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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    XC Wildcats finish 7th

    November is here and the championship part of the cross country season began with the Pacific 10 Conference Championships on Friday in Eugene, Ore.

    Both the UA men’s and women’s teams finished in seventh place in a meet that will prove to be pivotal in the hunt for an appearance in the national championship competition in Terre Haute, Ind., later this month.

    The men’s team faced very tough competition on Friday in the 8,000-meter race as the Wildcats raced against Oregon and Stanford, the top two teams in the nation, respectively, and three other teams ranked in the top 25.

    The UA men were led by sophomore Mohamud Ige, who finished in 26th place with a time of 24:30.75.

    The next Wildcat to cross the finish line was redshirt freshman Abdi Hassan, who finished in 24:38.48, good for 30th.

    Sophomore Victor Zazueta, who has been one of the top Wildcat runners all season, was the next runner to finish for Arizona. He placed 35th in 24:47.77.

    Even though the men placed in the bottom half of the competition, Zazueta said he was satisfied with the team’s performance.

    “”We are pretty pleased with how we ran because last year (we) finished in eighth, so we have definitely improved,”” Zazueta said. “”It was also the icing on the cake for us to beat ASU.””

    If the men have hopes of making it to nationals, one thing they need to work on in their next meet, the NCAA West Regional Championships in Palo Alto, Calif., is moving up a few spots in the final standings.

    “”We’re trying to do the best we can to hang in the top five spots,”” Zazueta said. “”If we can get in the top five, we can possibly get an at-large bid for nationals.””

    The UA women faced equally tough competition. They competed against four nationally ranked teams, including the No. 1 Washington and No. 2 Oregon.

    Once again, the women were led by senior Irine Lagat, who has been the first runner on the women’s team for every race during the last two seasons.

    Lagat finished 20th overall with a time of 20:45.76.

    Sophomore Maggie Callahan (37th, 21:20.13) and freshman Hanna Henson (46th, 21:30.73) were the other two Wildcats in the top 50.

    But that wasn’t enough.

    “”We weren’t really satisfied. We were trying to do well,”” Lagat said. “”We ended up in seventh, but we really hoped for sixth place. We have to work so hard, especially for regionals.””

    After their appearance in the Pac-10 Championships, Lagat said the team is ready for the West Regional Championships.

    “”The Pac-10 Championships are always a teacher about how regionals will be. I feel like somehow maybe we will do better. Everybody feels like we should have done a lot better,”” Lagat said. “”I think we have a good chance, and everybody is really strong. … The top six in the Pac-10 usually go to nationals, so we’re obviously shooting for that. Things are looking good.””

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