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Track continues success


By J. Ryan Casey
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 21, 2005
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Senior pole-vaulter Connie Jerz led the Arizona track teams to a sensational meet Saturday in Flagstaff, winning the women's pole vault with a clearance of 13-10.

In the process, Jerz improved her automatic qualifying mark for the NCAA Indoor Championships, held March 11-12 in Fayetteville, Ark.

"She just needs to make some minor adjustments," said Arizona head coach Fred Harvey. "She ran through on her first two attempts, which only gave her one opportunity to hit it."

The Arizona teams continued their recent success at the NAU-hosted Springco Invitational, posting nine personal bests, improving on 10 Mountain-Pacific Federation Championship qualifying performances, and improving on five NCAA Indoor Championship qualifying performances.

The women's team placed well in the 60-meter hurdles, as senior hurdler Sharifa Jones won the event with a time of 8.25 seconds, improving her provisional qualifying time for the NCAAs in the process.

Sophomore hurdler Jennifer Whitlock had a breakout meet, placing third in 8.45 seconds.

"Sharifa Jones finally had a good, clean race that put her very, very high on the national list," Harvey said. "And Jennifer Whitlock, she made a really, really big breakthrough."

The Wildcats came in third, fourth and fifth in the men's 60-meter hurdles, as sophomore Daniel Cook had the fastest time in the preliminary heat (8.12 seconds). Cook placed third in the finals, while junior Jeff Hunter was fourth (8.26), and sophomore Jake Arnold was fifth (8.36).

In the men's shot put, junior Sean Shields improved his provisional-qualifying performance with a throw of 62 feet, 7 inches. Sophomore Adam Kuehl had a provisional-qualifying toss of his own (58-5 3/4).

A number of Wildcats, including freshman sprinter Bobby McCoy, posted bests for the season Saturday. McCoy ended fourth in the 200, finishing in 21.60 seconds.

Fellow sprinters sophomore Jeremie Brower and junior Daniel Olea both posted their bests in the 400-meter event. Brower was sixth in 48.81 seconds, and Olea crossed the line seventh in 49.24 seconds.

Jones also had an improved performance in the long jump, at 18-9, her longest mark of the season.

Harvey said that the personal bests build confidence for his athletes heading into the MPSF Championships next weekend.

"It's huge because, even if you have an athlete and hit a provisional mark, or even if it's an automatic mark, but it's less than a personal best, it's not the same," he said. "Doing that one week before your second largest competition of the indoor season means everything in the world."

The Wildcats prepare this week for the MPSF Championships, which will be hosted in Washington's Dempsey Indoor facility.

"We'll rest up a little bit and try and keep them sharp over the next four days and see what we can do at the conference (meet)," Harvey said.



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