By Chris Jackson
Arizona Daily Wildcat April 18, 1997
Arizona teams travel to track crazy OregonTrack has never been one of the most popular spectator sports. When a few hundred fans show up, it is usually considered a good turnout.
Except in Eugene, Ore., where track is like basketball in Indiana.
The Arizona men's and women's track teams are heading to Eugene, Ore. this weekend to compete in the Pepsi Invitational.
"Eugene is a great place to run," UA head coach Dave Murray said. "At least in terms of fan interest. You'll get 3-5,000 fans at any given meet, and they're not all just cheering for Oregon. They're just track fans in general."
Opposing them will be teams from Oregon, Washington State and Indiana. The meet begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
"Those four teams make up for an excellent field," Murray said. "It'll be a real close meet."
The Cougars' men's team is ranked 21st in the nation, and Oregon consistently has one of the nation's best track programs year in and year out.
While the large crowd may be something new for the Wildcats, competing on the road is not. Arizona is coming off back-to-back meets in Tempe, and have two more road meets after this weekend.
Among the highlights from last weekend's three-way dual meet with Arizona State and Northern Arizona were freshmen Erin Aldrich and Tara Flaming taking the top two spots in the high jump with heights of 6-feet, 2 inches and 5-10, respectively. Sophomore Amy Skieresz easily captured the 3,000-meter run at Tempe with a time of 9 minutes, 42.52 seconds.
Aldrich will be leaving the meet early to travel to California to compete in the Mount Sac Relays against some of the top high jumpers in the country, assistant coach John Rembao said.
"Erin leads the country, so she'll be the favorite," Rembao said of Aldrich's national-best height of 6-3 1/2. "She really wanted to compete there. The meet is only for people who've jumped over six feet, so she should be up against some of the nation's best."
On the men's side, senior Jon Pillow took two events, topping the field in both the 3,000m (8:29.42) and the 3,000m steeplechase (9:28.59). In the pole vault competition, sophomore Jussi Autio tied his season-best mark at 17-0 3/4.
"If the weather is good, you'll see some excellent performances," Murray said. Strong winds hampered the Wildcats' efforts last weekend in Tempe.