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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA cross country strong in opener

    After a very long and drained-out offseason, the UA men’s and women’s cross country teams opened up the 2008 season at the George Kyte Invitational in Flagstaff on Saturday.

    Even after just one race, things are looking positive for both UA squads.

    The men’s team finished third behind first-place NAU and second-place ASU and was led by sophomore Reed Blochberger, who finished in sixth place in the 8,000-meter race with a time of 20:18.70.

    “”Reed is showing great improvement from last year,”” said UA Headcoach James Li. The second runner to cross the finish line for the men’s squad was sophomore Tanner Carothers who placed ninth in 27:27.20.

    The women’s team finished in second place despite competing without one of its best runners, senior Irine Lagat.

    According to Li, it was not important for Lagat to run in the race because it’s not scored by the NCAA.

    “”It was the first race of the season and a meet like this doesn’t really have an effect on the season,”” said Li. “”It’s more important for her to get some training instead.””

    In Lagat’s absence, freshman Hannah Moen stepped up and became the team’s frontrunner. In the first race of her college career – which was a homecoming of sorts, as she hails from Flagstaffÿ- Moen finished in second place with a time of 18:33.70 in the 5,000-meter race and helped the Wildcats place second behind NAU.

    Li said he was very pleased with Moen’s performance and referred to her as one of the team’s MVPs this weekend.

    Overall, Li is expecting nothing short of a successful season out of both the men’s and women’s teams this year.

    “”I expect us to run very well. We have three or four top runners on each side,”” he said, pointing to the fact that both teams are mostly made up of young runners.

    The men’s team is still young, so there could possibly be a shift in leadership, but the women’s team is well-balanced, Li added.

    The cross country teams have 13 days of rest between races, and their next meet is September 19 at the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson, which is the Wildcats’ only home meet of the season.

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