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(DAILY_WILDCAT)

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By Roland Lechner
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 6, 1998

Wildcat track squad continues success in L.A.

Not even heavy rain Saturday could slow Arizona's track and field squad as the men's and women's teams finished first and third respectively at the U.S. Collegiate Series in Los Angeles.

"The rain poured the whole day, but our athletes still didn't lose their motivation, which usually happens under horrendous weather conditions like that, UA head coach Dave Murray said.

Several seasonal bests combined with strong depth helped the Wildcats win the men's competition, beating last year's Pacific 10 Conference champion Southern Cal by seven points.

As Murray predicted before the meet, the Wildcats scored most of their points in the field events. In the javelin throw, freshman Esko Mikkola launched a 228-3-foot attempt, which earned him his second straight win in the event.

Seniors Chima Ugwu and Doug Reynolds had a hard time in the shot put because, next to the pole vault, it was the most rain-affected event. The ring was totally flooded, which made it impossible for the competitors to show their true capabilities. But even under bad conditions, Ugwu threw a respectable 61-2 to capture first place by a ten-foot cushion over second-place Doug Reynolds. In the discus competition, it was the same order. This was Ugwu's first win in a discus competition this season.

Junior Amy Skieresz again dominated the 3000-meter. She not only scored the best time (9:20.85) achieved this year by any athlete, but also kept 35 seconds between her and the rest of the highly-competitive field. But Skieresz' efforts couldn't lift the women's team higher than third place (33 points behind winner USC).

"Our strength at the meet was to have depth of people who are able to finish in the top-3 ranks. The fact that we had to leave some distance runners at home on the women's side weakened us there a little bit, Murray said.

Sophomore Carolyn Jackson ran a solid 400, finishing in 53.88, although her goal to stay under 53 seconds was destroyed by the rain.

The biggest surprise of the day came from sophomore Jeremy Lyon in the 3000 steeplechase. His second-place time of 8:54.7 was 13 seconds faster than his previous best.


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