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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Ige earns individual honors in NCAAs

As the men’s NCAA Cross Country National Championships began wrapping up in Terre Haute, Ind., yesterday, the sun started shining from behind the clouds. It served as a fitting finish for a newly crowned All-American Mohamud Ige who finished on a high note with 38th place in the field, earning him All-American honors.

“”I’m just really proud of him,”” said head cross-country coach James Li. “”He is starting to realize his potential. I think he can get better but nonetheless, we’re very, very happy at what he’s achieved at the very end of the season.””

“”And if you think of it in relative terms, he’s done better every race,”” Li added. “”We definitely knew he could do it, but when you come and actually get it done, that’s special.””

Coming off a 20th place finish at the Pacific 10 Conference Meet and an ninth place finish at the West Region Meet, Ige was primed for a successful end to his season after struggling through injury for the majority of the year.

With a time of 30:19.4 for his 10,000-meter race, the junior finished a little under three minutes off of first place and beat out 174 other runners.

On the No. 28 women’s side though, it was a race of surprises. The crowd at hand saw the overwhelming favorite and 2008 Olympian from Colorado collapse halfway through the race. While nothing to that extent happened to the Wildcats, the surprises trickled down and Arizona finished 30th out of 31 teams.

“”It was not a very good performance,”” Li said. “”But I was trying to tell the girls to keep their heads up and while we’re not happy about our performance here, I’m still very proud of them for making it here and for what they’ve achieved.””

For the first time this season, junior runner Maggie Callahan was not the first runner across the line for Arizona. That spot was filled by standout freshman Jennifer Bergman, who finished 138th overall with a time of 21:34.5 for a 6,000-meter race.

“”I was pretty excited to be the first one to finish,”” Bergman said. “”I started out pretty slow, but I definitely picked it up near the end. It was definitely a lot different than what I was used to with so many fast runners.””

The difference between Bergman and Callahan, the second Arizona runner to cross, was a mere three seconds. Callahan finished 147th. The next woman across the line was freshman Cami Jackson, in 156th with a time of 21:42.6.

Freshman Liz Apgar came through next at 197th in 22:03.4 and sophomore Hanna Henson rounded out the team’s top five finishers two seconds later with a finish in 201st place. In all, there were 254 women in the race.

“”I think we’re going to learn a lot from it,”” Callahan said. “”We can’t just be happy that we’re here. We have to make an impact next year.””

“”It just kind of sucks to end on this note,”” she added, “”but for the whole season, we have a great sense of accomplishment.””

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