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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

XC runs to mixed results

There were two vastly different reactions from head coach James Li when talking about the women’s and men’s cross-country teams during their weekend at pre-nationals.

The pre-nationals take place at the same venue for the national meet in Terre Haute, Ind. The No. 6 women’s team is destined for a strong showing at nationals, so it tried to get comfortable in the surroundings. It took second place in a field of 38 teams in a 6,000-meter race. Arizona fell behind No. 3 Florida State by 13 points. According to Li the results could have easily flipped between UA and Florida State.

“”Very good, I think our women did really well,”” Li said. “”Probably what we expected and what we would think. If we go there and do our job and do a good job, that’s probably what we would do.””

The team was led by Hannah Moen as she placed 11th for the Wildcats. Moen was followed by Elvin Kibet and Jennifer Bergman, who placed 20th and 21st respectively.

“”I still think we have some room for improvement,”” said assistant coach Erin Dawson. “”We had four girls run pretty well, we just got to have our fifth runner closer to our fourth runner.””

That fourth runner was Megan Meyer and she received a lot of praise from the coaching staff as she placed 25th.

“”Megan (Meyer) is probably the most consistent runner on the team,”” Dawson said. “”She is just one of those runners where every race you know exactly what you are going to get out of her.””

Meyer has been overshadowed at points this season by Moen, Kibet and Bergman, but has consistently found herself at the front of the pack and gaining points for UA.

“”The course we ran this weekend will be the same exact course we will run at nationals,”” Meyer said. “”It gave us the opportunity to race the course again and get us a feel for the bigger meets with a lot of teams. It was a good experience and should prepare us for nationals.””

The story was different when Li commented on what the men did this weekend in Indiana.

“”Not good, not good,”” Li said. “”Our guys got to really find their rhythm and find their own place. Being overshadowed by the women may not be a very easy thing for them. I just know they are better than what they have shown this weekend.””

The men’s team as they placed 34th out of 35 teams. Top runner Stephen Sambu was hampered this week with a lower leg injury and did not run.

The frustration could be heard in the voices of the coaching staff as they tried to describe how the men performed this weekend.

“”I don’t know if there is anything we can do in practice,”” Li said. “”They just need to find their rhythm.””

The teams will have a bye week this weekend before they head to Washington to compete in the Pacific 10 Conference championships. Dawson is hoping that the men will “”get a little fire in their bellies.””

“”After this race I think they should be a little embarrassed about how they ran and hopefully they come out at Pac-10’s,”” Dawson said. “”They definitely have a shot of going at Washington, ASU and Washington State. Those are three teams that I think we should be able to beat. Hopefully they will be able to put it together that day and get it done.””

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