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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

XC runs to Gopher country

The UA men’s cross-country team will have to compete against 15 other programs, and the women will have to fend off 26 other programs this weekend in Minnesota.

The Roy Griak Invitational will take place at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course. The teams are hoping to continue their success from last weekend when a UA runner won individually for both the men and women.

5 Keys for a successful weekend

Ladies dominating

Hannah Moen broke the tape last week for the ‘Cats a full eight seconds before her closest competition. Eight of the top-10 finishers wore Wildcat red and blue. Head coach James Li expects a lot from the team, but this week his goal will be more realistic.

“”For sure it is not going to be as dominant as last week,”” Li said. “”Just because the meet is going to be so much bigger, there are so many more teams. This is one of the premiere meets in the country. I think we will do very well, but we are not going to be dominating.””

Stephen Sambu

The first-year Wildcat shined in his first meet last week, taking first place and beating out Bernard Lagat and former UA All-American Mohamud Ige.

“”He is doing great. There is a reason he is one of the best in the nation,”” Li said. “”Absolutely, I think he can win every time he runs.””

The pack

The rest of the team struggled to keep up with junior phenom Stephen Sambu last week. Li said that rest of the pack needs to decrease the gap in order to be successful in future tournaments, especially in regards to extremely large meets like the one they will be competing in tomorrow.

“”As a team, what we are working on right now is bringing everybody up,”” said freshman Patrick Zacharias. “”We want to bring our two through five runners up to close that gap because there are a lot of points that can be gained if we move up the pack.

“”We are trying to close the gap meet by meet with Stephen, but we kind of know that he is going to be way far up there at the top because he is going to be going for the win.””

Patrick Zacharias

In only his first year at Arizona, Zacharias is already proving that he is one of the top-three runners on the roster. Zacharias was the second Wildcat to cross the finish line last weekend, earning 11th place.

“”When I first got here I didn’t know how much impact I would have,”” Zacharias said. “”I was hoping to have some impact, I put in the work over the summer, and so far it has paid off.””

Elvin Kibet

In her first race, Elvin Kibet finished in first place, and in her second race she got fourth place. This is after coming to the UA after moving from Kenya and never participating in a cross-country meet before.

“”She was learning so much when she first got here,”” said assistant coach Erin Dawson. “”She is just awesome, awesome runner and person.””

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