Fayetteville, Ark. - The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 13 men's and No. 12 women's track and field teams claimed victories in two events on Friday in Fayetteville, Ark. The Wildcats managed to set a new school and national record as well as a collegiate-leading mark at the Razorback Invitational. The meet is being held at Randal Tyson Track Center, which is also the host site for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 8-9.
Through eight events, the UA women sit in sixth place with 27 points. Georgia leads with 63 points, Texas is in second with 50 points, Florida has 43 points in third place, Arkansas totaled 34 points in fourth and Oklahoma's tally of 29 is good for fifth place.
The Arizona men are in ninth place after the conclusion of seven events with a total of 14 points. Arkansas' men lead with 43 points, Nebraska sits in second with 40 points, Georgia's total of 39 points is good for third place, Baylor holds fourth place with 30 points and Texas and Florida are tied for fifth place with 27.5 points.
Senior Edgar Rivera-Morales set an Arizona record in the men's high jump with a personal-best clearance of 7-5 (2.26m). James Frazier set the previous school record, clearing 7-4.75 (2.25m) in 1979. His clearance is tied for the No. 5 collegiate mark in the country thus far and is tied for the No. 6 mark in the world. Rivera-Morales also set the Mexican national indoor record with his clearance. Rivera-Morales and Gerardo Martinez both held the previous record at 7-4.25 (2.24m). Rivera-Morales posted that clearance on February 11, 2012 while Martinez posted his clearance on February 7, 2008.
"I felt really good," Rivera-Morales said. "Before coming here, I had the school record in mind and as the meet proceeded I started feeling good so I felt it could happen today. My jump felt really good and my approach felt really good and it was a good meet. I feel I'm in a good position right now after two meets and from now I'm just going to keep working hard and hopefully keep improving every meet."
Also in the men's high jump, freshman Jonny Giess cleared 6-10.75 (2.10m), a personal-best mark that was good for fifth place. In the men's long jump, sophomore Jovon Cunningham also posted a personal-best mark of 23-3.50 (7.10m), good for ninth place. Cunningham passed on his final three attempts.
Senior Brigetta Barrett made her 2013 debut with a clearance of 6-3.25 (1.91m), good for first place. That clearance was good for the collegiate leading mark and is tied for the No. 2 mark in the world this year. Barrett's streak of victories over collegiate competition has now reached 18.
"I think I jumped really well," Barrett said. "I felt a little nervous coming into this meet because I rested a lot more coming into the indoor season and I didn't feel as prepared as normal. But, I'm actually really happy because this is the highest I've jumped in an opening meet. There's definitely a lot of work to do still but I'm happy with this meet as far as the clearance and the fact that I was able to open up really well."
In the women's shot put competition, senior Julie Labonté earned a second-place finish, throwing 55-8.25 (16.97m). Junior Alyssa Hasslen had a toss of 55-3.5 (16.85m), good for third place. Sophomore Baillie Gibson made her season debut with a toss of 52-3.25 (15.93m), good for sixth place. Senior Omotayo Talabi took ninth place overall with a toss of 50-0.75 (15.26m). Labonté added eight points to the women's total, Hasslen tacked on six and Gibson added three.
"It didn't go as well as I thought it was going to go," Labonté said. "It's the first meet of the indoor season so I'll just keep going up from here and hopefully make it to the NCAA Championships, that's the goal for this season. I'm ready for the next meet and I'll just keep working hard."
Sophomore Lezo Urreiztieta advanced to the semifinal of the men's 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.33 in the preliminary round. The semifinal will take place on Saturday at 1:55 p.m. CST.
"We had a lot of good performances today," head coach Fred Harvey said. "We had a school record in the high jump that had been in existence for around 30 years so I'm really excited for Edgar and what he did there. Jonny (Giess) had a really good high jump; I thought he did really nice. We started off slow with the sprints and the hurdles but overall, if you look at what we did in the high jump and the ladies shot put, it was a good day and nice build going into tomorrow."
Competition will continue on Saturday with the heptathlon starting at 12 p.m. CST. The field events begin at 11 a.m. and the running portion of the meet will commence at 12:15 p.m. Live results are available at flashresults.com.