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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Kristina Aubert brings leadership to desert

Arizona+redshirt+senior+Kristina+Aubert+crosses+the+finish+line%2C+winning+first+place+in+the+three-mile+race+with+a+time+of+16%3A40.00+on+Sept.+19+during+the+2014+Dave+Murray+Invitational+at+Del+Urich+Golf+Course.+Aubert+transferred+from+Arkansas+State+and+has+adjusted+well+to+her+new+team+and+college.
Cecilia Alvarez

Arizona redshirt senior Kristina Aubert crosses the finish line, winning first place in the three-mile race with a time of 16:40.00 on Sept. 19 during the 2014 Dave Murray Invitational at Del Urich Golf Course. Aubert transferred from Arkansas State and has adjusted well to her new team and college.

Every out-of-state student knows the feeling: a brisk walk outdoors turns into a sweat sauna fueled by the relentless Arizona sun. Air conditioning and a cold bottle of water take on a new meaning. All those hyperbolic sayings about the desert heat are, in fact, true.

For cross country athlete Kristina Aubert, this realization didn’t occur to her while on a nice stroll on the UA Mall, but, rather, on a strenuous run during her first morning in Tucson.

“Even at 9 a.m., I learned that it’s very hot here in early August,” Aubert said.

The Crystal Lake, Ill., native has adjusted to her new home quite nicely since that sweltering first day.

A senior transfer from Arkansas State, Aubert chose the UA for its competitive women’s cross country team, as well as the school’s public health program.

“I love everything about Tucson,” Aubert said. “It’s so pretty here in the fall, and all the athletic resources are like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

After running against lower-level competition at Arkansas State, Aubert is now part of a team that is coming off a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships last season. It will be tough for the Wildcats to repeat their postseason success, but Aubert’s early-season performances give head coach James Li optimism that the women can return to the same level.

“She has had one of the most successful transitions I’ve seen,” Li said. “Certainly, she is very helpful to our team, being our number one runner.”

In Aubert’s first meet as a Wildcat up in Flagstaff, Ariz., she blew away the field, topping the next closest runner by 12 seconds. Two weeks later in Tucson, Aubert dominated again, winning a three-mile race by over 40 seconds.

And in a far more competitive race two weeks ago in Virginia, Aubert finished second out of 85 runners.

“I’m definitely surprised,” Aubert said. “I guess I didn’t realize how good of shape I was in until we started racing.”

Aubert’s early season success stems from a unique dichotomy. As a fifth-year senior taking only three graduate classes, she has little academic stress, allowing her to focus heavily on running.

Yet, Aubert’s daily routine can’t be too stress-free, as she and her teammates run at 6 a.m. each morning with weight-room sessions later in the day.

“Right now, practices are very intense,” Aubert said. “We most of all want to stay in good shape and be healthy.”

If they do so, Aubert said she believes the women will make the strides to return to last season’s elite level.“We’re going to be competitive at nationals,” Aubert said. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”

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