A day after acting as the host coach at last weekend’s Pac-12 track and field championships, Fred Harvey on Monday already had his sights set on the future, not only the upcoming NCAA competition but also next year as he met with potential recruits.
Amid several individual meet highlights, the Wildcat men finished in third place, the team’s best performance in the Pac-12 meet since taking third in 2014. The women placed seventh.
Oregon won the men’s title for the 13th consecutive time, while USC captured the women’s crown.
Wildcat sophomore thrower Jordan Geist added new hardware to his bulging trophy case, honored as male athlete of the meet for the second year.
He won the shot put and placed third in the hammer throw and discus, accounting for 22 of the Wildcats’ 94 points.
Freshman James Smith, who keeps getting better in nearly every meet, shattered the school record in the 400-meter hurdles. He sprinted and leapt over the 10 hurdles en route to a third-place finish in 49.93 seconds. The old record was 50.11, set by Jeff Hunter in 2005.
And junior Karla Teran won the women’s high jump by clearing the bar at 6 feet, 2 inches. It tied for the second-best mark this year in the NCAA.
Teran’s performance “was a long time coming,” Harvey said in an Arizona Athletics video. She jumped well as a freshman, but then hit a plateau that she could not overcome. On Sunday evening, she looked athletic and graceful as she jumped, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Praising his teams for “a fantastic meet,” Harvey cited the performance of his relay teams.
The men’s 4x400 squad challenged USC for the lead in a final sprint by UA sophomore Maj Williams, but the 11th-ranked Trojan quartet went on to win in 3:05.73. The Wildcats’ time of 3:05.98 now stands as the No. 4 spot in the UA’s track record book.
The women’s 4x400 relay team also shone, running the 1,600-meter event in 3:32.13 for third place.
Wildcat athletes in the shot put, hammer, discus and javelin will compete Thursday and Saturday in the Tucson Elite Classic.
The Pac-12 meet marked the end of the regular track season for the Wildcats. Next up: the national championships.
The NCAA splits teams East and West for the first round of the national competition. Wildcat athletes whose marks rank among the 48 best in the West will compete May 23-25 in Sacramento, California, for the right to advance to the national finals.