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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

From Albuquerque to Tucson

Freshmen cross-country runners Patrick Zacharias and Ryan Clark made the trek to the desert from Albuquerque, New Mexico to run for the UA.

Zacharias and Clark both ran for the Albuquerque Academy and collected several honors throughout their high school careers.

As the two roommates work to continue that tradition here at Arizona, they continually give each other advice.

“”If we ever have any trouble with academics or if we need some encouragement in running, we have been teammates for so long we know how to pick each other up,  and we know to push each other,”” Zacharias said. “”It definitely helps to have someone that you know.””

Zacharias and Clark are part of a young and talented men’s cross-country team, still learning as they push ahead with the two freshmen and three sophomores. For now, the team is relying heavily on junior transfer Stephen Sambu, who is proving to be one of the best runners in the country.

 

High School Careers

The Albuquerque Academy is widely considered a powerhouse cross-country school in the state. The school has won 16 district championships since 1992 and has taken home the state title 11 times since 1995.

Zacharias was on the varsity squad all four years of high school, and Clark joined him in their sophomore year. In their time in high school, they took the district championship all four years, the state title three out of four years and went to nationals all four years.

“”The highest we finished was third, which was in 2008,”” Zacharias said in regards to their trips to nationals.

 

Zacharias

Off to a quick start wearing the red and blue, Zacharias has proven to be a top runner for the men’s cross-country team.

“”Pat is doing great,”” said assistant coach Erin Dawson. “”For a freshman, he is doing so much.””

Zacharias placed in the top three in his first event for the Wildcats, which was also his first 8k cross-country meet ever. In his second meet, Zacharias was the second Wildcat to break the tape as he placed 11th.

Clark explained that Zacharias was one of the top runners for their high school and has quickly risen to the top of the team here.

“”We have great team chemistry here,”” Clark said. “”Everybody gets along with each other; nobody is trying to hammer it on an easy day when everybody is trying to take a break.””

 

Clark

“”He is surprising a lot of people, he wasn’t a superstar in high school,”” Zacharias said. “”He has put in a lot of hard work, and I think a lot of it is starting to pay off.””

Everyone describes Clark as ‘a hard worker that is great for the team’. Clark may not be the fastest or best runner on the team, but he is definitely turning heads.

“”He came in and looked really good. The longer distance is definitely a challenge for him,”” said head coach James Li.

“”He is very positive for the team, but there is definitely room for him to improve.””

Clark is still trying to get used to running on a collegiate level, but he says the entire team is very supportive and they all help each other out.

“”It’s a big adjustment. It’s definitely a different world being in college running compared to high school,”” Clark said. “”High school was definitely hard, but college just takes so much dedication. We have practice at 6:30 in the morning, so every morning we have to get up and just run.

“”The Minnesota meet, there was just so many people it was overwhelming. They all said to be patient and just trust that it will pay off.””

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