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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Track heads to ‘one of elite relay carnivals in nation’

    “”I gotta do good for Mom,”” Liz Patterson said Monday as she began warming up for high jump practice.

    Patterson practiced all week, anxiously awaiting the weekend, when her parents would get to see her compete as a Wildcat for the first time.

    She and the rest of the men’s and women’s track and field teams will participate in the 80th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays today and tomorrow.

    This will be Patterson’s third time competing in the Texas Relays, which are open to high school, collegiate and professional athletes. A Rowlett, Texas native, she set her high school’s record in the high jump at the Relays in her junior year with a jump of 1.75 meters.

    “”I’m just really excited,”” said Patterson, who will jump in front of her parents, little brother and nephew. “”I know they are gonna be proud of me.””

    UA head coach Fred Harvey, who has been involved in the Texas Relays as an athlete or a coach since 1978, described the meet as “”one of the elite relay carnivals in the nation.””

    “”It’s really exciting to have a whole stadium full of people who are extremely knowledgeable about your sport,”” Harvey said. “”You’re gonna have some cheering, you’re gonna have some booing.””

    Sophomore Shevell Quinley, currently the only ranked member of the women’s team at No. 6 in the heptathlon, said the atmosphere adds to the excitement.

    “”It sets the whole mood for a national meet,”” she said. “”It gets you real psyched up for competition.””

    Senior Adam Kuehl, who will compete in the shot put and discus, added: “”There’s so many people there, and they all love track and field. You get a lot of adrenaline going.””

    The rankings

    The men’s team was voted No. 4 in the country April 2 in the Trackwire 25 poll, the same ranking the men’s team finished in the 2006 outdoor season. No. 2 USC is the only Pacific 10 Conference team ahead of Arizona.

    “”It’s a great ranking this early in the season. They actually recognized us, unlike in indoors,”” said senior Jake Arnold.

    Arnold is individually ranked No. 1 in the country in the decathlon and will compete this weekend in the pole vault.

    “”It just means I have a big target on my back,”” he said. “”I have to train twice as hard.””

    The team will be on the road until May 19, when it holds the Tucson Elite Classic. Harvey said he was not overly opposed to the long trip.

    “”We get to focus on our athletes,”” Harvey said. “”We don’t have to worry about (home) meet management. Our athletes are going to get 110 percent of our attention.””

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