UA track team hosts Wildcat Qualifier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Eugene Kibby (right) and Dan Valentine run in the 100-meter final at the Arizona Elite Classic. The Cardinal Qualifier and the Wildcat Qualifier present some of the last opportunities for individual athletes to qualify for the Pacific 10 Conference and NCAA Championships.
The UA track and field season is winding down and two meets this weekend, the Wildcat Qualifier and the Cardinal Qualifier, present some of the last opportunities for individual athletes to qualify for the Pacific 10 Conference and NCAA Championships.
"It's just like finals time academically," UA head coach Dave Murray said. "The studying is done, the training is in and the hay is in the barn so to speak, and now it's just a matter of running fast and getting the kids to qualify for the Pac-10 meet and the NCAAs."
The Wildcat Qualifier, hosted by UA, includes squads from Arizona State, Northern Arizona, the University of Calgary and some junior college teams from around the state.
The field includes a strong discus competition and boasts the always competitive in-state rivalry between ASU, NAU and UA.
Four UA distance runners will travel to the Cardinal Qualifier in search of NCAA qualifying times.
"This meet is a high-profile distance carnival and it's a great place to run distance races because the weather is usually very cooperative and it's always a fast race," Murray said.
Senior Abdi Abdirahman will run the 10,000-meters for the first time all season, but Murray is unconcerned about Abdirahman's transition to longer distances.
"He hasn't had an opportunity to run the 10,000m this year," Murray said. "The time for him is not especially fast, but he still has to go out there and do it."
Freshman Tara Chaplin, who already has a strong NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 10,000m, will attempt to improve her provisional time in the 5,000m this weekend.
Junior Micheil Jones will also run the 5,000m for the Wildcats and junior Jeremy Lyon will race in the steeplechase.
Next week, the Wildcats host the Pre-Pac-10 meet which coach Murray calls "a fine turning opportunity" for UA athletes.
"If your going to run fast, jump high or throw far, you better do it right now," he said.
The Wildcat Qualifier will be held Saturday at Drachman Stadium with field events starting at 3:30 p.m. and running events beginning at 6. The Cardinal Qualifier will be run all day Friday.