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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Patterson wins championship

    Patterson wins championship

    While torrential thunderstorms pounded the Midwest last week, a spot of sunshine found Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, and shined brightest on Arizona high jumper Liz Patterson.

    Despite weather-related concerns surrounding the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships throughout the week, the Wildcats survived with not much more than windy conditions and the team returned home with five All-American athletes and one individual champion in the high jump.

    The weather “”really wasn’t too bad,”” UA jumps and multi-events coach Sheldon Blockburger said. “”It was windy, but it’s been windy in Tucson so it didn’t really bother us too much.””

    Putting all distractions aside, Patterson opened the 2008 NCAA Championship meet perfectly. The sophomore never touched the bar in her first five attempts giving herself a clear edge heading into her final jump of 1.89 meters (6 feet, 2 1/4 inches).

    Patterson’s challengers in the attempt were Auburn’s Raevan Harris and Cal Poly’s Sharon Day-sister of Patterson’s teammate and fellow high jumper Jasmin Day.

    The clean beginning to the event for Patterson became crucial as she failed in all three attempts at the new height.

    Auburn’s Raevan Harris aided Patterson’s cause by hitting the bar on her three tries as Cal Poly’s Sharon Day – sister of teammate and fellow UA jumper Jasmin Day – also missed on her first two attempts.

    Because of Patterson’s tie breaker advantage due to not missing a jump in the opening rounds, all she needed to claim the title was for Day to falter in her final attempt.

    “”I was really nervous,”” Patterson said of watching Day’s final jump. “”I really wanted to just make my jump so I could relax a little, but I missed it and had to rely on (Day) missing her jump because I knew if she made it she would have won.””

    Those nerves quickly turned to jubilation as the Mustangs senior could not convert on her final attempt, thus crowing Patterson with her first NCAA individual

    championship.

    The title was the lone championship for the Wildcats, but it was Blockburger’s fourth in as many years.

    The three-year Arizona assistant coached UA athlete Jake Arnold to back-to-back decathlon titles the past two years after mentoring Sharon Day to a championship during his time at Cal Poly.

    “”It was surprising,”” Blockburger said of Patterson’s championship weekend. “”She made a big turnaround from how she jumped on Wednesday where she almost didn’t make it to the finals.

    “”But she really stepped it up and had a great day,”” he added.

    While Arizona did not return to Tucson with any more hardware, the Wildcats did bring home five All-Americans, including three in men’s shot put.

    Seniors Shawn Best, Jarred Sola, and junior Zack Lloyd made Arizona Track and Field history, becoming the first trio to bring home All-American honors in the same event during the same season.

    Aided by the performances of its All-American athletes, Arizona finished in the top 25 on both the men’s and women’s sides.

    The women finished 20th overall with 12 points while the men grabbed 11 points, good for a 23rd-place finish at the event.

    “”We all came here and did our best,”” Blockburger said. “”But I think next year we’re gonna bring a lot more people and hopefully double our points.””

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