The University of Arizona No. 13 men's and No. 12 women's track and field teams broke two more school records and one national record over the weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. The Razorback Invitational was held at the Randal Tyson Track Center, which is also the host site for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 8-9.
Junior Lawi Lalang made his 2013 season debut by breaking his own school record in the 3,000-meter race. His personal-best time of 7:42.79 was good for a first-place finish and ranks as the No. 1 time in the world this year for the event. His previous school record was 7:44.48 and was set on Feb. 25 in Seattle, Wash. Lalang is the defending NCAA Champion in the 3,000 meters.
"The race started as I planned," Lalang said. "The guy who was pacing did well, and we ran around 62 (seconds per 400 meters), and that is what we were aiming for. I feel confident right now, and I feel I can really do well."
In the 400-meter run, senior Georganne Moline clocked a personal-best time of 53.27, good for first place in heat eight and fifth place overall. That time is also an indoor school record and the No. 5 collegiate time in the country this year. Ruth Waithera-Nganga set the previous school record with a time of 53.34 on March 3, 1984 in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Junior Shapri Romero took second place in heat eight with a personal-best time of 53.86. That time was good for seventh place overall. On the men's side, junior Sean Delfani won heat three with a personal-best time of 48.11. He took 18th place overall.
"It (the 400 meters) went really well," Moline said. "I trusted myself more in the beginning and definitely ran out of my comfort zone. Toward the end, I had issues. I kind of died, but that's OK – getting stronger at practice will fix that"
The 4x400, she said, went well: "I seem to never be content with how I run. I kind of wish I attacked it a little more. I was still happy; it was a really, really good split, but I'll definitely attack it next time and catch up faster, not wait until the last 100 meters."
The quartet of Romero, junior Shale' Garland, junior Tamara Pridgett and Moline represented Arizona in the women's 4x400-meter relay. The women clocked a time of 3:36.35 and earned a third-place finish, just missing the school-record time of 3:36.13. Romero clocked a split of 53.941, Garland split at 54.132, Pridgett had a split of 56.335 and Moline anchored with a time of 51.942.
Junior Keegan Cooke finished the heptathlon with 5,004 points, a personal-best score that was good for seventh place overall out of nine heptathletes. That mark is the Zimbabwe national record in the event. He posted a personal-best mark of 2-2.25 (6.76m) in the long jump as well as a personal-best clearance in the high jump, 6-2.25 (1.89m).
Senior Taylor Freeman earned a fourth-place finish in the women's weight throw competition with a toss of 61-2.25 (18.65m). Sophomore Baillie Gibson's toss of 55-7.50 (16.95m) was a personal best and good for 10th place overall. On the men's side, senior Tyler Johnson had a toss of 57-1 (17.40m), good for seventh place.
Freshman Ali Rodseth posted a personal-best mark of 38-0 (11.58m) in the women's triple jump, good for 10th place. In the men's triple jump, sophomore Jovon Cunningham finished in sixth place with a jump of 50-6.25 (15.40m). Sophomore Sam Macaluso clocked a personal-best time of 4:10.52 in the men's open mile, taking fifth place overall. Sophomore Nicci Corbin's time of 4:41.84 was a personal best and good for fifth place in the women's mile invite.
The Arizona men's team finished in 11th place with 31 points. Arkansas took first place with 124 points. Florida finished in second place with a total of 79.5 points. Nebraska's total of 70 points was good for third place. Georgia finished in fourth place with 63 points. Texas tallied 58.5 points and took fifth place overall.
The UA women earned a sixth-place finish, totaling 48 points. Florida won with 101 points. LSU earned a second-place finish with 100 points. Texas took third place, scoring 87 points. Arkansas's total of 80 points placed them in fourth. Georgia finished in fifth place with 78 points.
"I'm extremely proud of the whole team and the way they worked," head coach Fred Harvey said. "As an entire team, we saw a group that got together and learned how to fight. Katie Penney went down in the mile, and being able to get up and fight and still run a good time shows the team what it takes to be successful. We had some really stellar performances across the board so we're excited about that and we're definitely looking forward to the next meet."