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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cross country team to use ASU Invitational to train

    After having a two-week competitive sabbatical since the Roy Griak Invitational, Arizona’s No. 5 men’s cross country team – which recently moved up in the rankings from No. 8 – and the unranked women’s squad are well-rested for tomorrow’s meet at the ASU Invitational in Tempe.

    “”I don’t think it’s going to be a too terribly important meet,”” UA head coach James Li said, “”but in terms of training, it is very important.””

    This is because both teams will withhold their top runners in this race in order to prepare them for the Pre-NCAA meet next Saturday. In turn, that will ultimately lead up to the Pacific 10 Championships scheduled for Oct. 28.

    “”We’re using this as a training weekend for the freshmen and the younger runners to get a little more race experience,”” said senior Ashley Ippolito, who will not run tomorrow. “”These last two weeks (those of us who will compete next week) have done hard workouts, and in place of the ASU meet we’ll get another solid weekend of training in without worrying about going out to race.””

    The Wildcats hope to do as well as they did last year at the ASU Invitational, whether it is for training purposes or because they are competing against their rivals.

    Arizona’s women’s team placed first in the 5-kilometer race, scoring 36 points. Ippolito led the Wildcats with a sixth-place overall finish with a time of 19:11 and all seven of the team’s runners placed in the top 25.

    But just as things will be done this year, the top runners in then-sophomore Emily McGregor and then-senior Fanice Chepkorir were held out last year to focus on training for the Pre-NCAA meet the following week.

    Preserving the team’s top seven runners for the same reason, the men’s team finished second last year with 55 points to ASU’s 45.

    “”We are still going to consider it a big meet,”” said senior Robert Cheseret, who will also sit out of this event. “”It’s a small race but very important for our other runners. Plus, we are facing our rivals, and we always want to do well against them.””

    Even running their B teams, the host of this race should present a challenge to the Wildcats.

    Despite ASU’s men’s team dropping out of the top 25 rankings from No. 20, their women’s team has improved from No. 9 to No. 8.

    Regardless of who they are facing, Li has put emphasis on this being a training meet for the runners with the least experience.

    “”In cross country,”” he said, “”everything is driven by how to qualify and score points to get the team qualified for the nationals. Winning against ASU would be great because of rivalry reasons, but it doesn’t help us much in the long run.

    “”We just need to run well at the regionals.””

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