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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Cross country runs middle of the Pac

Michael+Ignatov+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AUniversity+of+Arizona+hosts+the+Dave+Murray+Invitational+cross+country+meet+at+Dell+Urich+Golf+Course%2C+Tucson%2C+Ariz.%2C+September+18%2C+2009.
Michael Ignatov
Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona hosts the Dave Murray Invitational cross country meet at Dell Urich Golf Course, Tucson, Ariz., September 18, 2009.

The UA women’s and men’s cross country teams finished sixth and eighth, respectively, at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships in Long Beach, Calif., this weekend.

The No. 17 women’s team put together a solid team performance, but in an extremely close and competitive race, it was unable to catapult its way into the top five.

“”We were right in there,”” said junior Maggie Callahan, the women’s top runner. “”Any small difference could have put us into fourth. Certainly disappointing, but it was not a bad race at all.””

Saying the race was close is an understatement, as the difference between third and sixth place was 34 seconds.

Third-place ASU finished with a team average only seven seconds faster than the Wildcats.

Despite the disappointing finish, the women’s team was very consistent, with all five girls finishing in fewer than 21 minutes.

Callahan was the team’s top finisher, placing 14th after a 20:26.59 performance. Following Callahan were freshmen Lauren Smith and Jennifer Bergman. Bergman finished the meet in 26th at 20:42.68 and Smith crossed the finish line three seconds later.

Sophomore Hanna Henson and freshman Liz Apgar rounded out Arizona’s top five, placing 30th and 33rd, respectively.

“”The goal for the team was to make sure we could keep everyone in sight, because we run really well together,”” Callahan said. “”We did that pretty well, we just needed everyone to be up a little bit more.””

Although they only improved one spot from last year’s seventh-place finish, head coach James Li is pleased with the progress he has seen.

“”We still finished sixth, but I’m really proud and happy with how the ladies ran,”” Li said. “”The one-place improvement does not give the picture of how much better our team is. This team is vastly, vastly better than last year’s.””

Unlike the women’s squad, the UA men’s team didn’t perform any better than their eighth-place finish suggests. While most of the runners were solid, a few disappointing finishes set the team back.

“”I was definitely hoping we would have done better, because we could have been better for sure,”” Li said. “”It was just some key people that were not running very well and it cost us badly.””

Redshirt junior Mohamud Ige performed well for the Wildcats, finishing 20th in a time of 23:47.96. But outside of Ige’s solid performance, the team left much to be desired.

Senior Dylan Fitzpatrick crossed the finish line next for the Wildcats, placing 40th. Fellow senior Brian MacArthur crossed the line ten seconds after Fitzpatrick, in 24:38.24.

Freshman Noe Ramirez and sophomore Abdi Hassan were the final UA athletes to cross the line, finishing 52nd and 56th respectively.

The team hopes to bounce back in two weeks when they head to Oregon for the NCAA West Regional Championships.

“”I’m very optimistic with this team, and I think we can do better yet,”” Li said. “”Our goal is obviously to get to the top five, and more importantly get a large bid to nationals. We’ve got to get it done in two weeks.””

 

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