Lagat & Lalang log another record day

Albuquerque, N.M. The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 8 men's and No. 23 women's track and field teams wrapped up competition at three meets on Saturday. The distance runners represented the Wildcats at the Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash. Senior Lawi Lalang was joined by volunteer assistant coach Bernard Lagat at the Millrose Games in New York, N.Y. The jumpers, sprinters and throwers competed in the Don Kirby Elite in Albuquerque, N.M.

In New York, Lagat set his eighth American record, winning the 2K at The Armory with a time of 4:54.74. It is his 12th appearance at the Millrose Games and he did not disappoint. Lagat led the field for essentially the entire race and once the rabbit stepped off the track, Lagat never looked back. It is the third-straight year Lagat has set an American record at the Millrose Games.

"It was a great race," associate head coach James Li said. "He's had good training this last couple weeks. We really came in very confident that we could get this done. Obviously, feeling confident and getting it done are two different things. We're happy it turned out well and it was a great race. It was fun. I've learned a couple years ago not to worry about his age, he's still looks good, he's still motivated and he still does it. I'm not going to speculate how much longer he will do it. He's still doing great."

Lalang competed in the Wannamaker Mile and the senior from Kenya earned a second-place finish overall with a personal-best time of 3:52.88. That time is a school record and a collegiate record. He owns three of the five fastest indoor miles in collegiate history. Lalang set the previous school record in the 2013 Wannamaker Mile with a time of 3:54.56 on Feb. 16. In that same race, Chris O' Hare (Tulsa) set the collegiate record with a time of 3:52.98. Lalang now holds two indoor collegiate records. His other record also came at the Millrose Games; he ran the 5K in 13:08.28 in 2012.

"I'm absolutely proud of him," Li said. "We've schedule this since December and we knew this was a great opportunity. Things went as planned and today the main thing I told him, was that he should not feel like an underdog to anybody. Even though a lot of the field had big names, I told him he could do well and that he should take charge if he had to and that's what he did. He broke the collegiate record but how he did it, he led about 95% of the race excluding the rabbit. He led until the last 50 meters or so. Amongst all those great and accomplished runners, he was able to do that. This is a big step forward for him. To be able to go in there and take charge, it was great, it was great day today."

In the women's shot put, senior Alyssa Hasslen had a season-best mark of 55-2.25 (16.82m). She took third place overall and has the No. 9 throw country, excluding results from other meets on the day. On the men's side, freshman Aaron Castle threw 60-5.25 (18.42m) and earned a seventh-place finish overall. Freshman Jordan Young took 10th place with a personal-best toss of 56-8.75 (17.29m).

In the women's 60-meter hurdles, sophomore Nnenya Hailey had a time of 8.23 in the preliminary round, good for first place in heat two of section A. In the final, Hailey also ran 8.23 and earned a second-place finish behind Sasha Wallace (Oregon) who ran 8.10. They are currently ranked first and second on the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) descending order list. In section B, sophomore Traci-Lynn Hicks had a time of 8.77 in the preliminary round. She returned for the final and posted a time of 8.58, good for third place overall. Sophomore Morgan Struble had a time of 8.91 in the preliminary round of section C. She ran 8.93 in the final and took sixth place.

In the men's 400-meter sprint, freshman Miles Parish clocked a time of 47.07, the second-best time of his career. He took first place in heat one and finished in third place overall. Freshman Bryce Houston had a time of 48.01, a personal-best time that was good for 12th place overall.  On the women's side, freshman Jasper Gray's time of 55.97 was a personal best. She finished in ninth place overall. Struble took 11th place with a time of 56.45. In the women's 60-meter dash, senior Germe Poston tied personal-best time of 7.46 in the preliminary round of section A. She had the fifth-best time overall going in to the final. Poston finished in third place overall with a time of 7.36, a new personal best and is tied for No. 22 in the country.

In the women's 4x400-meter relay, the quartet of Hailey, Gray, Struble and senior Shapri Romero clocked a season-best time of 3:37.56 and took fourth place overall. Romero had a 400-meter split of 51.9. On the men's side, Houston, Parish, freshman Avery Mickens and junior Neil Houlihan represented Arizona. They clocked a season-best time of 3:14.75 and took ninth place overall.

"My assessment from this meet was that we competed really well," head coach Fred Harvey said. "One of the things I wanted to see was how we competed heading into the conference championships. The level of competition is so high right now throughout the country that each weekend we have to step up more and more, and we're doing so. We should have a great opportunity to do well at the MPSF Championships, the athletes are excited about it and ready to get it done."

In Seattle, sophomore Sam Willis clocked a personal-best time of 4:18.03 in the mile, good for third place. Junior Dylan Hopper also ran the mile and he took fifth place with a time of 4:19.35. In the invitational section of the men's mile, freshman Matt Beer had a time of 4:13.47, a personal best.

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