Arizona track and field dominates on both sides of the country
This past weekend, the Arizona Wildcats’ track and field teams split up to compete in the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., and the LSU Alumni Gold in Baton Rouge, La.
Despite being on opposite sides of the country, both the No. 19 Wildcats men’s and No. 10 women’s teams had overall strong weekends. Most notably, senior Nick Ross won the high jump in Louisiana with a season-best clearance of 7-5, while on the West Coast, junior Elvin Kibet ran a personal best of 32:40.22 in the women’s 10K.
“I thought we competed extremely well,” head coach Fred Harvey said in a press release following Arizona’s day at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium. “I always want to see how our team reacts coming to a place like this and competes against this level of competition. Everybody was really steady, which means a lot at this level.”
Ross’ jump is the second-highest and Kibet’s time is the second-fastest in the country this year. With the Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Championships quickly approaching, the positive results from this weekend are confidence boosters for the two athletes.
Arizona redshirt junior Elvin Kibet ran a personal-best time of 32:40.22 in the women’s 10K “invitational elite section" at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. Her time was the second best in Wildcat history, No. 2 in the country, best in the west region and No. 1 in the Pac-12 this year.
“It gives me confidence at those bars around 7-5, so that going into the NCAA Championships, I’ll be ready for those 7-7 and 7-8 bars,” Ross said. “Overall, I felt good; the track was really fast and really springy.”
Ross, though, is still shooting for higher marks. His jump this weekend, which came on his first attempt, was his second-highest jump of all time. He added that following the competition, his goal is to jump 7-7 by the end of the season.
Kibet’s time was a personal best and was just nine seconds off of the Arizona record. The fast time was a slight surprise to the redshirt junior, who has been battling injuries.
“I didn’t think I could run that fast today,” Kibet said. “My plan was just to stay with the leading pack and see what I can do. I am so happy to be injury free and healthy, and I am not taking that for granted. I definitely appreciate it.”
Back in Louisiana, five other Wildcats had personal-best marks.
Sophomore Nnenya Hailey clocked a personal-best time of 57.07 in the 400-meter hurdles, and sophomore Morgan Struble ran a 59.33 also in the 400 hurdles in section “B.”
In the men’s shot put, freshman Aaron Castle took second place with a personal-best toss of 60-5.75.
In the men’s hammer throw, Jordan Young took first with a personal-best of 224-0. The throw is also the third-farthest in school history.
On the women’s side, sophomore Gia Trevisan clocked a person-best time of 55.99 in the women’s 400-meter race. The time was good enough for sixth place in section “B.”
Finally senior Amber Passalaqua had a personal best in the 100-meter hurdles. Her time of 13.98 was fast enough for eighth place in section “B.” Passalaqua, a heptathlete, also long jumped this weekend. Her mark of 19-0.75 is the second-best all-conditions mark of her career. The jump got her third place in the open section.
“I’m feeling pretty confident,” Passalaqua said. “I still feel like I have more left in me, so I’m hoping at our dual meet, I can get a couple more personal bests to prepare myself for the next heptathlon.”
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella