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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


XC looking for national bid

The UA cross-country teams are looking for at least a second place finish at this weekend’s meet in Eugene, Ore., to ensure a spot at nationals in Indiana.

At the Pacific 10 Conference championships, the women’s team was able to secure second place, beating out No. 2 Oregon but falling behind Stanford. The Wildcats will have to compete against both schools again tomorrow.

“”I think we are looking pretty good. We’ve had some good practices,”” said head coach James Li. “”We had a couple minor illnesses, flu, cold, things like that. I think we are getting over that, and hopefully it won’t impact us too much.””

Weather will also be a concern for the teams. The predicted temperature in Eugene is in the 40s this weekend with scattered showers.

Stephen Sambu has noticed the immediate weather change that the team faces when it leaves the desert.

“”It is getting a lot colder, but that doesn’t matter when we run,”” Sambu said. “”No problem when we have to warm up.””

Assistant coach Erin Dawson loves the bad weather. “”Cold weather, rain, mud, that is what makes cross-country. That’s what it’s all about.””

Despite what transpired a few weeks ago, Li was adamant that the team is not looking to redeem themselves or settle a score against Stanford after the Pac-10 championship.

“”We try to do the best job that we can do. We have made some tremendous improvements this year,”” Li said. “”I think the performance there gave us some confidence. Just the fact of knowing we can be competitive against those teams, that we can run well against some of the top competition in the country, well, that is pretty good.””

While the men’s team needs a high finish for the weekend, the women’s team is likely to receive an at-large bid.

“”For the men, as we have always said, we just want to go there and have a good race,”” Li said. “”Realistically, we are not going there looking to make it to nationals. For the women, really there is only one goal, and that is to go there and make it to nationals.””

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