The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

95° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Cross country loses Cheseret, 6 seniors after solid year”

    They’ve laced up their shoes for the last time, as the cross country season and career is over for seven members of the Arizona teams.

    Although the women’s team will only lose one runner in senior Ashley Ippolito, six seniors have run their last race for the No. 23 men’s team.

    The women’s team made it as far as regionals in the season, placing 10th, and the men’s squad placed 21st overall at the NCAA Championships.

    “”Overall, I’m really quite pleased with how each team did this year,”” UA head coach James Li said. “”Next year will be a rebuilding year, but we’ll be right back in it and very competitive again. The athletes who will be returning will be challenged to step up and be the competitive ones.””

    To fill the void of the senior runners, Li will rely heavily on new recruits.

    These recruits may hail from anywhere in the world given Li’s recruiting background.

    Senior Robert Cheseret was discovered in his hometown of Kapsabet, Kenya. Since then, he has been the star for the UA cross country team.

    He was named an All-American for the third consecutive year for his 10th-place finish at the National Championships – his fourth top-10 finish in four years.

    “”This year was very emotional knowing that next year I won’t be running in an Arizona uniform,”” Cheseret said.

    As a team, it was a fairly successful season for the Wildcat men, who took first in three of eight races this season. This was a slight downgrade from the four first-place finishes last season, but still not bad.

    The Wildcats also came in second, third, fifth and ninth in the Dave Murray Invitational, Pacific 10 Championships, NCAA Western Regional Championships and the Pre-NCAA meet, respectively.

    “”We came up a little bit short of our goal in the national championships,”” Li said. “”But to get third in the Pac-10 and make it to the nationals and finish higher than we ranked and have so many of our athletes make improvements this year, I’m very happy.””

    After the women’s team failed to qualify for the NCAA Western Regional race in 2005, the squad not only qualified this year but placed 10th.

    “”The women have made a huge improvement since last year,”” Li said. “”Our athletes performed quite well, especially toward the end of the season. We were certainly more competitive this year than we were last year.””

    Junior captain Emily McGregor had a rebuilding season after the loss of her mother and twin sister before the start of this season.

    Just as McGregor had done last year, sophomore Marissa Urban was the first Wildcat to cross the finish line in each of the five races she ran in.

    “”Emily and I are very close,”” Urban said. “”Life has thrown so much at her, and she is constantly able to throw it back and keep things moving. She’s been such an inspiration to me. She’s a great team leader and always wants what’s best for the team.””

    With the exception of Cheseret – who has used up his track eligibility – the seniors will now transition into track season.

    “”Having a good cross country season will help us confidence wise with the track season,”” senior Eric Chavez said. “”Those four years (of cross country) went by fast. Now it’s time to take care of business in track.””

    Meanwhile, Cheseret will train to compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

    “”This whole time I’ve had a great relationship with my teammates, and I will miss running with them,”” he said. “”It was wonderful.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search