 5000 meters. The Cardinal are led by junior Donald Sage (1500 meters - 3:40.31), senior Grant Robison (1500 meters - 3:41.43), senior Louis Luchini (5000 meters - 13:25.19) and senior Ian Dobson (5000 meters - 13:40.91i, 10,000 meters - 28:15.66)... Senior Dan Ames will lead the UCLA charge. He's posted the top marks in the shot put (66-1) and discus (190-5) - both events in which he is the league's defending champion. He also ranks second in the hammer (212-2). Senior Nick Thornton (800 meters - 1:48.01), and juniors Ben Aragon (800 meters - 1:48.56, 1500 meters - 3:43.45) and Jon Rankin (800 meters - 1:49.67, 1500 meters - 3:43.10) will also be expected to score for the Bruins...USC junior Wes Felix will lead USC in the 100 meters (10.31) and 200 meters (20.57). Additional points could be picked for the Trojans behind sophomore sprinter Garry Jones (100 meters - 10.26), junior jumper Allen Simms (triple jump - 55-4 3/4), and senior Michael Murray (hammer - 214-11)... WASHINGTON senior Eric Garner will boost the Huskies chances in the 800 meters (1:50.18) and 1,500 meters (3:43.40). The Huskies will also look to the javelin for additional scoring from freshman Brian Harris (221-0) and junior Rigel Wise (220-6)...WASHINGTON STATE senior Anthony Buchanan (100 meters - 10.33) will look to defend his Pac-10 title at 100 meters. Additional point possibilities for the Cougars could come from junior Matt Mason (110 meter hurdles - 13.81, long jump - 26-6 1/4) and senior Tim Gehring (shot put - 63-6, hammer - 198-9).
WOMEN'S THEME . . . UCLA will be in search of its eighth consecutive women's Pac-10 title, and are the early favorite as the Bruins own the league's top marks in 11 events...ARIZONA junior Sharifa Jones will look to battle for top honors in the 100 meter hurdles (13.13w) and long jump (20-10i). The Wildcats also will look for points in the pole vault behind junior Connie Jerez (13-9 1/4) and in the discus behind senior Rachel Varner and her Pac-10 leading toss of 190-1...ARIZONA STATE freshman Amy Hastings leads the Pac-10 in the 3000 meter steeplechase (10:17.67) and has turned in impressive NCAA regional qualifying times in the 1500 meters (4:21.73) and 5000 meters (16:02.53). Junior teammate Julia Pederson could add points for the Sun Devils in the throws (shot put - 52-7 1/2, discus - 177-9), while junior Cassandra Reed looks to defend her 400 meter title (52.23)...CALIFORNIA women have posted five school record-breaking performances this season and will be paced by sophomore Antonette Carter in the 100 meters (11.53) and 200 meters (23.59). The Bears will look to pick up points from senior Sheni Russell in the discus (181-2) and senior Deanna Slaton in the 400 meter hurdles (58.03)...Individual title hopefuls for the OREGON Ducks include junior Sarah Malone in the javelin (179-7), senior Kirsten Larwin in the pole vault (13-3 1/2), and sophomore Sara Schaaf in the 800 meters (2:08.08)...STANFORD sophomore Alicia Craig is the collegiate record holder in the 10,000 meters (32:19.17) and holds the league's top time in the 5000 meters (15:31.15) this season as well. The Cardinal will rely on the strength of their distance runners that include freshman Arianna Lambie (1500 meters - 4:16.89), freshman Katy Trotter (3000m steeple - 10:28.43) and sophomore Chinney Offor (800 meters - 2:06.17). Senior school record holder Jill Camarena should add to the Cardinal point total in the shot put (59-6 3/4)...UCLA junior Monique Henderson has posted the league's best times in the 200 meters (22.71) and 400 meters (51.20), while also showing an impressive time in the 100 meters (11.59). Bruin teammate Sheena Johnson has posted the best times this season in the 100 meter hurdles (13.00) and 400 meter hurdles (56.45). Meanwhile, the following five Bruins top the list in their respective events; sophomore Sheena Gordon (high jump - 6-1 1/4), senior Chelsea Johnson (pole vault - 15-0), senior Renee Williams (long jump - 21-1 1/2i), senior Candice Baucham (triple jump - 44-2 3/4i), and senior Cari Soong (hammer - 209-2)...Freshmen sprinters look to lead USC at the championships. Top Trojan rookie performers include Virginia Powell (100 meters - 11.39), Dominique Dorsey (200 meters - 23.70), and Tracee Thomas (400 meters - 52.99). In the throws, junior Inga Stasiulionyte will look to defend her Pac-10 title in the javelin (182-4), while senior L'Orangerie Crawford looks for points in the shot put (56-0) and hammer (205-10)...A couple of freshmen also will play a factor in the success of the WASHINGTON Huskies. Dallon Williams leads a pack of Huskies in the 3000 meter steeplechase (10:41.78) and 5000 meters (16:41.19), while Ashley Lodree has posted an impressive time in the 100 meter hurdles (13.39w). Junior Kate Soma (pole vault - 13-5 3/4) and senior Megan Spriestersbach (javelin - 164-2) look for success in the field events for the Huskies...WASHINGTON STATE will look to the jumps for its points. Sophomore Robin Mikesh (high jump - 5-8 3/4), senior Stephanie Jaroos (high jump - 5-8), sophomore Tamara Diles (pole vault - 13-1 1/2i), and senior Blessing Ufodiama (triple jump - 43-5 1/4w) should all provide scoring opportunities for the Cougars.
