Albuquerque, N.M. –The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 5 men’s and women’s track and field teams concluded competition at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The meet was held at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M. The men’s team finished in fifth place overall with 24 points.
For the men’s side, Oregon won with 61 points overall. Arkansas’ 53 points was good for 2nd place. Florida tallied 41 points in third place. Florida State earned 27 points and finished in fourth place. The top-four finishers take home trophies.
On the women’s side, Oregon won their fifth-straight title with 44 points. Texas had 43 points in second place. Georgia and Florida tied for third place with 40.50 points. Texas A&M tallied 35 points and finished in fifth place.
Senior Lawi Lalang began the day with the final of the men’s mile at 5 p.m. MST and he earned a runner-up finish with a time of 4:02.81. Lalang led the whole race once again but this time he got run down with about 20 meters to go. Anthony Rotich (UTEP) won with a time of 4:02.54. Lalang earned first-team NCAA All-America honors in the event for the second-straight year. He won the title in 2013. Lalang was also the defending champion in the 3K, which was set to begin at 7:40 p.m. However, Lalang scratched from the race and ended the meet with a tally of 16 points overall. Lalang, associated head coach James Li and head coach Fred Harvey spoke and as a group, they decided it was best for Lalang to shut it down.
Junior Pau Tonnesen finished the men’s heptathlon in ninth place with a personal-best score of 5,726 points. He began the day with the 60-meter hurdles and clocked a personal-best time of 8.50, good for 860 points. Tonnesen tied his personal-best mark in the pole vault, clearing 16-6.75 (5.05m) and adding 926 points to his tally. In the 1,000-meter race, Tonnesen clocked a time of 2:58.79 and earned 676 points. Tonnesen missed earning first-team All-America accolades by 34 points. Marcus Nilsson (UCLA) took eighth with 5,760 points. Curtis Beach (Duke) won the competition with 6,190 points. Tonnesen had personal-best marks in six of the events. He entered the competition ranked 14th and ended up in ninth place overall.
On Friday, Tonnesen clocked a personal-best time of 7.32 in the 60-meter dash. That time was good 772 points. He long jumped 23-0.75 (7.03m), another personal best and good for 821 points. Tonnesen had another personal best in the shot put, throwing 45-10 (13.97m) and added 727 points to his tally. Tonnesen cleared 7-0.5 (2.15m) in the high jump competition. That is a personal-best clearance and also tied the meet record. The previous record was set 6-11 (2.11m) set by three men, the latest coming in 2013.
Senior Alyssa Hasslen earned a 15th-place finish in the women’s shot put with a toss of 51-5.5 (15.68m). It was the final meet of Hasslen’s career at Arizona; she has exhausted her outdoor eligibility. Junior Jovon Cunningham competed in the men’s triple jump competition but fouled on all three of his attempts.
“You’re at the NCAA Championships and people are fighting hard and we’re trying to do everything we can to have a great team finish,” Harvey said. “There was definitely some excitement out there after getting fifth place here. Lawi, after the mile, his legs just didn’t feel right and were achy so he was not able to run the 3K. With that being said, that would’ve given us an opportunity to be in that top four that would’ve given us a trophy. Overall, when you have three second-place finishes at the NCAA Championships, that’s pretty good. We know that we have a lot more in the tank from our team. It’s just disappointing when you feel like we could’ve got some things done a little better at this competition. On the ladies side, we’re disappointed that we didn’t score any points. We had three quality ladies here but this meet is really difficult to score in. All in all, can’t cry too much over fifth in the country but, we want more.”
ESPNU will broadcast the meet on March 22 at 3:30 p.m. MST.
The Wildcats will begin outdoor season by hosting the Willie Williams Classic on March 20-22 at Roy P. Drachman Stadium.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s track and field, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and follow @ArizonaTrack on Twitter.