New York, N.Y. – The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 8 men’s and women’s track and field teams are split up among two meets this weekend. A portion of the Wildcats are competing at the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York, N.Y. The other group of Wildcats is competing in the Mountain T’s Invitational in Flagstaff, Ariz. In New York, Saturday’s field events are set to start at 8:45 a.m. EST while the track events will start at 11 a.m. In Flagstaff on Saturday, the heptathlon will start at 8 a.m. MST The field events will begin at 10 a.m. while the running events start at 10:30 a.m.
“I thought the day went really well,” Head Coach Fred Harvey said. “We’re all really excited to be here at this competition. The whole environment in terms of the intensity of competing here at a historical place like The Armory. Being in New York, having to take the subway to get to the track, it has been a great experience for everyone. Obviously, we have some quality athletes but I think the level of expectations when you compete at a meet like this really go up.”
Sophomore Nnenya Hailey clocked a time of 8.29 in the preliminary round of the 60-meter hurdles championship section. That time was the fastest overall in the preliminary round. Sophomore Traci-Lynn Hicks’ time of 8.69 in the preliminary round was good for a spot in the semifinal. She clocked a time of 8.77 in the semifinal and failed to advance. In the semifinal, Hailey clocked a time of 8.25; that was good for first place overall in the semifinal round. In the final, Hailey clocked a personal-best time of 8.21 good for first place overall and No. 11 in the country.
“I feel like I ran well today,” Hailey said. “I had a goal for the day, to beat the school record, which is 8.17. But, considering where I came from and what I was doing last year, I’m pretty excited with how I ran today. (The warm-up area) was super hot, I’ve been here before so I knew what to expect but today they had the heat on and there were so many people in there. That was just something I had to overcome, but I think it helped because I was warmer. The races (so close together) wasn’t so bad, I actually liked the running closer because I’m still warm and I don’t have to do a new warm-up. You have to go through the rounds in college so I loved it, today was a good day. I moved up today in the national rankings, I’m really trying to make it to the NCAA Championships, I’ve never been in the 60-meter hurdles so that’s my goal right now.”
Senior Shapri Romero won heat four of the 400-meter sprint championship section with a personal-best time of 52.98. That time is No. 4 in the country on the season. Romero’s time was the top preliminary time and was good for a spot in Saturday’s final at 4:19 p.m. Senior Tamara Pridgett clocked a time of 56.53 but did not advance to the final. On the men’s side, freshman Miles Parish won heat eight and earned the second-fastest time overall at 47.69 in the preliminary round. The final will take place on Saturday at 4:33 p.m.
Junior Shakayla McEaddy, a last-minute addition to the trip, competed in the women’s high jump collegiate section and earned a first-place finish with a personal-best clearance of 5-10 (1.78m). That mark is tied for No. 23 in the country. Senior Amber Passalaqua posted a personal-best mark of 19-2.75 (5.86m) in the women’s long jump collegiate section. Passalaqua, the pentathlete and New York native, earned a fourth-place finish overall. In the 60-meter hurdles, Passalaqua clocked a time of 8.92, the second-fastest time of her career.
“I was really happy with how the day went,” McEaddy said. “One of the girls couldn’t make the trip and they chose me to replace her. I wanted to make sure I had a good meet and show them they made a good decision. I’ve been really close to clearing 5-10 for a while now so to finally get passed that feels good. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t clear 5-11.25 (1.81m) but I had some good attempts. I know I can do better and I’ll have another chance to improve next week in New Mexico.”
In the 60-meter dash championship section, senior Germe Poston clocked a time of 7.50 in the preliminary round. In the semifinal, Poston’s time of 7.48 was good for seventh place overall and ties the second-best time of her career. Poston ran in the final and earned a seventh-place finish with a time of 7.49, her third-best time ever. Senior Alyssa Hasslen earned a third-place finish in the women’s shot put championship section with a toss of 52-11 (16.13m). Junior Baillie Gibson had a mark of 51-7 (15.72m) and earned a seventh-place finish.
“I’m really excited about where we are going,” Harvey said. “Nnenya (Hailey) won the 60-meter hurdles, Shapri Romero being able to come out and run a personal best, Miles Parish ran really well. We had a mishap with the distance medley relay; I’m really disappointed for those ladies. One great story, Shakayla (McEaddy) made this trip, she wasn’t originally on the trip but we had some tickets open up, she gets a ticket and she wins the college high jump. That is a great story within itself. We’re focused on what we need to do tomorrow and we’ll get some good performances under our belt.”
For complete results from the meet and continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s track and field, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and follow @ArizonaTrack on Twitter.