Tucson, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 20 men’s and No. 14 women’s track and field teams will compete in the NCAA West Preliminaries in Fayetteville, Ark. The NCAA West Preliminaries is the first and second rounds of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The preliminary meet is set for May 29-31 and will be held at Arkansas’ John McDonnell Field. The semifinals and finals of the NCAA Championships will take place June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.
On the women’s side, Arizona will compete against No. 1 Texas, No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 8 Arkansas and many others. The men’s squad will compete against No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Arkansas, No. 5 Texas Tech, No. 7 Texas, No. 8 Oklahoma State and many others.
The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) released the week eight rankings for the 2014 outdoor season on May 27. The men’s team is 20th and the women are ranked 14th. In the men’s rankings, Oregon is third, USC is 14th, Stanford is 21st and UCLA is 22nd. On the women’s side, Oregon is No. 3, USC is No. 9, Stanford is No. 10 and Arizona State is No. 21.
On Thursday for the Wildcats in the field events redshirt freshman Aaron Castle will compete in the men’s shot put competition at 12 p.m. MST. Freshman Avery Mickens will long jump at 4:30 p.m. MST. Also at 4:30 p.m. MST, seniors Julie Labonte and Omotayo Talabi will throw the shot put.
On the track on Thursday, sophomores Nnenya Hailey and Morgan Struble will run in the preliminary round of the women’s 400-meter hurdles at 3 p.m. MST. Senior Lawi Lalang and junior Sam Macaluso will run in the preliminary round of the men’s 1,500-meter race at 3:30 p.m. MST. Sophomore Kate Penney’s preliminary race in the women’s 1,500 meters is set for 4 p.m. MST. Junior Mohammad Alhasan will run in the preliminary round of the men’s 100-meter dash at 4:30 p.m. MST. Senior Germe Poston’s preliminary race in the women’s 100 meters is set for 4:55 p.m. MST. At 5:20 p.m. MST, freshman Miles Parish will compete in the preliminary round of the men’s 400-meter sprint. Senior Shapri Romero will run the 400-meter preliminary race on the women’s side at 5:45 p.m. MST. Freshman Collins Kibet will compete in the preliminary round of the men’s 800-meter race at 6:10 p.m. MST. Senior Meg Bellino will run the women’s 800 meters preliminary race at 6:35 p.m. MST. Senior Elvin Kibet and junior Stephanie Bulder will run the semifinal of the women’s 10K at 7 p.m. MST.
For Friday’s field events, redshirt freshman Jordan Young is entered in the men’s hammer throw competition at 8 a.m. MST. Labonte will compete in the women’s discus at 1 p.m. MST. The men’s high jump competition for senior Nick Ross will take place at 3 p.m. MST.
On the track on Friday, the quarterfinals of the 400 meters, 100 meters, 800 meters and 400-meter hurdles will take place. Sophomore Traci-Lynn Hicks will compete in the preliminary round of the 100-meter hurdles at 3:30 p.m. MST. Romero and Poston will run in the preliminary round of the 200-meter sprint at 6:25 p.m. MST. At 6:50 p.m. MST, junior Clea Formaz will run in the quarterfinal of the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. On the men’s side, junior Kenji Bierig will run the quarterfinal of the steeplechase at 7:30 p.m. MST.
Saturday’s field events will feature Gerhard De Beer in the men’s discus at 1 p.m. MST, junior Shakayla McEaddy in the women’s high jump at 4 p.m. MST and Ross in the men’s triple jump at 4 p.m. as well. On the track on Saturday will be the quarterfinals of the 1,500 meters, 100-meter hurdles and 200 meters. The women’s 4x100-meter relay quarterfinal at 4:15 p.m. MST will be run by senior Tamara Pridgett, Romero, Hicks and Poston. Lalang and Macaluso will run the semifinal of the 5K at 6:05 p.m. Kibet and junior Molly Callahan will run in the semifinal of the women’s 5K at 6:45 p.m. MST. The women’s 4x400-meter relay quartet of freshman Jasper Gray, Romero, Hailey and Pridgett will run in the quarterfinal round at 7:45 p.m. MST.
On May 17-18, the Wildcats competed at the Pac-12 Championships in Pullman, Wash. At the 2014 Pac-12 Track and Field Championships, the men’s team earned a third-place finish while the women finished in fifth place overall. Arizona had four individual champions over the course of the meet. Nick Ross won his third title in the high jump. Ross and Dick Fosbury are the only people in conference history to ever win three titles in the event. Lawi Lalang won titles in the 1,500-meter race and the 5K, bringing his total to 6 (3 - 1,500 meters, 2 - 5K, 1 - 10K). UA alum Robert Cheseret won eight titles and is the only athlete in conference history to win more individuals than Lalang. Julie Labonte won her fourth title in women’s shot put competition, the only athlete in conference to accomplish that feat in the event.
Lawi Lalang, a finalist for the 2013 The Bowerman, is the all-time Men’s Watch List appearance leader with 23, including seven this season. His is Arizona’s 25th appearance on the Men’s Watch List, second as a program only to to Florida’s 64.
Per the USTFCCCA website: A total of 96 student-athletes (48 East/48 West) in each individual event and 48 relay teams (24 East/24 West) will compete at the two Preliminary sites this weekend based on their schools’ geographical location, a total that will be pared down to the final Eugene-bound 24 individuals and relay teams by sundown Saturday.
As a clarification, despite the fact that the prelims and finals take place nearly two weeks apart, they are technically part of the same meet. This means that event victories this weekend should not be counted in overall winning streaks based on event finals — the student-athletes or relay teams would simply be the top seed from their respective prelim at the finals site. However, marks and times recorded at the Prelims are not eligible for NCAA Championships records.
Most individual track events will run four rounds — two at the Prelims and two at the Finals — to whittle the overall field of 96 to the final 24. The steeplechase and the relays will all run one round at the Prelims sites to narrow the field to 24, and then two rounds at the finals site. The 5000 and 10,000 will run two total rounds, one at the two Prelims sites and the second at the Finals site. The number of rounds/participants in rounds varies by event, as does the criteria for advancement, and can be reviewed in detail in the Event by Event Brackets created by the USTFCCCA.
Field events will work in much the same way. The throws and horizontal jumps will each contest both a trials and finals round at both the NCAA Prelims and NCAA Finals, with three attempts for each round. The number of student-athletes who move on from the three-attempt trials to the three-attempt finals round differs between NCAA Prelims and NCAA Finals, and can be reviewed here. Two flights of the high jump and pole vault will be contested at each Prelims site, with one round to be contested at the NCAA Finals.
The decathlon and heptathlon will not be contested at the prelims. The participants for the NCAA Finals have already been determined.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s track and field, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and follow @ArizonaTrack on Twitter. Live results will be available at flashresults.com.