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UA track teams split up for meets

By Fransico Merced
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 14, 2000
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Members of the UA men's and women's track and field teams will get a dose of the nation's top competition this weekend at two meets - the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif., and the Sierra Providence Health Network UTEP Invitational in El Paso, Texas.

The distance team, led by sophomore Tara Chaplin, heads west where most of the premiere distance runners in the nation will be in attendance, UA head coach Dave Murray said.

"(The Mt. Sac Relays are) primarily for our better distance runners because of its reputation for quality competition in distance events," Murray said. "(The competition) should be good for Tara Chaplin in the 10,000 (meter run)."

Chaplin's time of 33 minutes 45.64 seconds in the 10,000m is 25.64 seconds shy of the 2000 Olympic Trials automatic qualifier. The time of 33:20.00 is a time not out of reach for the young star, who has already owns an Olympic qualifier in the 5000m for her performance during the indoor season.

At the University of Texas at El Paso Invitational, 38 of the Wildcat track athletes will face the infamous winds of El Paso.

"It's a great place to sprint and a great place to throw. The winds are always favorable there, so (the events) always run and throw with the wind," Murray said.

One of the highlights for the team is the return of 1998 NCAA javelin champion and '99 runner up, junior Esko Mikkola.

Coming off several injuries, including a sprained ankle and inflammation of the teeth, the former champion will throw for the first time in competition since last July's World University Games in Spain.

"I had a little ankle injury, but now it feels good so I should be able to throw an NCAA qualifier," Mikkola said.

Another Wildcat ready to make a Olympic qualifier mark will be sophomore Mike Kenyon, who currently ranks fourth in the Pacific 10 Conference standings in the 400m.

"(This meet) will be huge for me, going to these big meets and seeing these big schools gives me a better feel of big time track and field competition," said Kenyon, last year's Big Sky Conference 400m outdoor champion.

The weekend will also be important for three-time All-American senior Carolyn Jackson, according to sprinting coach Fred Harvey.

"Carolyn Jackson is looking to lower her qualifying time because of the good competition with schools like Nebraska," Harvey said.

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