Shot put trio shines on second day

June 12, 2008

No three UA athletes from the men's or women's track and field teams have achieved All-American status in one event. The men's shot put team is six throws away from ending that streak after the second day of competion at the 2008 NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

With 26 throwers in the competiton to begin the event, the team of Zack Lloyd, Shawn Best and Jarred Sola needed to finish in the top 12 after three throws to advance to Saturday's final.

Best threw his best throw on this first attempt with a mark of 18.30m (60' 1/2') which was good for an ninth place finish after the first round.

Sola, like so many UA athletes did yesterday, did his best job of keeping everyone on their toes. The senior from Arroyo Grande, Calif. didn't have a great first throw and scratched his second attempt and would need a reasonable third throw to keep his collegiate career going. Sola answered with a mark of 18.06 (59' 3') and slipped into the 11th position.

After the shot put seemed to slip from his hands just a bit on his first throw, Lloyd threw a second toss 18.55m (60' 10 1/2') to solidy his position in the final with a fourth place preliminary round showing.

Lloyd, one of the UA's favorites to win an individual national championship, is currently the top ranked throw in the country at the collegiate level. His season's and career best throw of 21.03m (69') was good for the Pacific-10 Conference crown in the event and easily qualified him at the Olympic 'A' standard for the U.S. trials, where he will be a dark horse pick to represent the national team in Beijing later this summer.

No trio of athletes have ever earned All-American honors in one event in The University of Arizona's track and field history, but this trio provides the school with it's best chance yet. Sola and Best have earned All-American honors in their past and know what it takes to get to that level. Lloyd, who has been competiting in the event for seven years, has plenty of experience to get the job done as well.

Christina Rodgers had the other notable performance for the UA on Thursday as she competed in the women's 800-meter run. Rodgers, only a sophomore, put together a brave race but unfortunately came just shy of earning an automatic qualifying spot for Saturday's final. Rodgers ran a a time of 2:06.54 on her way to an 11th place finish in her first outdoor national championships.

With two years left on her tenure at the UA, Rodgers has already taken to strides to prove herself as a competitor at the national level and should be a force in the years to come.

Only two athletes will be in competition for the UA tommorow as the National Championships make their way to the home stretch. Shevell Quinley will open the heptathlon event at 1 p.m. as she looks to defend her third-place finish at the indoor nationals several months ago. Senior sprinter Bobby McCoy will also be on the prowl for his second All-American honors of the year as he competes in the semifinal for the men's 400-meter dash.

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