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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona women’s cross country No. 2 in national poll

Arizona Daily Wildcat File Photo Elvin Kibet

Following a first place finish at the Greater Louisville Classic, the Arizona women’s cross country team is ranked No. 2 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association national poll — behind Florida State — and No. 1 in the West region.

On Saturday, the Wildcats defeated three higher ranked opponents, including then-No. 1 University of Washington. The Wildcats moved up 10 spots in the national poll and four spots in the regional poll.

“It’s gratifying for us to be No. 2 right now,” head coach James Li said in a press release. “It’s nice that they are talking about us but we have a long way to go.”

The Pac-12 is well represented in the top 30. Washington, Oregon and Stanford sit in the top 10 at third, fourth and seventh place respectively, and Colorado fell to No. 18. Arizona was the only school in the Pac-12 this week to improve on its rankings.

“They’ve started recognizing us,” Li said. “It doesn’t mean anything other than they are talking about us right now.”

The No. 2 national and No. 1 regional ranking is an improvement from last season’s rankings at this time. In the 2011 week four poll, the UA women ranked No. 14 nationally and No. 4 regionally, and they finished the season ranked No. 19.

“However, I’m extremely proud of those young ladies for improving so much this year,” Li said. “It’s basically the same group from last year and they have improved so much.”

Arizona junior Elvin Kibet was the overall winner for Saturday’s race. With the victory, Kibet is a favorite in the competition for an individual national title.

“We’re very happy and satisfied to see the ladies working hard in every way and we can see the improvement,” Li said.

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