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Arizona track and field sends four athletes to NCAA Championships

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Four Arizona track and field sent athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, which began Wednesday.

Hurdlers Shannon Meisberger and Talie Bonds will represent the women’s team Thursday, while javelin thrower. Jared O’Reily and long jumper Reinaldo Rodrigues competed on the men’s side.

O’Reily was Arizona’s first athlete to the stage at Oregon’s Hayward Field, where he finished 21st out of 24 competitors in the javelin. O’Reily’s throw of 65.42 meters was slightly off the personal best he set last week at NCAA West Prelims.

Later Wednesday, Rodrigues placed 18th in the long jump with a distance of 7.43m. That was shy of his personal best.

On Thursday, Bonds will compete in heat two of the 100m hurdles at 6:32 p.m. PT. If she advances, she’ll partake in the finals Saturday at 3:12 p.m. Bonds is the fifth seed in the event, putting her in good position to earn All-American honors.

“The preparation has been the same,” Bonds said. “I just have to execute exactly what I did last week and I should be fine.”

Arizona’s best chance at a national championship is Meisberger, who was the 2021 national runner-up in the 400m hurdles. head coach Fred Harvey expects Meisberger to contend for a national championship.

Meisberger has qualified again for the event. She’ll compete in an opening heat at 7:30 p.m. and is likely to make it to the finals, which run at 3:57 p.m. Saturday.

“The goal is to go in and your objective is to win the race,” Arizona coach Fred Harvey said. “Settling for second again, that doesn’t really fit in the progression that we’re looking at.”

Harvey said that Meisberger hasn’t had her best race yet, which she’ll need to stand out amongst an improved field compared to a year.

In training for NCAA Championships, Meisberger said she has been correcting a lot of minor errors to get as technically sound as possible.

“You always have to have the goal of winning,” Meisberger said. “That being said I’m not going to be disappointed if I don’t win. But I’m going to accept nothing less from myself.”