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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    CC teams open season in Flagstaff

    The Arizona men and women’s cross country teams will break in their backups when they travel to Flagstaff tomorrow to compete in the George Kyte Classic.

    As in the past, the teams will hold back their more accomplished runners for the first meet, which allows the less-experienced athletes the opportunity to compete in a NCAA Division-I event.

    “”We want to give our young guys a chance to race,”” UA track coach Fred Harvey said of the men’s squad. “”Get them up there, get them developing and start meshing as a unit. This meet is designed more as a training meet.””

    Harvey has entered eight athletes in the event: Mike Armon, Spencer Carter, Reed Blochberger, Zach Hauer, Mark Molera, Carlos Rybeck, Victor Zazueta and junior Lou Maturo, the only non-freshman running in the event.

    Dylan Fitzpatrick, the team’s No. 1 runner, is not scheduled tocompete.

    “”I’m really nervous,”” Carter said. “”This is the big show, you know. This isn’t high school anymore. It’s different; its gonna be a fun time with the team. We’re a really young team, and we are looking to prove some people wrong.””

    The added elevation in Flagstaff can be a factor for runners, as the city, at 7,000 feet, stands nearly three times as high as Tucson (2,600 feet).

    “”I’ve been down here for about two weeks, and I’ve started to naturalize to the elevation here,”” said Carter, who is from Colorado. “”But I’m used to the mountainous terrain because we had a few of those (at home).””

    Harvey said that he and cross country head coach James Li are looking to see how mentally tough their athletes are, “”especially in the middle of a race that is gonna be up at altitude.””

    “”(This meet) is gonna be a great opportunity to see how our athletes prepare,”” Harvey added. “”The goal isn’t necessarily winning or losing, but to see how they come together as a unit and what they are able to do in terms of understanding the attitude of running a Division-I meet, because the intensity level is different in the beginning … of the race and especially in the middle of the race where psychologically it starts to hurt.””

    On the women’s side, only six runners will compete. Juniors Angela Farr and Melissa Urban, sophomores Shelly Splittberger and Tiffany Sorrell and freshmen Maggie Callahan and Kassidy Rede are all slated to run in an event that also includes NAU, ASU, Grand

    Canyon State and community colleges such as Pima and Scottsdale.

    Irine Lagat, the team’s top runner, is not going to run. Harvey had originally planned to sit Urban as well, but because “”we are only going to run six ladies, and since we need five for scoring, if one drops out, we can’t count the meet,”” he said.

    “”I feel pretty good,”” Urban said of the meet. “”It will give us a good chance to see how our summer training has gone, and give us an analysis of what we need to do later in the season.””

    Urban is looking to see how her teammates can adjust to Flagstaff’s altitude.

    “”It will definitely have an effect,”” she said. “”But I’m from Colorado, which was at 8,500 feet, so I’m kind of used to it. But nothing can really prepare you for it. It’s just something that you have to suffer through.””

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