TUCSON – The 2014 competition schedule for the University of Arizona Wildcat track and field program was announced by Director of Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field Fred Harvey on Sunday.
The indoor season kicks off with the Lumberjack Team Challenge on Friday, January 17 in Flagstaff, Ariz. The following weekend, the Wildcats have two meets scheduled, the New Mexico Cherry & Silver Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. and the Northern Arizona Invitational in Flagstaff. Both of those meets will take place on January 24-25. The University of Washington Invitational is up next on the schedule and that meet is set for January 31 and February 1 in Seattle, Wash. The Wildcats will head east to New York, N.Y. for the New Balance Collegiate Invitational on February 7-8. On February 14-15, the Wildcats have scheduled meets in Albuquerque and Seattle once again. The Don Kirby Invitational will take place in Albuquerque and the Washington Husky Invitational.
Championship season for the Wildcats will be in familiar territory, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championships will take place in Seattle on February 28 and March 1. Following that, the NCAA Indoor Championships will take place in Albuquerque on March 14-15.
The outdoor season begins in Tucson at Roy P. Drachman Stadium with the Willie Williams Classic. The meet will take place on March 21-22. On March 29, a contingent of Wildcats will compete in the ASU Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. Certainly one of the highlights of the outdoor schedule is the Pepsi Oregon Dual in Eugene, Ore. The Wildcats and Ducks will have a dual meet on April 5. Following the trip to Eugene, the Wildcats will host the Jim Click Shootout. The combined events portion of the meet is set for April 10-11 while the standard running, throwing and jumping events will take place on April 12. Arizona will compete in the LSU Alumni Gold Classic on April 19 in Baton Rouge, La. The Wildcats will host the Arizona – Arizona State – Northern Arizona Double Dual on Saturday, May 3. The following day, the prestigious distance meet, the Payton Jordan Invitational, takes place in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Pac-12 Championships Combined Events are set for May 10-11 and will be held in Pullman, Wash. The main portion of the Pac-12 Championships will also be hosted by Washington State on May 17-18. Following that meet, Roy P. Drachman Stadium will play host to the Tucson Elite Classic on May 22 and May 24.
The NCAA Championships First Round/West Regional will take place in Fayetteville, Ark. That meet will occur on May 29-31. The final meet of the collegiate season, the NCAA Outdoor Championships, will be held in Eugene on June 11-14.
On the men’s side, redshirt senior Nick Ross will be one of the leaders for Arizona. The 2012 NCAA Indoor Champion and two-time conference champion in the high jump redshirted the 2013 indoor and outdoor season due to injury. Jovon Cunningham (junior indoor, sophomore outdoor) also redshirted the outdoor season last year. Cunningham earned second-team All-America honors in the triple jump at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships as a freshman. Senior Lawi Lalang will return to the track looking to duplicate his incredibly successful 2013 season. Lalang became just the second man to win four individual distance titles in one academic year, joining 2009 The Bowerman winner Galen Rupp of Oregon and Suleiman Nyambui of UTEP in both 1980 and 1982 … Lalang is the first person in collegiate history to win NCAA Indoor Championships in the mile and 3K and NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 5K and 10K in the same year. The Wildcats also return two All-Pac-12 honorees in the 400 meters. Sophomore Bernard Dickerson-Quinn and senior Sean Delfani will lead the sprints group that sent a men’s 4x100-meter relay team and 4x400-meter relay team to the NCAA West Regionals in 2013.
On the women’s side, Arizona returns 2012 NCAA Outdoor All-American honoree Elvin Kibet. She took seventh place in the 10K at the NCAA Championships and she earned an 11th-place finish in the 5K. Kibet will head into the track season coming off a very impressive cross country season. Kibet and the cross country women are No. 1 in the country and will compete in the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23. The Wildcats will also have sophomore Nicci Corbin returning who earned All-Pac-12 honors in 2013 as well as second-team NCAA Outdoor All-America honors in the 5K.
Senior Shapri Romero earned all-conference honors in 2013 in the 400 meters, 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay. She also earned second-team NCAA All-America accolades as a member of the 4x400-meter relay team. Sophomore Traci-Lynn Hicks also was a member of the 4x100-meter relay team that earned all-conference honors and competed at the NCAA Championships. Individually, Hicks competed in the 100-meter hurdles at the NCAA Championships West Regional.
Senior Alyssa Hasslen has one indoor season of eligibility remaining and last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships, Hasslen earned first-team NCAA All-America honors in the shot put. Senior Julie Labonté has one outdoor season of eligibility remaining and last year she earned first-team NCAA Outdoor All-America honors in the shot put and the discus. Junior Baillie Gibson earned second-team NCAA Outdoor All-America honors in the discus last year.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s track and field, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and follow @ArizonaTrack on Twitter.