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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Track ready for elements

Arizona’s No. 9 women’s and No. 12 men’s track and field teams begin competition today in the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships, held in Des Moines, Iowa.

While the teams can control aspects of the meet like being mentally and physically prepared, they can’t control Mother Nature, who is forecasted to grace Des Moines with rainstorms throughout the four-day competition.

Considering the teams are accustomed to Tucson’s desert climate, the diverse weather could put a damper on their results. Head coach Fred Harvey said the differing weather conditions do not give them the lower hand.  

“”It’s not going to affect us any differently than any of the other athletes there,”” Harvey said. “”Keep in mind, we just came back from Eugene, Oregon, where it rained every day of the first round. It’s not going to be any different from what we just encountered, with the exception of it being a much more pleasant type of rain, because the temperatures are warmer. We’re not going to be cold, just wet.””  

Rain certainly didn’t slow down either team in Eugene, where Arizona garnered 19 qualifications for this week’s finals. The qualifications were attained by 16 athletes, and consist of 18 events and one relay — one of the largest championship rosters Harvey has had since he started in 2002.

Among the 16 athletes is sophomore Jennifer Bergman, a first-time qualifier. Bergman qualified for both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter races.

“”I’ve never finished a track season this well, it’s always a challenge for me. So this is the first year things are going right,”” Bergman said.

To put her race lengths into perspective, 10,000 meters is 25 laps around a quarter-mile track.

“”Every time I think about having 25 laps to run, I think ‘oh goodness, that’s a lot of laps,’ but it’s very different from any of the other races,”” Bergman said. “”It feels like more of a workout for the first half, rather than starting a race. There’s never a point where I don’t know if I can keep running, but the last mile definitely hurts.””

Another qualifier is one of the nation’s leading high jumpers, sophomore Brigetta Barrett. But even though she has had success this year, Barrett said rankings can be irrelevant.

“”I feel really calm right now, because I usually don’t get too excited until the day before I jump,”” Barrett said. “”Right now I’m just trying to stay focused and humble, and know that rankings don’t mean anything, all that matters is what happens the day of the meet, so I’m just trying to stay on my game.””

With her continued success this season, people have high expectations of Barrett. Still, she only places importance on the expectations she makes for herself.

“”I’ve just been focusing on what I expect from myself,”” Barrett said. “”I want to prove to myself that I’ve been working all year for something.””

And as for the weather, Barrett said she remains confident.

“”I looked at the forecast and it said it might rain on the day that I jump. One thing I know is that I can’t control the weather, the only thing I can control is myself and the attitude I bring into it. So rain, sunshine or wind, I just have to be ready to compete.””

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