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Nduwimana Will Not Return for 2001 Track and Field Season

TUCSON, Ariz. University of Arizona track and field student-athlete Patrick Nduwimana, a junior during the 2000 season, will not return to compete for the Wildcats during the 2001 track and field season because of an NCAA ruling that he has exhausted his eligibility.

Nduwimana, the 2000 NCAA 800m Champion, enrolled in Savannah (Ga.) College when he came to the United States from Burundi, but did not compete in athletics at the small, four-year institution. Because he was not competing in athletics at Savannah, he did not take his SAT tests until he was already enrolled.

The NCAA ruled that Nduwimana was a partial qualifier because he did not have test scores before enrolling in a four-year institution, and therefore his four-year eligibility clock started when he enrolled at Savannah.

Nduwimana is presently competing in Europe in preparation for the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where he will compete in the 800m for his native Burundi.

"Obviously, not having Patrick next year is a tremendous blow to our team, not just because he is an exceptional athlete, but because of his outstanding character and leadership abilities," said Arizona director of track and field Dave Murray. "Patrick is one of the finest student-athletes we've ever had here at Arizona with his character, motivation and great all-around personality.

"His ultimate goal is not just to run fast, but to graduate with a degree from Arizona (in finance). He was in no way academically ineligible, and he is still going to be back in the spring to complete his degree. He has as much drive to do that as he does to run."

Nduwimana concludes his Arizona career as the most prolific middle distance runner in Wildcat history. He set and re-set the school 800m record several times, including for the final time at the NCAA Championships in Durham, N.C.

Nduwimana won the NCAA title, finishing in 1 minute, 45.08 seconds, the No. 4 time in Pacific-10 Conference history and No. 5 all-time in the collegiate ranks. He was also a three-time All-American for the Wildcats, finishing second in 1999 and seventh in 1998 at the NCAA Championships.

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