SEATTLE - The Arizona Wildcat No. 6 men's and No. 16 women's track and field teams competed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships on Saturday, Feb. 25, held at Washington's Dempsey Indoor Track Center. The women's team finished in second place with 110 points and the men finished in fourth place with 70 points. Arizona set two school records and three MPSF meet records on the day.
On the women's side, Stanford won with 125 points and Oregon came in third with 108.33 points. Arizona State came in fourth place with 68 points, meaning Arizona earned a point in the State Farm Territorial Cup, making the current score 5.5 to 2.5 with the advantage to Arizona. For the men, Arizona State took first place with 131.50 points. Stanford came in second place with 81.50 points and Oregon took third with 77 points. Arizona earned fourth place with 70 points.
"I was definitely proud of how we closed," head coach Fred Harvey said. "To come out of this meet with three school records, it was really satisfying to see us compete at that level against really, really good competition. This was the best MPSF Championship meet I've been apart of in my 25 years at Arizona. We had a number of kids get in there and compete really hard and I'm happy with where we are at. The great things that everybody is putting together really bodes well for us heading into the NCAA Championship."
Sophomore Lawi Lalang set another school record, this time in the 3,000 meters. Lalang clocked a time of 7:44.48, winning the race by 7.07 seconds. That mark is a personal best, school record, MPSF Championship record, the No. 2 time in the country this year and the No. 5 collegiate mark all-time. The school record was previously set by Robert Cheseret on Jan. 28, 2006 in Seattle. Lalang has now automatically qualified for three events in the upcoming NCAA Championships, the mile, the 3K and the 5K, setting school records in all three.
"I run by myself a lot which is tough but it is ok," Lalang said. "I have a lot of confidence right now going into NCAA Championships, we haven't talked about which events I will run yet but I have a lot of confidence."
Junior Julie Labonté set an MPSF Championship record, winning the shot put competition with a throw of 58-7.5 (17.87m). The former record was held by Sarah Stevens of Arizona State, set in 2007. This is Labonté's third MPSF Championship. Junior Omotayo Talabi came in fourth place, throwing a personal best 50-7.50 (15.43m). Junior Taylor Freeman threw 49-4.25, good for fifth place. On the men's side, sophomore Bozidar Antunovic threw a personal best in the shot put with a mark of 61-9.5 (18.83m), good for second place.
Junior Brigetta Barrett set an MPSF Championship record in the high jump, clearing 6-4.0 (1.93m) and winning her second-straight MPSF title in the event. Junior Nick Ross won the high jump competition with a best clearance of 7-3.25 (2.22m). Junior Edgar Rivera-Morales came in third place place, clearing 7-1.5 (2.17m). Freshman Jovon Cunningham had a personal-best mark in the triple jump, 51-7.75 (15.74m), good for third place. Ross also scored in the triple jump, placing in seventh with a mark of 49-1.75 (14.98m).
"I was a little nervous heading into this meet because we changed my approach from ten steps to eight steps and doing that can make or break you," Barrett said. "I'm just glad it worked out well for me. I'm getting more and more comfortable and I'm ready to go for the collegiate record at the NCAA Championships, that's all I'm thinking about."
In the women's 400-meter dash, Blevins came in second with a personal-best time of 54.27. Romero also clocked a personal best, running 54.41, good for third place. On the men's side, Delfani came in seventh place with a personal-best time of 48.31, scoring two points for Arizona.
McSwain took third place in the 60-meter dash, clocking a time of 6.79 in the final. On the women's side, sophomore Tamara Pridgett came in third place as well, running 7.55 and scoring six points. Sophomore Germe Poston came in fifth place with a time of 7.58.
In the women's 3K, sophomore Elvin Kibet just missed breaking the school record by 1.05 seconds. Kibet came in sixth place with a time of 9:12.05. Junior Jen Bergman came in 13th place, clocking a time of 9:31.52 in the 3K. Freshman Nicci Corbin scored two points for the Wildcats in the women's mile, running a personal-best time of 4:46.66 and coming in seventh place. In the women's 60-meter hurdles final, senior Dahlys Marshall had a time of 8.37, good for third place and added six points to Arizona's total. Eichberger also ran the 800 meters in 1:50.03, good for a sixth-place finish in the event. Senior Chris McGovern scored for UA in the heptathlon, coming in sixth place with 5,240 points
UA's final opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Championships will be next Saturday at Iowa State's NCAA Qualifier in Ames, Iowa. The following weekend Arizona will return to Boise, Idaho for the second time this season, this time for the NCAA Indoor Championships.