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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona cross-country’s young runners race at GCU

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Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily WIldcat

The Arizona men and women’s cross-country teams will stay close to home this weekend, competing on Saturday in the Grand Canyon University Invitational in Goodyear, Ariz.

“This weekend is more of a time trial for our newer runners. We’re not going to try to win so our top runners will not be competing,” said associate head coach James Li.

Despite freshman Lawi Lalang’s record-setting 8,000-meter performance and junior Jen Bergman’s third-place finish in the 6,000-meter race at the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn., last week, both the men and women’s teams dropped in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) rankings. The women dropped one spot to No. 4 in the West Region rankings and are No. 14 in the nation while the unranked men dropped five spots to No. 14 in the region.

“The competition is a little tougher this year,” Li said, “but this weekend is a small meet. We will have about seven or eight female runners and five or six male runners.”

The women will start off with the 5,000-meter race scheduled to start at 8 a.m. followed by the men’s 8,000-meter race at 8:45 a.m.

With a lull in the competition this week, the UA’s top runners will train and prepare for the following week’s Wisconsin Adidas Invitational taking place on Oct. 14 in Madison, Wisc. As it’s one of the biggest meets of the year with 38 teams competing, all runners will be expected to compete at the highest level.

“Next week’s race and this week’s race is like comparing a high school game to a Final Four,” Li said. “You just can’t speak of them in the same terms.”

_— Emi Komiya _

Offseason changes not affecting women’s swim’s desire to be the best

First-year coach Eric Hansen debuts at Hillenbrand Aquatic Center

The Arizona women’s swimming and diving team begins its season Saturday against the Kansas Jayhawks at the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center with one thing in mind.

“Our goal is always a national championship,” said first-year assistant Geoff Hanson.

Leading the way for the Wildcats is senior captain Alyssa Anderson, who is coming off her best season yet. Anderson will be relied on to set the example for the rest of the women on the team, and has no problem with that responsibility.

“As the captain, I just want to lead by example. It’s my last year, and I want to go out with a bang, and have fun most importantly,” she said.

Although she is the leader of the team, the coaching staff is proud of the team Anderson has behind her. The Wildcats had two female swimmers in addition to Anderson — sophomore Margo Geer, and junior Ellyn Baumgardner — invited to the Pan-American games, an international multi-sport event that is held in Mexico each fall.

The meet this weekend will be a huge test for not only the swim team, but the new coaching staff as well. Head coach and Arizona alum Eric Hansen recognizes the challenges that await the team, and he embraces them.

“We need to refine some things and race sharp, even though we are implementing a new system,” Hansen said. “Relays are our focal point. We’ve put some together that are going to give us a chance to win.”

The coaching change has not affected Anderson, whose focus has not wavered.

“Winning is still the focus,” she said. “We need to race well, and the first one is always difficult. It’s just about making sure our hand is on the wall first.”

— Cameron Moon

Men’s tennis travels to N.M. for invitational

Chen, Bermudez, Chou, and Pigou compete in 2011 Balloon Fiesta Invitational

Four players from the Arizona Wildcats men’s tennis team will participate in the 2011 Balloon Fiesta Invitational this weekend in Albuquerque, N.M. All matches will be held at Linda Estes Tennis Complex. The tournament begins today at 9 a.m. and continues through Sunday.

Representing the Wildcats is junior Frank Chen and three freshmen in Carlos Bermudez, Robin Chou and Mike Pigou.

“The competition is regionally pretty strong,” said head coach Tad Berkowitz. “It will be an opportunity for our guys to show what they can bring to the program this fall.”

The Wildcats’ opponents this weekend include tournament host University of New Mexico, NAU, New Mexico State University, Air Force, Western New Mexico, Colorado State-Pueblo and New Mexico Military Institute.

The 2011 Balloon Fiesta Invitational marks the third tournament of the Wildcats’ season.

Prior to this tournament, Chen, Bermudez and Chou participated in the 2011 Aggie Fall Invitational.

— Iman Hamdan

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