TUCSON - The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 14 men's and No. 13 women's track and field teams opened competition at the Mt. SAC Relays at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on Thursday. Arizona finished the first day of competition with one win and six personal bests.
Senior Stephen Sambu won the men's invitational 10,000-meter race with a time of 28:06.16. That mark is second-best time of Sambu's career, which is also the second-best time in school history. It is also ranks as the best collegiate time in the country this year and the second-best time in the world.
"I felt good from the beginning," said Sambu. "The pace was really slow, it was about 68 or 69 (seconds per 400 meters) so I was really comfortable. Towards the end I tried to push it because I was running with another strong guy. I didn't know him; I didn't know he was so strong. Now, I am really confident going into the conference (championships), regionals and nationals."
"Stephen (Sambu) was good, really good," associate head coach James Li said. "We didn't plan on running that hard but Kennedy Kithuka (Wayland Baptist) went out hard and had a pretty good gap so Stephen had to cover that. So he feels good and I think it'll bode well for him in the championship meets."
Junior Elizabeth Apgar clocked a personal-best time of 4:20.22 in the open 1,500-meter race. Apgar used a strong kick to finish second in the third heat and in fifth overall. Junior Melanie McGrath earned a third-place finish in the eighth heat of the women's 1,500 meters with a personal-best time of 4:32.49, good for 71st overall. Freshman Clea Formaz took eighth in section B of the open women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, clocking a personal-best time of 10.38.83.
Junior Hanna Henson ran the women's 10,000-meter race in the olympic development section, clocking a time of 35:22.10. Her personal-best time was good for 12th place in the event. Freshman Haley Stenquist ran the women's 10K in the open A section, clocking a personal-best time of 36:26.41, good for 16th place. Junior Kat Howard ran in the open B section of the women's 10,000 meters, clocking a personal-best time of 36:20.99.
Competition will resume on Friday at 10 a.m. Live results are available at http://flashwest.com/12Meets/12MtSacRelays/ and video coverage will be available at flotrack.org.