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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats headed to Pac-12 Championships

Zi Yang Lai

Collins Kibet (17) runs the course at the 2015 Dave Murray Invitational on Friday, Sept. 18. The junior from Kenya will compete in his third Pac-12 Cross Country Championships this week.

The Arizona men’s and women’s cross-country teams will be traveling to Colfax, Washington, to compete in the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships. The championships will take place Friday and will be hosted by Washington State at the Colfax Golf Club.

Arizona associate head coach James Li said he is looking forward to the event and knows his team is prepared heading into the meet.

“We’ve been training pretty hard this week,” Li said. “We have a few more days to go until the Pac-12 Championships and if our kids can keep improving, we’ll be okay.”

The Pac-12 Championships will arguably be the most competitive meet the Wildcats have competed in this season, since the Pac-12 Conference is one of the best conferences in the nation when it comes to cross-country.

Li was asked early in the season about the level of competition in the Pac-12.

“The Pac-12 is really, really great,” Li said. “We repeatedly have five teams in the top 25 in the country. The Pac-12 is the most competitive conference in the country.”

Li said this at the beginning of September, and he was correct. There are currently six Pac-12 men’s teams and five women’s teams in the top 25.

The Arizona runners have been keying in on their all-season main focus in preparation for the Pac-12 Championships.

“The main focus is for each runner to make improvements,” Li said. “Cross-country boils down to individual performances. If everyone runs faster, then the team will do better.”

This is exactly what the Arizona runners will look to do Friday.

Among those runners is Collins Kibet, who placed 30th in the men’s 8K at the Pac-12 Championships last year.

Kibet will look to run with the top of the pack, as he has been showcasing his ability as Arizona’s best runner this season. He holds the men’s best time for the four-mile race and the 8K this year.

Kibet and the men’s team will have to go against some of the nation’s best competition. Colorado is currently No. 1 in the men’s top 25 and Oregon is not far behind, ranked No. 3.

For the men’s teams, UCLA is No. 15 in the country, Washington is No. 20, California is No. 21 and Stanford is No. 23.

The Pac-12 has half of its men’s teams ranked in the top 25, which just goes to show what the caliber of competition is.

Addi Zerrenner, Molly Callahan and Claire Green will look to help Arizona place high in the women’s meet.

Callahan placed 34th overall and Green placed 81st at the Pac-12 Championships last year. Zerrenner was a redshirt last year and did not compete.

The women’s team will also be facing tough competition with Colorado’s women listed as No. 3 in the country and Oregon’s women at No. 5.

Stanford is No. 10, Washington is No. 12 and Utah rounds out the Pac-12’s top 25 showcase on the women’s side, ranked No. 19 in the country.

The Pac-12 Cross Country Championships will be televised on Pac-12 Networks at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

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