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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Track and Field kicks season off with a bang

    The Arizona Track and Field team started the 2009 season about as hot as they could Saturday at the Lumberjack Invitational in Flagstaff.

    Zack Lloyd, Liz Patterson and Gabriella Duclos all received automatic qualifications to the NCAA Indoor Championship.

    This feat is something head coach Fred Harvey describes as very remarkable but not too surprising.

    “”It’s great that they have done it in the first meet and now can focus on the training process,”” said Harvey. “”But it’s something we have been training for and we really expect those type of people to be able to do that.””

    The men’s team, ranked 19th nationally, was led by senior Zack Lloyd, who set a new personal indoor record with a shot put throw of 19.71 meters, which currently stands as the best throw in the country to start the season.

    Juniors Liz Patterson and Gabriella Duclos led the women’s team, ranked 15th nationally. Patterson tied her career best in the high jump with a 1.88-meter leap and Duclos threw an impressive 4.22-meter clearance in the pole vault, a personal record for her as well.

    One thing that is noticeable is that, not only did each of the athletes who earned automatic qualifications start the season off well, but they also either matched or set new personal records. This feat is astonishing, especially in the first meet of the season.

    “”They had very good training over the Christmas break and it really showed,”” Harvey said. “”It was the opening competition and for them do that was a real test of their skills.””

    Even though the teams did so well in the meet, there were weak moments during the competition.

    “”The biggest thing with the overall team is that you always want to work hard toward your competitiveness; that’s something we always want to continue.”” Harvey said. “”But there are a handful of people who need to keep positive. There are a lot of freshmen who have this problem but aren’t being let off the hook just because they’re freshmen.””

    However, the freshmen of the team are in very good hands, the upperclassmen provide support and direction.

    “”Veterans on the team is vital,”” Harvey said. “”We want the freshmen to learn and understand the standard of effort and competition from the older guys.””

    Harvey said the team needs to make sure the top performers keep on pushing.

    “”Track and field is such a unique sport in that you have your ups and downs, but in order to have success you have to have your big scorers succeed,”” Harvey said.

    The track and field team’s next meet is Saturday at the New Mexico Cherry and Silver Invitational in Albuquerque.

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