Wildcats aim high as team jets to Colorado

By Ryan Gray

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona track and field team has an important date tomorrow, when it travels to the U.S. Direct Invite at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

This weekend's trip to Colorado Springs, Colo., will be the first indoor meet of the season for the UA. Colorado and Texas A&M will join Air Force and Arizona in the competition. It can be seen tomorrow on tape delay via the Prime Network.

The traveling squad consists of the top two finishers in each event from last weekend's Arizona All-Comers meet. In other words, of the 70 athletes on the team, only 40 can go.

"The intra-squad meet sets the pecking order for Air Force, NAU/ASU (Feb. 11) and the Mountain Pacific Indoor Championships in Reno (Feb.18)," Coach Dave Murray said. "These two people will kind of be the people we will rely on in the next three weeks."

Three athletes performed especially well in the All-Comers, providing a strong base for this weekend.

Senior David Loshonkohl qualified for the NCAA indoor championship and the Pacific 10 Conference championship in the 35-pound weight throw with a new school record mark of 68 feet 10 inches.

Teammate Nicole Engstrom qualified for the Pac-10's in the discus (151-3) and shot put (44-7).

Junior Timur Voitetsky figures to set the pace in the 800 meters after establishing the conference championship qualifying time of 1:51.38.

In addition, the meet also marks the return of 1994 NCAA 800-meter runner-up Karen Bennett.

The marquee team matchup this weekend will feature the long-distance running of the UA and Colorado, Murray said.

At the 1994 NCAA cross country championships, Colorado edged out the Wildcats for second place in the men's team competition. The gap was a little more sizable on the women's side, with the Buffalo's claiming fourth and the UA taking 10th.

Murray said the other key matchup will pit the Wildcat sprint and hurdle team against that of Texas A&M.

"They (the Aggies) are the 1994 4X400 NCAA indoor champs," Murray said. "And they have most of those people back."

Murray said the sprint team will rely heavily on Armon Williams, Leo Simmons, Dawn Mortenson and Felicia Lane.

The Wildcats could escape with a 3-0 record because NCAA meets are scored team versus team. In other words, the teams compile wins against each team they defeat in the meet.

Murray listed the upcoming Air Force quad meet as one that could be potentially advantageous for the team.

"It's a meet where we win or lose as a team," said Murray. "If you're going to have a meet, you want to do the best you can.

"We're going up there with the intention of winning the whole meet."

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