Five Arizona track and field athletes poised for a big season
Jordan Geist prepares to release a shot put during the Desert Heat Classic on April 28, at the Roy P. Drachman Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.
Arizona track and field kicked off its 2019 indoor season with an overall successful performance in Flagstaff on Friday. Several athletes walked away with first-place finishes, including sophomore Jordan Geist, who set the top NCAA mark to date in the shot put with a 20.27-meter throw.
As the Wildcats prepare for the Larry Wieczorek Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa this upcoming weekend, here are five individuals to keep an eye on in the 2019 campaign:
Geist picked up right where he left off at the end of his freshman season. Last year, he was honored as the 2018 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for his efforts in the shot put and discus throws. This year, he’s already posted the No. 1 NCAA mark in the shot put, which also ranks No. 3 in the world. In Flagstaff on Friday, Geist also earned second place honors in the weight throw with a mark of 12.12 meters. He’ll look to continue to improve his marks throughout the indoor season in preparation for another stellar outdoor campaign.
Williams burst onto the scene in 2018, eventually setting Arizona’s all-time men’s 400-meter mark and later notching a personal-best time of 45.96 seconds at the USA Junior Championships this past summer. Williams concluded an impressive freshman year on the track with a second-place finish in the 400m and a fifth-place finish in the 200m at the Pac-12 Championships last spring. Now a year older, and likely a year wiser, Williams will attempt to shorten the gap between himself and the nation’s other top middle-distance runners. He started his 2019 indoor season with a first-place finish in the 400m, clocking in at 47.06 seconds.
Arizona’s top high-jumper started off on the right foot after failing to surpass either of his personal bests in the indoor and outdoor high jumps in 2018. Summerset stood atop the podium for the first time this season, thanks to a 2.15-meter leap over the bar in Flagstaff on Friday. Summerset’s jump may not have been high enough to eclipse his previous best mark, but it was strong enough to serve as a catalyst for elite performances down the road. After finishing third at the Pac-12 Championships in 2018, Summerset likely has his eyes set on the top prize this season.
Waggoner returns for her redshirt senior season as one of Arizona’s top 200m and 400m runners. In 2018 she collected Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention honors. She was also named to the NCAA Outdoor All-American Second Team in the 4x400m relay. Waggoner’s shining moment last season came during the Pac-12 Championships, when she set the No. 2 400m mark in Arizona school history with a time of 51.89 seconds. She kickstarted her 2019 indoor campaign with a respectable first-place finish in the 400m in Flagstaff on Friday. Waggoner also helped the women’s 4x400m relay team clinch their first win of the season behind a time of 3:41.80.
Egbo is one of Arizona’s fastest all-around athletes, but he’s more likely to make an impact during the indoor season than he is on the outdoor track. In 2018, Egbo set a personal best in the 60m dash at the Texas Tech Shootout, crossing the finish line in 6.98 seconds. He shaved two one-hundredths of a second off that mark in his first 60m race of the 2019 season in Flagstaff on Friday. Egbo also blew by his competition in the 300m race, earning first-place honors with a time of 34.45 seconds. No matter which events Egbo winds up specializing in during the outdoor season, he’ll likely remain a key cog in the men’s 4x400m relay. On Friday, Egbo was one of four runners to help the men’s 4x400m relay team match the women’s first-place finish.
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