With all of the Arizona Wildcats’ sports teams on break for the summer, it’s an optimal time to take stock of some of the programs we haven’t heard from in a while.
The Star’s nine-day long project is examining the state of several of the UA’s men’s and women’s sports on campus, reflecting on the prior season and looking ahead to the 2021-22 slate.
Up today is the Arizona track and field program, led by Fred Harvey.
Recapping the Olympic Trials
Seven members of the Wildcats track and field team recently competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The seven UA athletes that competed were Jordan Geist, Israel Oloyede, Samantha Noennig, Shannon Meisberger, Johnnie Blockburger, Lillian Lowe and Justice Summerset
On the biggest stage in the U.S., several Wildcats earned high marks in their respective event and coach Harvey came away feeling mostly pleased with the results.
“I think most did very very well,” he said. “It’s the best competition, probably better than the Olympics to tell the truth, just because the standards in the U.S. are higher in various events than they are in certain countries.”
Though UA did not have any athlete qualify for the Olympics, there were still notable performances.
Geist was one of only two collegiate athletes to finish in the top 10 in the shot put, with a season-best throw of 20.80 meters. Blockburger, a freshman sprinting sensation, clocked in at 46.75 for the 400-meter run and finished 25th. Meisberger finished 10th in the semifinals in the 400 hurdles in 57.22.
“It gave us a really nice building block for our core and what we need to be able to do next year,” Harvey said. “Overall, I’m happy with the performances and just the fact that they were all able to compete at such a high level.”
Filling new roles
Now that the season has come to an end, Harvey has been pouring through résumés and potential hires for openings within the program.
Two open positions that Harvey hopes to fill in the near future are the Director of Operations for the program and an assistant coaching spot. The job for the director of ops was previously held by Dawn Boxley, a former UA sprinter who had been with the track and field program for the past 21 seasons.
“There are a lot of exciting candidates for both positions,” Harvey said.
Senior sendoff for Summerset
High jumper Summerset put a final note on his superb collegiate career by competing in the Olympic Trials for the first time. Summerse graduated from Arizona in the spring and ended his time as a Wildcat with the distinction of being a four-time All-American.
“First Olympic Trials in the books … definitely not the result I hoped for but God’s plan is the best plan, I will be back promise that,” Summerset tweeted.
Summerset is the lone Wildcat from the trials that won’t be on the roster next season, giving the Wildcats plenty of star talent for the 2021-22 season.
Former Cats head to Olympics
A handful of Wildcat alums punched their ticket to Tokyo during the Olympic Trials. Sage Watson, Gia Trevisan, Abdi Abdirahman and Karolina Pahlitzsch are among the ex-UA athletes that will compete on the world’s biggest stage in the coming weeks.
Contact sports producer Alec White at 573-4161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @alecwhite_UA