'Speed carnival' comes to UA
With no events longer than 1,500 meters, the UA track and field team hosts its annual "speed carnival" today and tomorrow, as athletes from around the world, including Canada and Nigeria, will compete in the Arizona Elite Classic.
Head coach Dave Murray anticipates a meet with high competition that should enable the Wildcat athletes to garner good marks for the season ending championships.
"Right now the primary goal of this meet is to get some qualifying times for the later (NCAA and Pacific-10 conference) championship meets," Murray said.
Another event that highlights this weekends meet will be the 12:55 p.m. electronically timed 40-yard dash featuring some of next year's football stars, including juniors Leon Callen and Marvin Brown.
"Knowing that the 40 is usually hand timed, it gives them a chance to run with an electronic timer," Murray said.
With a number of world class athletes scheduled to appear, the Wildcats welcome back world class 800-meter runner, Patrick Nduwimana, who was sidelined from a strained Achilles tendon all season. Nduwimana is slated to run the 1500m, not the 800, which UA sprinting coach Fred Harvey said was to "see how his body holds up in competition."
Nduwimana's return adds depth to a men's team that welcomed back junior Esko Mikkola - a former NCAA Champion in the javelin - last week.
"(Nduwimana's return) is a big motivation not only for him and myself, but for the rest of the team in getting them ready to compete," Harvey said.
The highlight of the meet will center around sophomore Brianna Glenn going up against two of the fastest women in the 100m last year.
Nigerian professional runners Mercy Nku and Christy Ogara will face off against Glenn, who currently holds the third fastest time at the collegiate level this season.
Nku, who was a finalist in last year's World Championships, has a fastest time of 10.98 seconds this season, while the Olympian Ogara has a season best of 11.19. Both are faster than Glenn's time of 11.24.
"I still need to work on some things like my start," Glenn said. "But I also need to get a good mark in the long jump," referring to her not yet having qualified for the NCAA in that event.
Other athletes Harvey expects to have good times with the competition this meet will be fellow quarter-milers senior Carolyn Jackson and sophomore Mike Kenyon, both of whom won their respective races last week at the UTEP Invitational in El Paso, Texas.
Francisco Merced can be reached at email@example.com.