The University of Arizona Wildcat men's and women's track and field teams will begin the 2015 indoor track and field season on Friday in Flagstaff, Ariz. The meet will be held at the Lumberjack's J.L. Walkup Skydome on January 16. The field events are set to begin at 3 p.m. MST and the track events will start at 5 p.m. MST.
Arizona will compete against Arizona State, Grand Canyon University, Southern Utah University, Northern Arizona University and San Diego State University. The meet will be scored as multiple dual meets: 5-3-2-1 (2 athletes per team scoring per event), 5-3 (one relay team scoring per team. Due to dual scoring, all track events will be run as timed finals.
The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) released the preseason rankings for the 2015 indoor season on January 6. Neither the men nor the women are ranked. The week one rankings will be released on January 26. In the Pac-12 on the men's side, Oregon is ranked No. 2, Stanford is No. 7 and UCLA is No. 23. For the women in the Pac-12, Oregon is third, Stanford is 11th and UCLA is 16th.
For the men's squad, only 11 athletes will be competing in Flagstaff. At 3 p.m., heptathletes Myles Hawkins, a freshman, and Harrison Ivie, a junior, will compete in the pole vault. The duo will also long jump and the start time for that is set for 3:30 p.m. Following the completion of the women's shot put at 3 p.m., Hawkins, Ivie, sophomore Aaron Castle and senior Daniel Whitham will all compete in the shot put.
On the track for the men, senior Mohammad Alhasan will start things off with the 60-meter dash at 5:20 p.m. At 5:40 p.m., freshman Brody Hagen and sophomore Miles Parish will compete in the 800-meter run. In the men's 400-meter sprint, Arizona will run freshman Joshua Cummings, junior Blake Eichler, sophomore Bryce Houston, senior Pete Lauderdale II and Parish. At 6:25 p.m., Hawkins and Ivie will step on the track and compete in the 60-meter hurdles. Alhasan and Eichler will compete in the 200-meter dash at 6:45 p.m. In the final event of the night, Arizona will run Lauderdale II, Houston, Cummings and Parish in the 4x400-meter relay at 8 p.m.
For the women's team in the field events, Arizona will have three student-athletes in the pole vault competition. Freshman Maddie Duecker and sophomores Savannah Whitehead and Myriah Sujansky will compete following the completion of the men's pole vault. At 3 p.m., sophomore pentathletes Aleah Hurst and Alyssa Thompson will long jump. The men's high jump starts at 4 p.m., following that, senior Shakayla McEaddy, Thompson, sophomore Lisanne Hagens and freshman Emily Gerard will high jump. Also at 3 p.m., senior Baillie Gibson and Thompson will compete in the shot put.
On the track for the ladies, redshirt freshman Rachel Johns will compete in the 60-meter dash at 5:30 p.m. Freshmen Katelin Warren and Alex Berman will run 800 meters at 5:45 p.m. In the women's 400-meter sprint at 6:05 p.m., Arizona will run sophomore Jasper Gray, junior Nnenya Hailey, sophomore LIzzie Smith, junior Morgan Struble, junior Gia Trevisan and freshman Tatum Waggoner. At 6:35 p.m., freshman Tiana Bonds, sophomore Traci-Lynn Hicks, Hurst and Thompson will compete in the 60-meter hurdles. Hicks and Johns will also compete in the 200-meter sprint at 7 p.m. The Wildcats will have three 4x400-meter relay teams. The event is set to start at 7:45 p.m. The first team consists of freshman Diana Gajda, Thompson, Hicks, and Hailey. The second quartet is Struble, Bonds, Warren and Waggoner. The third group is Smith, Gray, Berman and Trevisan.
Lawi Lalang was a finalist for The Bowerman again in 2014 but failed to win the award for collegiate track and field's Athlete of the Year. In the 2015 Preseason Watch List for The Bowerman, it is the first time in three years the Wildcats have not had a male or female on the respective lists.
The men's track and field team earned a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Senior Lawi Lalang earned runner-up finishes in the mile and 5,000-meter race. Senior Nick Ross took second place in the men's high jump competition. The duo earned first-team All-America honors. Junior Pau Tonnesen earned second-team All-America accolades for his work in the heptathlon, he took ninth place. Junior Jovon Cunningham and freshman Jordan Young received honorable mention All-America honors in the triple jump and weight throw, respectively. On the women's side, senior Alyssa Hasslen (shot put), senior Shapri Romero (400 meters) and sophomore Nnenya Hailey (60-meter hurdles) all earned second-team All-America accolades. At the MPSF Championships, the conference championships for the indoor season (Pac-12 doesn't sponsor indoor track and field), Arizona's men earned a fifth-place finish while the women took third place overall.
From the 2014 women's team, Arizona returns NCAA All-American Nnenya Hailey. She represented the Wildcats at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdles. Baillie Gibson will return to action after missing most of the 2014 indoor season and all of the 2014 outdoor season due to injury. Gibson will be a top-notch thrower for the Wildcats in the shot put and the weight throw competitions. Elvin Kibet is back after competing in just one meet in 2014, the MPSF Championships. She earned first-team All-America accolades on the indoor track in 2012 but hasn't been healthy in 2013 or 2014 to return back to the NCAA Championships. High jumper Shakayla McEaddy posted a mark of 5-10 (1.78m) during the 2014 indoor season, winning the HJ competition at the Armory Collegiate Invitational. She also scored for the Wildcats at the MPSF Championships.
On the men's side, Arizona welcomes back Aaron Castle, who posted a mark of 62-0.25 (18.90m) in the men's shot put competition. Castle earned a runner-up finish at the MPSF Championships with that toss of 62-0.25. Jovon Cunningham was a 2014 NCAA Indoor All-American as a triple jumper, returns for the Wildcats. His mark of 52-2.5 (15.91m) is just off the UA school record of 15.96m. Harrison Ivie posted a strong score of 5,259 in the heptathlon at the Cherry and Silver Invitational in 2014. Ivie scored for the UA men at the MPSF Championships and took seventh place overall. Sam Macaluso's time of 8:05.87 at The Armory College Invitational in the 3,000-meter race was one of the best marks in the conference. Miles Parish's time of 47.02 in the 400-meter race at the Cherry and Silver Invitational was a top-eight time in the conference.
The 2014 season was the first time since 2008 the Wildcats failed to earn a top-25 finish on the women's side at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The women's team has won a total of 16 individual NCAA Indoor Championships. The best team finish in program history came in 2001 when the squad scored 30 points and tied for third place.
On the men's side, Arizona has earned top-25 finishes as a team at the NCAA Indoor Championships in eight of the last 10 seasons. Specifically, the last three years, Arizona has earned top-seven finishes. The men's squad has tallied six individual NCAA Championships, five of which came in those last three years. The best finish in program history came in 2012 when the team earned a third-place finish with 41 points.
Lawi Lalang, a 2014 graduate of the University of Arizona, holds two collegiate indoor records. He ran the 5K February 11, 2012 in 13:08.28 at The Armory in New York, N.Y. His second collegiate record came on the same track on February 15, 2014 when he clocked a time of 3:52.88 in the mile.