For the semifinals and finals of the NCAA Track and Field Championships, the Wildcats will send 13 student-athletes to compete in 16 events along with four student-athletes to run the women's 4x400-meter relay.
Austin, Texas - The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 6 men's and No. 8 women's track and field teams wrapped up competition at the preliminary round of the NCAA Track and Field Championships. The meet was held by the University of Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium. In order to advance to the semifinal or final of an event, an athlete or relay team must finish in the top 12 of that event. The semifinals and finals will take place in Des Moines, Iowa on June 6-9. The Wildcats will send 13 student-athletes to compete in 16 events along with four student-athletes to run the women's 4x400-meter relay.
The women's 4x400-meter relay team consisting of sophomore Shapri Romero, senior Echos Blevins, sophomore Tamara Pridgett and junior Georganne Moline won heat one and took third place overall with a time of 3:33.06. Romero clocked a split-time of 53.41, Blevins had a time of 52.93, Pridgett split at 54.85 and Moline anchored with a time of 51.69 to win the race.
"To have the women's 4x400 come out and win their section and beat Texas on their track like that, that gives us a lot of momentum going into the finals in Iowa," head coach Fred Harvey said.
"When we warm-up we joke around and try not to think about it too much," Moline said. "We're in shape by now, we know what we need to do so we just go out there and have fun. We have nothing to lose."
Sophomore Lawi Lalang took second place in heat one and third overall in the 1,500-meter race with a time of 3:43.12. Lalang will advance to the semifinal of the event in Iowa. Lalang also advanced in the 5,000-meter race, he took fifth in heat one and 10th overall with a time of 14:28.41. Senior Stephen Sambu also advanced to the final of the 5K; he took second place in heat one and fourth overall with a time of 14:17.21. Lalang will compete in the 1,500-meter race and the 5K while Sambu will run the 5K and 10K in Iowa. In the women's 5K, sophomore Elvin Kibet took fourth in heat two and eighth overall with a time of 16:20.88. She will also run in the finals of the 5K and 10K.
"The point of coming here is just getting to the finals," Lalang said. "I wanted the 1,500 meters to be a good pace and then kick the last 200 (meters) which is what I did. (In between races) I stretched with my trainer and then did a cool down, which was also a warm-up (for the 5K). Right now, you need to be somewhat wise because we still have a lot races to go, we have nationals in 10 days. Recovery is more important (than running fast times), just get into the top five and that's it."
Senior Taylor Bush threw 206-5 (62.93m) in the women's hammer throw, good for ninth place. That mark is the second-best of Bush's career and is also good for a spot in the final.
Junior Nick Ross cleared 7-2.5 (2.20m) in the men's high jump, good for second place and a trip to the final in Iowa. Ross will compete in the final of the high jump and triple jump. Junior Edgar Rivera-Morales also punched his ticket to Iowa, he tied for 11th place with a clearance of 7-1.5 (2.17m).
"We had a great day," Harvey said. "We got all the people through to the finals that I thought we would get through and that I really wanted to get through. Kudos to Taylor Bush, I'm so proud of her. She's going to the finals of the NCAA Championships (in the hammer) coming to Arizona as a walk-on sprinter. We have all the people in place now to do a great job in the finals and be able to score some serious points and do some great things for Arizona Athletics."
The Wildcats had other student-athletes compete on Saturday but they did not qualify for a trip to Iowa. The women's 4x100-meter relay team consisting of sophomore Tamara Pridgett, sophomore Germe Poston, junior Shale' Garland and senior Dahlys Marshall clocked a time of 45.65. That time was good for fifth place in heat three. Junior Elizabeth Apgar took seventh in heat two and 15th overall in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:26.44. Senior Dahlys Marshall clocked a season-best time of 13.42 in the women's 100-meter hurdles, good for fifth in heat one and 15th overall.