Track & Field Finishes Strong at NCAA West Regional

May 29, 2004

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The University of Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams completed competition at the 2004 NCAA West Regional on Saturday at Cal State Northridge. The Arizona women finished seventh in the overall team standings with 38 points, while the Wildcat men placed ninth with 28.50 points. The top five finishers and top three relays earn automatic bids to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas, which run June 9-12. At-large bids will be announced early next week.

Sophomore Angel Perkins earned herself a trip to the NCAA Championships with a third-place finish in the 400 meters. Perkins clocked a time of 52.86 seconds and added six points to the Wildcat women's team score.

In the men's discus, freshman Adam Kuehl earned his first trip to the NCAA Championships with a third place finish. Kuehl hit his best throw on his second attempt, a mark that measured 178 feet, 2 inches (54.30m).

In the women's 100-meter hurdles final, junior Sharifa Jones had a disappointing race as she finished seventh in 13.76 seconds. She will have to wait for the at-large selections to be made to see if she will be chosen to compete in Austin.

The women's 4x100-meter relay team finished sixth in 45.28 seconds. Freshman Tiffany McDonald led off for the Wildcat women, followed by sophomores Angel Perkins and Marquita Taylor, and Jones ran the anchor leg.

In the men's pole vault, both junior Chris Chappell and senior Kevin Opalka added to the men's point total. Chappell finished seventh with a clearance of 17 feet, 3 inches (5.26m), while Opalka was tied for eighth after clearing 16 feet, 11 inches (5.16m).

Senior J.R. Harrison placed seventh in the men's triple jump with a leap of 51 feet, 5 � inches (15.68m). In the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, junior Josh Ludwig also claimed a seventh-place finish with a time of 8:54.11, his best time this year. The women's 4x100-meter relay team placed seventh with a season's best time of 3:40.91. The quartet was made up of sophomore Marquita Taylor, juniors Chelsea Powell and Lindsay Scarborough, while Perkins ran the anchor leg.

Senior Matt Wagner started the day off for the Wildcats in the men's javelin. Wagner only took his first attempt, a throw of 201 feet, 4 inches (61.37m), due to a minor knee injury. Wagner and throws coach John Frazier decided it would be safer for him to pass on his other two attempts. He placed 11th in the competition with that one throw. Wagner has the fifth-best throw in the country and should receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.

Junior Amber Varner competed in the women's shot put, her third event in the two-day competition. Varner placed 18th with a throw of 45 feet, 10 inches (13.97m).

The Wildcats qualified for the NCAA Championships will take the next two weeks to prepare for the championship meet, while several others will await the at-large announcements.

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