Wildcats in Calif. for Mt. Sac
April 16, 2009
The 2009 UA men's and women's track and field teams have not quite matched the 39 regional qualifications that their 2008 counterparts earned, but - with still four meets remaining before the NCAA West Regional Championships -this squad is getting close. The Wildcats will enter one of the largest and most prestigous meets in the country this weekend at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif. and will look to improve upon the 32 regional qualifications that they have already set heading into the meet.
The 51st Annual Mt. Sac Relays, hosted by Mt. San Antonio College has a history of being one of the most impressive meets hosted across the nation throughout the years. The top professional, collegiate and high school athletes head to Walnut, Calif. at Hilmer Lodge Stadium each year to compete against the nations best and that kind of meet will give UA athletes just the sort of competition they need to set some impressive marks in order to improve their regional stock.
Senior Zack Lloyd will be one of the athletes to watch as he enters the weekend ranked in the top 10 nationally in both the shot put and discus events. Lloyd is currently ranked third nationally in the shot put, an event in which he had the best mark collegiately during the past outdoor season and the most recent indoor season. Lloyd is a three-time All-American and will look to continue rolling in California.
The UA throwin teams have impressed all season and are responsible for 12 of the Wildcat's 32 NCAA West Regional qualifications. As a testament to the UA's throwing success, five athletes have earned regional qualifications in more than one event: Lloyd (shot put and discus), sophomore Korion Morris (shot put and discus), senior Megan Howard (shot put and hammer throw), senior Nicole Lloyd (shot put and discus) and freshman Taylor Freeman (shot put and discus).
Several other athletes have earned two event qualifcations so far this season including the defending indoor conference champ in both the long and triple jumps in senior Luis Rivera-Morales. Rivera-Morales is currently sitting fourth in the nation in the long jump with a best of 7.78m, a mark that also puts him fifth all-time at Arizona. Rivera Morales is also ranked sixth in the West Region in the triple jump with a best this season of 15.28m.
Irine Lagat earned the first 1500-meter qualification of her career earlier this season at the Jim Click Shootout to go with her qualification in the 5000-meters, a combination of events she shares with her brother Bernard Lagat who earned world championships in both events in 2007. She, too, will look to continue improving upon those times this weekend.
Freshman Hannah Moen earned the first regional qualifier of her young career Thursday in the first day of events at the Mt. Sac Relays. Moen shaved sixteen seconds off her personal best in the 3000-meter steeplechase to finish in 10:35.64, a time that would give her the ninth best regional time of the season in the West.
The rest of the Wildcat team will see competition on Friday and Saturday and look to follow in the footsteps of Moen's opening day success.