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Wildcat Wrap: Freshman sprinter Johnnie Blockburger sets Arizona record in 400m

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Arizona Track and Field hosted the annual Jim Click Shootout over the weekend, an event that attracts some of the top collegiate athletes from the west coast.

No one put on a better show than Wildcats freshman Johnnie Blockburger, who broke the school record in the 400m with a time of 44.71 to win the event.

A Tucson High School graduate, Blockburger becomes the first Arizona sprint to break 45 seconds in the 400m.

“Johnnie has that type of skill set to be one of the elite 400m runners in the country, if not the world,” said head coach Fred Harvey. “I think his race really lifted the squad, both men and women, when they saw that. That was definitely the performance of the meet.”

Blockburger’s twin sister, Alyssa, also competes for the track team. Their father is UA assistant coach Sheldon Blockburger.

Thrower Israel Oloyede also set a school record with a mark of 72.91m (239-2) in the hammer throw contest. Oloyede’s time is an Olympic Trials qualifying mark.

The Arizona men scored additional wins in the men’s shot put by way of Jordan Geist, who threw 19.83m (65-0.75) and the 4x400 relay, which ran a time of 3:05.86.

On the women’s side, Samantha Noenning won the shot put contest with a throw of 18.14m (59-6.25). Lillian Lowe won the high jump with a score of 1.78m (5-10), while Shannon Meisberger won the 400m hurdle with a time of 56.61.

Beach Volleyball

The beach volleyball team competed at the Pac-12 North Invitational, hosted at GCU. Arizona scored upset wins over No. 7 Stanford 3-2, and No. 11 Cal 4-1. The Wildcats also topped Washington 4-1. Arizona’s lone loss came to No. 1 UCLA, who swept the match 5-0.

The Wildcats (16-4) moved up to No. 9 nationally in the most recent coaches poll. Their last five regular season matches are all winnable.

Arizona will need some luck to knock off either top-ranked UCLA or No. 2 USC at the Pac-12 Championships later this month, but this is nonetheless turning into an impressive season for the Wildcats.

Men’s tennis

Men’s tennis dropped a road match to Utah on Sunday, their second straight Pac-12 defeat. The Utes won four of six singles games, leading to a 4-3 upset victory over the No. 20 Wildcats.

Arizona’s top-ranked player, No. 15 Gustaf Strom, continued his winning ways by topping his two-seed opponent 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (1).

The Wildcats will look to rebound at ASU on Saturday before they get ready for Pac-12 Championships the following week.

Women’s tennis

Women’s tennis had its best weekend of the season, sweeping Colorado and Utah at home to earn their first conference wins.

The Wildcats dominated the Buffaloes, winning 6-1. All four of Arizona’s singles points came via straight sets.

Utah handed Arizona a bit more of a challenge, but the women hung on for a 4-2 win. In both matches the Wildcats were led by top seed Jelena Lukic, who won her singles point and teamed with Khim Iglupas to give Arizona points in doubles.

The Wildcats host ASU at home Saturday before moving on to the first round of the Pac-12 Championships the following Friday.