The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 22 men's and No. 6 women's track and field teams began the first day of competition at the NCAA Championships West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas. The semifinals and finals of the NCAA Championships will take place on June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore. On the day, Arizona had four athletes advance to Eugene.
Junior Lawi Lalang won the men's 10K with a time of 29:54.66. It is only the second 10K of his career. He has advanced to the final of the event in the 10,000-meter race in Eugene. In his career, Lalang has now reached the finals of the 10K, 5K and 1,500 meters at the NCAA Championships. He will run the 5K on Saturday at 8:45 p.m. CDT.
"This place really feels hot," Lalang said. "At night it's really hot and humid so it's kind of strange weather. It was my plan to go as slow as I went; I was just trying to run something like a ‘tempo run'. That was the plan and it had nothing to do with the weather. (The last few laps) felt okay, kind of hard but I got out of it. (If I had to choose one race) I think I would choose the 10K, I think it is the perfect distance for me, maybe the 5K."
Senior Jen Bergman advanced to Eugene in the women's 10,000-meter race. She posted a time of 35:02.21 and earned a fifth-place finish. Bergman, fresh off her Pac-12 title in the 10K, qualified for the final of the event for the third-straight year.
"It was definitely the most intense race I've ever run," Bergman said. "There was 48 of us and everyone went together. Usually, in a 10K, it spreads out pretty quickly, but this one we were in a big bunch until three miles to go. Once that happened, we started going faster and people started to fade off. I'm super excited, if I didn't make it, I'd be devastated because it's my senior year and the team is looking to do real big things in this one."
Senior Edgar Rivera-Morales punched his ticket to Eugene for the men's high jump competition. He cleared 7-1 (2.16m) on his second attempt and that sealed his spot. He finished the competition in fifth place. He took three jumps on the day, clearing 6-11.5 (2.12m) on his first attempt. Rivera-Morales advanced to the finals of the high jump for the fourth-straight year. He will enter the final competition with the No. 3 jump in the country, his personal-best clearance of 7-5.75 (2.28m).
"It felt good, we had to start from the grass and it was hilly and then we stepped onto the track so it was messing with my approach," Rivera-Morales said. "I'm happy I qualified, that was the goal for today so I'm glad and now I can just prepare for nationals. It's always good to get that feeling you are doing well in the competition. The competition was going smooth and I was in a good spot so it made me relax. I'm happy; it's my last year so I really want to have a good performance there (in Eugene). I feel good; we're having a good season so far. I'm confident I can do something good."
Senior Georganne Moline posted a time of 56.30 in the 400-meter hurdles, taking first place with ease in heat one and clocking the fastest time overall. She automatically qualified for the quarterfinal on Friday at 7:30 p.m. On the men's side, senior Clifton Leake earned a third-place finish in heat four with a time of 51.85. He automatically qualified for the quarterfinal on Friday at 7:45 p.m.
Junior Shapri Romero automatically advanced to the quarterfinal of the 400 meters with a time of 53.23. She earned a third-place finish in heat five. The quarterfinal will take place on Friday at 6 p.m. Freshman Bernard Dickerson-Quinn ran 46.78 in the men's 400-meter run and advanced to the quarterfinal on time. He finished in fifth place in heat one. Friday's quarterfinal race will take place at 6:15 p.m.
In the women's 1,500-meter race, freshman Kate Penney automatically qualified for the quarterfinal with a time of 4:28.50. That time was good for fourth place in heat two. She will run in the quarterfinal on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
In the women's hammer throw, sophomore Baillie Gibson and senior Taylor Freeman failed to qualify for the final in Eugene. Gibson's mark of 197-3 (60.12m) was good for 13th place and Freeman took 14th place with a personal-best toss of 197-1 (60.08m). That toss is No. 4 in UA history.
In the women's 100-meter dash, junior Germe Poston ran a wind-aided time of 11.62 (+2.7 wind) and took sixth place in heat four. She failed to advance to the quarterfinal.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.