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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Cheseret places 2nd, but squad finishes 9th”

    Arizona senior Robert Cheseret placed second at the Pre-NCAA Meet Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., but the Wildcats’ No. 5 men’s cross country team finished in just ninth place with 293 points at Indiana State, while the women’s squad placed 34th.

    “”As a team, we were all pretty disappointed in our performance,”” said senior Eric Chavez, who placed 130th with a time of 25:03. “”We let some teams beat us that probably shouldn’t have.””

    The UA men’s team was part of the “”blue team”” race, which was composed of 36 teams in the event split into two men’s, two women’s and two open races with the more than 150 teams that competed. No. 24 Colorado placed first with 75 points, followed by No. 1 Florida State (141) and No. 9 North Carolina State (152).

    “”There’s nothing to congratulate,”” UA head coach James Li said. “”It’s really not that great. We certainly didn’t run very well (as a team).””

    Still, Cheseret came in second out of 243 runners in the 8-kilometer race with a time of 23:36.2, trailing the winner, senior Martin Fagan from Providence College, by 5.9 seconds. Senior Obed Mutanya took fourth place with a time of 23:44.6, while seniors Moses Mpanga (60th, 24:34.3), Kenny Frank (101st, 24:53.2) and junior Chris Ogle (126th, 25:00.8) rounded off the competition for the Wildcats.

    “”Our front runners did well,”” Li said, “”but our other (runners) just got overwhelmed a little bit.””

    As the Wildcats have proven, practice most certainly does not always make perfect.

    “”We’re not racing like we’re training, which is hurting us the most,”” Chavez said.

    Arizona’s unranked women’s team was part of the 6K “”white team”” race, which consisted of 37 teams.

    The Wildcats finished with 857 points, as No. 19 North Carolina State took first (117), followed by No. 10 Michigan (176) and Wisconsin (176).

    “”This was definitely a wake-up call, “” said redshirt freshman Marissa Urban, who led the Wildcats, finishing 57th out of 253 competitors with a time of 21:19.2. “”It was a huge shock and disappointment for us,”” she said, “”because we do have so much talent on the team.””

    Urban did well leading the older runners, Li said.

    “”She is running right where we think she should be running,”” he said. “”She certainly has been training well, and we definitely think she is capable of running at that level.””

    Also scoring points for the team were sophomore Danelle Onate (181st, 21:29.6), junior Emily McGregor (197th, 22:40.6), senior Ashley Ippolito (210th, 22:52) and freshman Tiffany Sorrell (212th, 22.53.7).

    Sophomore Shelly Splittberger (217th, 22:57.7) and junior Angelina Cabrera (228th, 23:13) also competed for Arizona.

    “”The challenge for us is how to get the rest of the team to run close to Marissa,”” Li said. “”Both (assistant) coach Amy (Wilson) and I really believe that they have the ability.””

    As for McGregor, who had only competed in one race prior to this one, the team captain is showing signs of improvement after struggling to come back as strong as she was last season in her first race. McGregor was the first Wildcat to cross the finish line in every race in which she competed last season.

    “”I think she did a lot better compared to the other race she competed in earlier this year,”” said Li of the Roy Griak Invitational, in which McGregor placed 162nd out of 288, with a time of 24:25. “”She is making progress and definitely coming back and showing strong signs of improvement.””

    Improvement needs to be a theme for both teams to do well in future races, Li said.

    “”The competition will get a lot steeper in the next two or three races,”” Li said. “”But I remain confident in our teams.””

    Urban said the team needs to translate its great practice days into competitive races.

    “”How we did was not a representation of our talent level,”” she said.

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