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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cross country teams beat rivals in season opener

    Arizona’s men’s and women’s cross country teams started the 2006 season on a good note, as both teams captured first place at the George Kyte Classic in Flagstaff on Saturday.

    The men’s team scored 40 points, speeding past NAU (61) and ASU (74) among others.

    Because the NCAA doesn’t count meet scores until the final weekend in September, UA head coach James Li said he didn’t run any of his “”top runners”” but instead gave the less-experienced runners some competition time.

    “”This race was pretty low-key,”” Li said. “”It has no impact on the rest of the season. A win is a win, though.””

    Junior Ben Eid finished the 8,000-meter race first for the men’s team, placing fifth overall with a time of 26:23.2.

    “”He did well for his first race in a Wildcats uniform,”” Li said of Eid, who ran two seasons of cross country at Pima Community College. “”It definitely gets me excited about what he could do for us in the future in more important meets.””

    Eid was followed closely by his teammates sophomore Jason Colavito, who placed eighth overall with a time of 26:31.2, senior Ryan Ludwig (ninth, 26:32.5), freshman Brian MacArthur (21st, 27:13.8), and sophomore Lou Maturo (22nd, 27:18.8).

    Eid said that along with being close in time, the team is pretty close off the course as well.

    “”The team chemistry is really strong,”” he said. “”We had this whole weekend to get together and bond. We’re still getting to know each other, but this early in the season, we’re pretty close.””

    Speaking of being close, the women’s team just edged NAU 42 points to 45. ASU followed with 63 points.

    The team chemistry is really strong. We had this whole weekend to get together and bond. We’re still getting to know each other, but this early in the season, we’re pretty close.– Ben Eid, cross country junior

    The team was led by a pair of freshmen: Adele Keating, who placed eighth overall in the 5,000m race with a time of 18:56.7, and Tiffany Sorrell (ninth, 19:05).

    “”It’s a good feeling,”” Keating said. “”I really surprised myself. I didn’t think I would do that well.””

    Like the men’s team, the top five runners of the women’s squad all finished within about a minute of each other. Sophomore Shelly Splittberger came in 12th with a time of 19:25.7, followed by sophomores Angela Farr (13, 19:28.7) and Staci Ulibarri (21, 19:59.4).

    “”It was fun having my teammates right behind me, right with me the whole way,”” Keating said.

    Li said that having both teams finish this close is the aspect he likes the most, and he feels that the results of this race are a good indication of what will happen the remainder of the season.

    “”Cross country is a team sport,”” he said. “”In order for the team(s) to succeed we need to have five runners running well. It’s what we call running as a group.

    “”I’m very pleased with the results of this race.””

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