UA track and field athletes earn some personal bests at Willie Williams Classic
The UA track and field team opened its 2013 outdoor season by hosting the Willie Williams Classic this weekend.
The Wildcats competed against athletes from Arizona and New Mexico, including Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University, New Mexico State and Central Arizona College.
This meet, according to head coach Fred Harvey, was a judgment of where the ‘Cats are at from an outdoor standpoint and where to focus training.
“Everything we’re doing right now is really more about training than pure competitiveness, but being competitive is a part of training,” Harvey said. “If you can’t be competitive at this level, you can’t run at this level.”
Junior thrower Julie Labonté had an impressive showing this weekend. On Friday, Labonté opened the shot put with a toss of 57-feet-8.25-inches, which was good for first place. In the discus competition on Saturday, Labonté earned another victory with a mark of 170-feet-6-inches.
The Wildcats earned four other victories on Friday. Senior Tyler Johnson’s mark of 192-feet-9-inches gave him first place in the hammer throw competition. With a mark of 141-feet-9-inches, senior Asia Easley won the women’s javelin. In the men’s 1,500-meter, sophomore Sam Macaluso’s personal best time of 3:52.23 earned him a first place finish. Sophomore Clea Formaz placed first in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:44.22.
On Saturday, sophomore high jumper Shakayla McEaddy had a personal-best clearance of 5-feet-8.75-inches, which was good for first place overall. Freshman Traci-Lynn Hicks competed in the 100-meter hurdles and earned first with a time of 14.01.
Like Macaluso and McEaddy, several athletes made personal bests this weekend, which Harvey said was a good sign to open the season with.
Senior hurdler Clifton Leake posted a personal-best mark of 21.55 in the 200-meter dash on Friday, good for fourth place. On Saturday, Leake posted another personal-best of 47.57 in the 400-meter run, which earned him fifth place.
“It feels really good, I’ve been training well,” Leake said. “I had a rough indoor because of injuries, but Coach told me to keep training and have confidence, it’ll start coming together.”
Junior Omotayo Talabi made an outdoor personal-best mark of 51-feet-4.5-inches in the shot put on Friday. This mark earned her a second place finish. In the long jump, freshman Moriah Hayes made a personal-best mark of 18-feet-9.25-inches.
The Wildcats will travel next to Palo Alto, Calif. for the Stanford Invitational on March 29-30. Although there were impressive performances this weekend, Harvey said there is room to improve.
“We have to get a lot more training in and a lot more confidence in,” Harvey said. “We had a great indoor season. Outside, we’re a better team, especially on the ladies side. The men’s team, I’m very proud of how we competed. So on the men’s side, we have to continue to try and get better each weekend and continue to grow.”