'Cats Set To Start Outdoor Season
March 18, 2010
TUCSON - The Arizona men's and women's track and field teams will kick off the outdoor season tomorrow as they host the 2010 Willie Williams Classic at Roy P. Drachman Stadium.
The UA women are coming fresh off their 15th place finish at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships, led by high jumper Liz Patterson. Patterson will be back in action this weekend, but in an event of a different sort, running in the 4 x 100-meter relay event.
Athletes competing in different events will be the theme of the weekend as UA head coach Fred Harvey will utilize the relatively low-key meet as a training for many of his athletes to get them prepared for an outdoor season that promises to be a ride.
A new regional championship method will be unveiled this year. Rather than the four regions that compiled the country in previous years where you simply needed a big mark on the season and a respectable finish at the regional, the new format will make things far more interesting. Athletes who finished at the regional or held back may think twice as the regional works as a semi-final of sorts similar to the NCAA Indoor Qualification standards where only a certain amount of athletes will advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. and your performance at the Regional will determine whether you get there or not.
It's important that athletes actually qualify for the regional - split into and East and West - in the first place though. This will also be decided by taking the first 48 individuals ranked in each event to the regional sites. The new format will make for some much more exciting and competitive events down the road and you can expect the UA to be right in the thick of things.
Events for the Willie Williams Classic will run through Saturday and also include performances from some of the premier high school athletes from Arizona and Texas as well. A full list of the high school and collegiate races tomorrow can be found above.