DECATHLON/HEPTATHLON. . . OREGON freshman Tommy Skipper provided the Ducks with their fourth consecutive Pac-10 decathlon title last weekend, while ARIZONA STATE freshman Jacquelyn Johnson claimed the women's heptathlon crown. Skipper amassed an NCAA automatic qualifying 7,589 points in his heptathlon debut this season, while teammates Andy Young, Gabe LeMay and Randy Voge finished third, fourth and fifth respectively to give the Ducks 25 points heading into this weekend's competition. Johnson tallied 5,603 points, second-best point total in ASU history, to become the school's first Pac-10 heptathlon champion.
LAST YEAR . . . OREGON won its sixth Pac-10 team title, and its first since 1990, by edging out Stanford, 131-130. The Ducks relied on team balance to capture the crown as only three individuals took home top honors in their respective events - Adam Kriz (HT), Adam Jenkins (JT) and Santiago Lorenzo (decathlon). STANFORD's Louie Luchini was a double-winner in the 5,000 meters (14:06.67) and 10,000 meters (29:13.28), while UCLA's Dan Ames also pulled off a double in the shot put (63-5 1/2) and discus throw (196-4)... UCLA won its seventh consecutive Pac-10 women's title, and 14th overall, with a 15-point victory over second place Stanford (155-140). UCLA's Lena Nilsson successfully defended her titles in the 800m (2:03.86) and 1500m (4:13.21). Also accomplishing the double was UCLA's Sheena Johnson in the 110m hurdles (12.10) and 400m hurdles (56.45), and USC's Natasha Mayers in the 100m (11.39) and 200m (23.32).
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS . . . Cal State Northridge will host NCAA West Regionals on May 28-29. The top five finishers from each regional event automatically advance to the NCAA Championships. This year's national championships will be held June 9-12 at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
2005 PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS AT UCLA. . . UCLA will host the 2005 Pac-10 Championships, its first since 1996. The Championships will be held at Drake Stadium (cap. 11,700).
MEET HISTORY . . . Clearly the nation's most successful track and field Conference ever, the Pacific-10 Conference has produced such track and field greats as Ato Boldon, John Godina, Balazs Kiss, Mike Powell, Greg Foster, Kevin Young, Andre Phillips, James Robinson, Herman Frazier, Steve Lewis, Joaquim Cruz, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Evelyn Ashford, Henry Rono, Steve Prefontaine, Bob Mathias, Bob Seagren, Gail Devers, Sheila Hudson, Willie Banks, Quincy Watts, Alberto Salazar and Mac Wilkins, to name just a few. Pac-10 schools have won an unprecedented 45 of 81 NCAA men's team titles (USC 26, UCLA 8, OREGON 5, STANFORD 4, ARIZONA STATE 1, CALIFORNIA 1), while four of the 22 women's titles have gone to Pac-10 teams (UCLA 2, OREGON 1, USC 1). Pac-10 men have won 223 individual NCAA titles, while Pac-10 women have claimed 79 individual NCAA titles. Pac-10 men's and women's track and field athletes hold a total of 19 collegiate records.
ON THE AIR . . . FOX Sports Net will air a two-hour tape delayed show starting Thursday, May 20. Barry Tompkins will call the action, while color commentary will be provided by Dwight Stones and Tom Feuer.