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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


XC leaves mark at Pac-10 championship

Three points is all that separated the women’s cross-country team from winning the first Pacific 10 Conference Championship in school history. Instead, the Wildcats fell to No. 9 Stanford in the closest championship meet in league history.

“”It (went) better than I had even expected,”” sophomore Jennifer Bergman told Arizona Athletics. “”We’re very happy with our race, but we’re hungry for more.””

Bergman was the first Wildcat to cross the finish line, placing seventh. She was followed quickly by the trio of Elvin Kibet, Megan Meyer and Hannah Moen who finished 11th, 12th and 13th respectively.

“”Our ladies really did a good job,”” said head coach James Li. “”Finished second, beat Oregon, beat Washington. We ran close together as a team. I’m just really proud of the ladies today and how they finished. Second is actually about what we expected to do.””

The men did not fare as well as the women, finishing last in the race.

“”The previous two meets I think they improved,”” assistant head coach Erin Dawson said. “”Individually, each of them ran faster than they have all season. They ran as a pack, I think they can come out of there saying they gave the best they could.””

Stephen Sambu, however, was the bright spot, who rebounded from a leg injury to place fifth.

Sambu started off his collegiate career at Rend Lake Community College and is in his first year at the UA. In his three-year collegiate career this is the first race Sambu has lost.

The junior fell behind three Stanford runners who placed in the first three spots. They also placed first, second and third at Pre-Nationals and the coaching staff knew the Stanford runners would be stiff competition.

“”He is coming off an injury and he hasn’t run in a couple weeks,”” Dawson said. “”Going in there and getting fourth (sic) place, he did a spectacular job. He is only going to get stronger.””

The coaching staff was concerned that the weather would be an issue during the meet. Scattered showers and cold temperatures were rumored in the days leading up to the race, but Li told his team that they would have to just deal with it. Fortunately it held up.

“”The weather was great, it was cold and rainy, it was the way cross-country should be,”” Dawson said. “”Actually the kind of weather is good because we can get prepared for nationals.””

The Wildcats will have another crack at Stanford when they compete in the NCAA West Regionals in Oregon in two weeks.

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