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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pride on line for CC at Pac-10 Championships

    When the Arizona cross country teams compete at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships in Corvallis, Ore., tomorrow, the Wildcats will be running mostly for their pride, rather than for entrance into the NCAA Nationals on Nov. 19.

    “”(The Pac-10’s) have very little bearing for Nationals,”” said James Li, UA cross country head coach. “”They are really for bragging rights in the elite conference in the country.””

    Elite is

    The Pac-10 is unbelievably strong this year, and this will provide the opportunity for our young athletes to grow.

    -James Li,
    cross country head coach

    right, as the Pac-10 boasts three women’s teams ranked in the top five (No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Oregon, No. 5 ASU) and another in the top 10 (No. 9 Washington). On the men’s side, five squads rank among the top 25 (No. 1 Oregon, No. 8 California, No. 15 Stanford, No. 19 UCLA and No. 25 ASU).

    “”The Pac-10 is unbelievably strong this year, and this will provide the opportunity for our young athletes to grow,”” Li said.

    Li said he is looking for the women’s squad to continue to build on its strong body of work thus far. Its big three of juniors Irine Lagat and Marissa Urban and freshman Maggie Callahan have paced Arizona all season but may have been dealt a bad hand for the weekend. Urban is suffering from an illness, but is expected to be ready tomorrow.

    Regardless, the team hopes to perform well to provide positive momentum for a run at Nationals and also earn some respect among conference peers.

    “”From what I’ve heard, the team has improved a lot from last year,”” Callahan said. “”There’s a lot of pride involved, too, because the best teams in the country are in our conference.””

    But Li said he is hoping for “”good individual performances”” from the rest of the team, especially from his fourth and fifth runners, senior Angelina Cabrera and sophomore Shelly Splittberger.

    On the men’s side, Li said he wants to see his young team continue to improve.

    “”The Pac-10 is unusually strong,”” he said. “”This is a good opportunity to learn and compete with the best teams in the nation.””

    He also hopes sophomore Dylan Fitzpatrick will return to his top form after battling an illness earlier in the year.

    “”In Indiana (at the Pre-NCAA’s on Oct. 13) he looked a lot better,”” Li said. “”He has been training very well, and I am looking forward to him getting back into top form.””

    At this point in its season, the men’s team could see its return to prominence, beginning with a positive outcome in Corvallis, said junior Lou Maturo.

    “”The freshmen are developing, and we want to run this race with a lot of pride, because we have a lot to prove,”” he said.

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