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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcat track and field heads to Flagstaff to kick off season


(left to right) Sophomore Tiana Bonds and junior Alyssa Thompson jump hurdles at the track and field Winter All-Comers Meet. Photo Courtesy of Arizona Athletics.

The UA track and field team will open its season this Saturday when the team travels to Flagstaff to compete in the Lumberjack Team Challenge.

The Wildcats will compete against Grand Canyon University, UCLA, ASU, University of Texas, El Paso, Southern Utah University, University of California, Irvine, San Diego State and the home team, NAU.

For Arizona to have a successful season, the team will need to depend on the leadership and performance of the returning athletes to help carry them through the year.

Among these athletes is Pau Tonnesen, a redshirt senior from Tempe. Tonnesen had the highest marks for the Wildcats in the high jump, long jump and pole vault for Arizona last season.

Tonnesen is also arguably one of the best college decathletes in the country, winning the decathlon in the Pac-12 Conference championships and placing second in the NCAA Championships.

Tyrell Johnson will be a runner to watch in the upcoming season. Johnson is a sprinter from Fort Myers, Florida, who doubles as a wide receiver for the football program.

He is one of the football team’s fastest members but had a quiet season due to a foot injury that developed toward the beginning of the season.

Johnson will look to mimic the success he had last track season, in which he finished third in the Pac-12 championships in the 100-meter race.

Another athlete on the men’s side to look out for is Collins Kibet, who will look to continue his running success in the upcoming track season. Kibet, a junior who hails from Kenya, runs for both the track and cross-country teams.

Kibet had the top nine times for the Wildcats in the 800-meter event last season, placing second overall in the Pac-12 championship and fourth in the NCAA championship.

On the women’s side, the Wildcats have two hurdlers who had very successful seasons last year.

Traci-Lynn Hicks, a seniorwho runs in the 100-meter hurdles, placed fifth overall in the Pac-12 championships last year. Hicks had the top five times for the Wildcats in this event last year.

Nnenya Hailey, a senior, competes in the 400-meter hurdles. Hailey had the eight fastest times in this event for the Wildcats last year. Hailey placed in third at the Pac-12 championships and fifth at the NCAA championships.

Claire Green, Addi Zerrenner and Molly Callahan will compete in the longer events such as the 1,500, 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000-meter races. All three runners competed on the cross country team earlier this year.

Look for these athletes to lead Arizona in the upcoming meet in Flagstaff, which begins Saturday at 9 a.m. at NAU’s Skydome.

Follow Hunter McAdams on Twitter.

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