Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Julie Labonte
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Labonté and Romero Lead UA Women
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 29, 2014

Tempe, Ariz.The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 16 men’s and No. 9 women’s track and field teams competed in Tempe this weekend at the Arizona State Invitational. The meet was held at ASU’s Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium. The women’s squad won six events on the day.


For the women’s team scores, Arizona State tallied 186 points and took first place overall. Arizona finished with 115 points in second place. Iowa had 106 points in third place. On the men’s side, Arizona State won with 190 points. Iowa’s 109.5 points was good for second place. Adams State totaled 95 points for third place. Arizona scored 69.5 points, good for fifth place.


Senior Shapri Romero clocked a time of 11.60 (0.0 wind) in the 100-meter dash, that personal-best mark was good for first place overall and is No. 6 in UA history. Excluding today’s results from around the country, that time is the No. 10 time in the country this year. Romero returned to the track for the 200-meter sprint and had a personal-best time of 23.29 (0.0 wind). That time was good for first place overall, the No. 3 time in school history and the No. 2 time in the country this year, excluding today’s results from other meets in the U.S.


“It was a last-minute decision to even run the 100-meter dash,” Romero said. “I’m really happy with how I ran, I’m happy about the time. I popped straight up out of the blocks and that was the main focus, to have a good start and I didn’t execute that. I’m not going to run it again; coach (Francesca) Green said it was my only chance to run it this year, so I did. It was a speed workout type of day so we did it for the fun of it and it worked out really well. I want to break the school record in the 200 meters. I’m super excited to run 23.29, especially since I didn’t execute the second part of the curve very well. It’s always exciting to run a fast time but also know that you have more to work on. Going into Oregon, the plan is to run the 400 meters and the 4x400-meter relay. Especially running against Phyllis Francis, the American-record holder for indoors, that’ll be very exciting.”


Redshirt senior Julie Labonté won the women’s discus competition with a toss of 186-6 (56.84m). That toss is a personal best for Labonté and is the No. 4 mark in UA history. It is also the No. 3 toss in the country this year. Labonté also competed in the shot put and had a season-best mark of 56-6.75 (17.24m). That is the No. 1 mark in the country this year. In the men’s discus, freshman Aaron Castle had a personal-best toss of 160-8 (48.97m) in the men’s discus, good for fourth place overall. Freshman Gerhard De Beer, who is competing unattached, threw 180-5 (55.00m) and would have taken third place had he been a scoring competitor.


“The discus went really well,” Labonté said. “Last year my personal best was 56.79m so I was really happy with that. To be No. 4 in school history is really big, we’ve had really good discus throwers. To be in the top four, that’s pretty amazing. The shot put went pretty well but since I threw the discus earlier I was getting tired during my last three throws. I ended up throwing 17.24m which I was pretty happy with, my goal was to throw over 17.20m so I achieved that. Going into Oregon, of course I want to better my marks. To throw 57m in the discus, I’ve always wanted to hit 57m so that would be the goal for discus. For shot put, hopefully 17.30m and we’ll just keep increasing each weekend, that’s the goal.”


On Friday, senior Amber Passalaqua threw the javelin 100-0 (30.48m) and took ninth place. For Saturday’s competition, Passalaqua began the day with a personal-best time of 14.28 (-0.9 wind) in the 100-meter hurdles. She took fourth place overall in the competition. In the long jump, Passalaqua had a mark of 18-7.25 (5.67m, 0.7 wind), good for sixth place overall.


In the men’s long jump competition, freshman Avery Mickens took second place overall with a jump of 24-1 (7.34m, 0.0 wind). Former Wildcat Edgar Rivera-Morales competed in the high jump competition and cleared 7-3.75 (2.23m). In the pole vault, freshman Myriah Sujansky had a personal-best clearance of 12-1.5 (3.70m).



Sophomore Nnenya Hailey won the women’s 400-meter race with a time of 54.08, a personal best. Freshman Jasper Gray had a personal-best time of 55.92, good for eighth place overall. Freshman Alex Gilbert ran 56.75, also a personal-best time.


In the men’s 100-meter dash, junior Mohammad Alhasan took fourth place with a personal-best time of 10.60. In the men’s 400-meter race, freshman Bryce Houston’s time of 48.40 was good for third place. Junior Neil Houlihan had a time of 53.98 in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, the No. 2 time of his career. For the women’s 400-meter hurdles, sophomore Morgan Struble had a personal-best time of 59.26, good for second overall.


Sophomore Kate Penney took first place in the women's 1,500-meter race with a time of 4:21.88, the second-best time of her career. Redshirt junior Elvin Kibet took third place with a personal-best time of 4:25.24. Her previous personal best was 4:29.26. Junior Stephanie Bulder finished in fourth place with a time of 4:26.33, a personal best. Freshman Maria Larsson’s time of 4:26.92 was good for sixth place. In the men’s 1,500-meter race, junior Sam Macaluso had a personal-best time of 3:46.24 and finished in third place overall.


The quartet of senior Tamara Pridgett, senior Shapri Romero, sophomore Traci-Lynn Hicks and freshman Aaliyah Haggard clocked a time of 45.97 in the 4x100-meter relay, good for third place overall. On the men’s side, Mickens, junior Mohammad Alhasan, freshman John Kane and junior Branden Helms had a time of 40.93. They took second place overall.


Overall, I’m very excited about where we are as a team right now,” head coach Fred Harvey said. “We got up and got some things done here in Tempe. The ladies in the 1,500-meter race looked good, the throws were very satisfying, more than satisfying actually. I have to say that the star of the show has to be Shapri Romero. Not discouting anything that the other athletes did but for her run 11.60 in the 100 meters, 23.29 in the 200 meters and then two very strong legs in both relays, she’s key for us in having the type of success we want to have this year. Going up to Eugene (Ore.), we’re going to have to put some things together and I think we have a good opportunity to make this a great meet and I want it to come down to the 4x400-meter relays and see what we’re made of.”


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