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By Roland Lechner
Arizona Daily Wildcat
May 1, 1998

UA track squad returns to home, sweet home

The atmosphere at Drachman Stadium in Tucson is sure to heat up, as Arizona faces two in-state rivals, Arizona State and Northern Arizona, during a tri-meet tomorrow.

"Every time you compete against Arizona State it is something special, that is why we have all our primary athletes participating on Saturday. It is also the time of the season, where everybody should be at their highest level of performance, because of the upcoming NCAAs, therefore we expect to achieve some qualifying marks," said UA head coach Dave Murray.

After coming off yet another successful meet last weekend at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, where the Wildcats were able to set seven qualifying marks, Arizona this time especially hopes for a great overall team effort.

"A good team performance this weekend for me is more important than my individual results, especially in a scoring meet against Arizona State. We won't let our rivals beat us in our own stadium and in front of our fans," said senior Dee Dee Buzzi.

Buzzi, who was the top collegiate finisher in the pole vault with a personal best of 12-3 1/2 feet last week, awaits a very tight schedule on Saturday, because she is starting in three other events (4x100m, 4x400m and the javelin throw) next to her original one. Although the emphasis at this meet is mainly on team scoring, Buzzi will try to improve her already solid provisional mark.

"If the events don't overlap at the meet, I think there is a good chance to get a good height on Saturday. I don't want to pressure myself, but I have the feeling that the best is yet to come for me," Buzzi said.

Dominic Johnson was also announced Pacific-10 conference's athlete of the week, after shattering his own school record at the Drake Relays last weekend by five inches. However, Johnson won't compete in the pole vault at the home meet, since he already secured himself an automatic spot at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Buffalo, N.Y., June 3-6.

"He had a lot of good vaults recently and we'll take him away from this event for one meet in order to get him prepared for the decathlon," Murray said.

Arizona's dominance in the technical disciplines could also be a key factor for a higher team score. Senior Chima Ugwu, already considered as one of the nation's top shot putters and currently ranked in second place, showed outstanding results in the discus, with an 202-5 feet attempt last week. This performance was not only a personal best, but also marked the second best throw in school history. Ugwu's goal for the tri-meet in Tucson will be to win the shot put , which could move him into first place in the national rankings.

"Although the field of athletes doesn't seem to be very competitive, I won't make the mistake to underestimate them. At this point of the season, every meet is important, especially in setting marks to impress the opponents and put them under pressure," Ugwu said.

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