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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Track ‘Cats kick off 1st official weekend of outdoor season

    When asked what his team’s goals were heading into this weekend’s Jim Click Shootout, UA track and field head coach Fred Harvey’s answer was short and to the point.

    “”To win,”” he said. “”We are here to win.””

    The accomplishment would be quite a feat considering the competition as the unranked UA teams will be welcoming top-25 squads from Georgia, Nebraska and rival ASU to town for the three-day competition, which begins today at Roy P. Drachman Stadium with the men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon events starting at 11 a.m. and continuing tomorrow. The running and field events will take place Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.

    “”We’ve seen a real improvement in the competitiveness and focus we have on the team,”” Harvey said. “”We have great teams and great weather in town this weekend and that’s going to give us every opportunity to have a great competition.””

    The Jim Click Shootout is one of the premier events on the track and field circuit in the country this weekend, and Harvey hopes the quality teams and the support of a local household name will help bring some attention to a program that sometimes flies under the radar.

    “”We have a great team and a great venue for teams to compete at,”” he said. “”To have (Jim Click’s) name attached to it, I think helps to give some credibility and attract some people out here to see a great group of athletes.””

    Click is a regular patron at the event and plans on attending the majority of Saturday’s events.

    The shootout will also feature a different scoring style than most teams are used to. For the only time this season, the men’s and women’s teams will compete for one combined score rather than separate ones. This ensures the best overall team on both sides walks out of the meet with the victory.

    “”Any time we have both teams competing together it helps because when everyone is together and cheering you on, it gets you that much more pumped up,”” said long jumper Luis Rivera, who will be competing in his first outdoor meet as a Wildcat.

    One of the most interesting matchups will occur today when UA heptathlon athlete Shevell Quinley goes against Jackie Johnson from ASU. Quinley finished in third place to Johnson at the NCAA Indoor Championships three weekends ago.

    “”I expect to see the two highest scores in the country in (the heptathlon) come out of Arizona this weekend,”” Harvey said. “”(Shevell) knows where she stands and I think she’s confident coming off the third-place finish.””

    Final lap

    ASU is also coming off a clean sweep of the indoor championships for the men and women and begin the outdoor season ranked No. 8 and No. 2, respectively, in the preseason poll released by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches poll last week.

    This marks the first official weekend of outdoor track and field across the country, and some UA athletes will see where their provisional marks scored at the Willie Williams Classic two weekends ago will match up against the rest of the country.

    After earning 15 qualifications at that event, the team will look to increase on that mark as several premier athletes will be taking their first cracks at qualifications. This includes senior sprinter Bobby McCoy, who will be running his first individual 400-meter dash coming of his fourth place finish at the indoor nationals.

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