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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Track to divide and conquer

With the new NCAA track and field rankings out this week, Arizona is proving to the nation that they can run with the best. The women occupy the No. 17 spot and the men are ranked No. 20.

Both teams will look to improve those rankings this weekend as the distance squad heads north to Seattle, Wash., and the sprinters, jumpers and throwers return to Albuquerque, N.M., for the second time in a week after competing in the Cherry and Silver Ivitational on Jan 23.

“”The people that we take to our indoor meets are only people that we feel have an opportunity to score at our indoor conference championships,”” said head coach Fred Harvey.

In Seattle, Wash., the distance squad will have to deal with the teams from University of California, University of Washington and Brigham Young University, along with a couple hundred other athletes. The rest of the teams will take on Louisiana State University, Texas Tech and a few other schools.

This will be the distance squad’s second meet of the year and Seattle could be the best place for it.

“”The facility is maybe 10 feet above sea level,”” said distance coach James Li. “”Altitude will be to our advantage.””

About 15 distance runners will be representing Arizona, including sophomore Abdi Hassan. Last week Hassan won the men’s 800-meter run and qualified provisionally for the NCAA national championship.

This weekend, Hassan will be running the mile instead of the 800-meter. 

“”The mile was my main race last year,”” Hassan said. “”So this meet is like a test of where we’re at physically.””  

A handful of freshmen are still learning the ropes, as they are set to compete in only their second collegiate race.

“”I was a little nervous, but I’m kind of used to it,”” said freshman Kevin Jani of racing at the collegiate level. “”I went to a lot of big meets in high school.””

The rest of the team will head back to Albuquerque to take on some of the top schools in the nation. Even though the competition will be strong, Coach Francesca Green feels her sprinters will do well.

“”Our women’s (4-by-400-meter relay) is running exceptionally well,”” said Green. “”We’re hoping to go to Albuquerque and see if we get a provisional mark.””

The women’s 4-by-400m will consist of juniors Deanna Sullivan (redshirt) and Echos Blevins along with sophomores Georganne Moline and Andrea Menhennet.

Although the teams will be broken up, the athletes feel refreshed and confident about the upcoming competition.

“”I feel pretty good since we got some rest this week,”” said sophomore sprinter Chris McSwain. “”I’m excited that we’re not going in as sore.””

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