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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cheseret cops NCAA award

    The No. 12 men’s and unranked women’s Arizona track and field teams are going to have to compete without a key athlete this weekend as senior hurdler Jennifer Whitlock will not be participating in the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark today and tomorrow.

    Whitlock was cut from the lineup late Sunday after her 60-meter hurdle qualifying time in Saturday’s Washington’s Last Chance meet in Seattle was discredited by the NCAA because the meet was not conducted properly.

    NCAA rules state if the number of runners is less than the number of lanes on the track, then only preliminary races will be conducted and counted.

    In the 60m hurdles final, Whitlock ran a qualifying time of 8.23, but because there were only six athletes who ran in both the preliminaries and in the final competition on the eight-lane track, it did not count.

    Instead Whitlock’s preliminary time of 8.26 was recorded, resulting in her disqualification from her first opportunity to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships, said Arizona track and field head coach Fred Harvey.

    “”You have to eliminate someone in order to move up to the finals,”” Harvey said. “”So basically they didn’t eliminate anyone, so it’s not a true final.””

    Because of Washington’s mistake, Harvey, who is on the NCAA executive committee, said he believes the school should be punished.

    “”It’s just really disheartening,”” Harvey said.

    Whitlock said she was also disappointed by the decision.

    “”I was looking forward to going,”” Whitlock said. “”But things happen.””

    Whitlock said she also agrees with Harvey that Washington should be penalized.

    “”They had an opportunity to take me, and we appealed it, and they denied it,”” Whitlock said. “”I think it’s unfair that athletes are getting punished for something the facility was responsible for.””

    But even without Whitlock’s presence, Harvey said he fully expects the women, who placed 38th in last year’s competition, to be a top-25 team.

    On the women’s side, the throwers are going to have to step up as seniors Kelli Burton and Sara Vigil, along with sophomore Megan Howard, are expected to pull through for the team, Harvey said.

    “”I really do think the women will improve,”” Harvey said. “”We have competitors, (and) once they get there they are going to be a lot more comfortable. It’s not new to them.””

    On the men’s side, Harvey said he sees senior All-American distance runner Robert Cheseret winning the 3,000m and senior hurdler Jeff Hunter performing at his best.

    Hunter, who set another school record at last week’s Last Chance meet with a time of 7.77, said his main goal is to become an All-American in the 60m hurdles.

    “”If I make it to the final I want to try to place in the top three and run at least 7.69,”” Hunter said.

    Junior heptathlete Jacob Arnold, who took 13th in last year’s event, is also expected to do better this time around, Harvey said.

    “”He’s much more fit right now,”” Harvey said.

    Track stars to compete in Willie Williams Classic

    Arizona fires up its outdoor season with its first big home meet of the year next week when they host the Willie Williams Classic and Dave Murray Distance Carnival at the Roy P. Drachman Stadium March 17-18.

    The meet, which is free and open to the public, is a meet aimed at honoring two of the Arizona’s finest track and field coaches, Harvey said.

    The meet will be highly competitive and will feature high schools as well as colleges, Harvey said.

    “”It’s a very unique meet,”” Harvey said. “”We have right now approximately 25 high schools that will participate from California, Arizona, New Mexico … as well as Texas.””

    Several big-name universities will also be in the mix, Harvey said.

    “”Washington State, Notre Dame, and Central Arizona College are going to compete as well,”” he said.

    This meet is a lot more intense than last week’s Wildcat Classic, Harvey said.

    “”It’s much bigger,”” Harvey said. “”We will be competing all of our athletes and it officially kick-starts the outdoor season.””

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