Men's and women's teams ranked in the top-10 together for first time since 1989.
April 26, 2011
OFFICIAL USTFCCCA RELEASE
TUCSON – The University of Arizona men’s track and field team climbed into the top-10 in the computer rankings for the first time in history and the women’s team continued their rise to the top, as the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released their weekly rankings on Tuesday.
The Arizona men’s team climbed seven positions to the No. 9 spot in this week’s rankings. It was the team’s highest placement in the history of the USTFCCCA computer rankings, which began in 2008. It was the first time the Wildcat men had been ranked as high in any sort of poll or ranking system since they peaked at No. 8 during the 2007 campaign.
The Arizona women continued to be the model for consistency, climbing one position to the No. 7 rankings in the country. The ranking was also the highest position in the USTFCCCA computer ranking era for the UA women, who have risen exactly one position in each of the weekly rankings after starting the outdoor season ranked No. 11.
The USTFCCCA computer rankings use mathematic formulae utilizing data from both the current and past seasons to determine which teams have the best opportunity of scoring well at the NCAA Championships, which will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, in June.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have a great history of success but, surprisingly, that success rarely seems to fall during the same season. Tuesday’s rankings mark the first time that both the men’s and women’s teams have both been ranked in the top-10 together in the modern ranking systems and the first time they have appeared together on any top-10 list since the men and women finished 10th and 5th, respectively, at the 1989 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The UA men, who were unranked just a couple weeks ago and hadn’t been in the top-25 since June of 2009, have jumped 17 spots in the past two week courtesy of a huge influx of top-10 national performances over the past couple weekends.
Junior Stephen Sambu currently has the top 5,000-meter time in the country with freshman teammate Lawi Lalang right behind him with the second fastest time. Sophomore Edgar Rivera-Morales also lay a partial claim to the top high jump mark in the country currently.
The women also lay claim to two of the top marks in the nation, with sophomore Julie Labonte currently leading the way with the top shot put mark in the nation. Her throw of 58 feet, 6 inches (17.83m) at the Triton Invitational this past weekend matched the Canadian nation record in the event.
Fellow sophomore Brigetta Barrett currently holds the No. 1 ranking in the high jump this season. Barrett has had the NCAA’s top jump since her very first competition of the 2011 indoor season.
In total, seven UA men rank among the nation’s top-10 in their respective events with six members of the women’s squad achieving the same feat. The men are currently the second-ranked team in the Pac-10 Conference behind only No. 8 Southern California while the women hold the third-best ranking in the conference behind No. 3 Oregon and No. 5 Southern California.
The UA teams will be back in action this weekend in Tempe, Ariz., as they do battle with Arizona State and Northern Arizona at the annual Dual Meet on Saturday. An Arizona win against the Sun Devils by either the men or women will lock up the Territorial Cup for the UA for the second consecutive season.