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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Cheseret 10th, but cross country stumbles at nationals”

    By no means was it a banner performance as a team, but Arizona cross country senior Robert Cheseret stood out from the rest of the Wildcats.

    Surprise, surprise.

    Leading the No. 23 Wildcat men, who finished 21st out of 31 teams in the NCAA Championships yesterday in Terre Haute, Ind., Cheseret placed 10th overall out of 250 runners. He finished the 10-kilometer race with a time of 31:09.3.

    He was named an All-American for his performance, the third All-American award in as many years for the Wildcat prodigy.

    “”He ran very well, and he ran with some guts,”” said UA head coach James Li. “”He’s finished his career as one of the very best distance runners U of A has ever had.””

    Cheseret has now finished in the top 10 at nationals in the last four years, finishing ninth, 10th and sixth in 2003, ’04 and ’05, respectively.

    But such a notable performance seems insignificant, seeing as none of his six teammates finished in the top 100.

    After placing 10th nationally last year, Li said before the meet he would like his team to finish in the top 15 this year, but his squad missed that goal by six spots.

    “”We were consistent all season,”” Li said. “”I can’t say that I’m satisfied, but it’s not a disaster. I really, really believe that our team could have done better.””

    Outside of Cheseret’s finish, the rest of the squad ran “”mediocre,”” Li said.

    Senior Obed Mutanya finished 102nd overall. Following Mutanya was senior Moses Mpanga (144th), junior Chris Ogle (199th), senior Eric Chavez (207th), sophomore Jason Colativo (216th) and senior Kenny Frank (233rd).

    There were many possible factors for the low finishes for each individual, Ogle said.

    “”Some people probably didn’t like the cold so much,”” he said. “”Some people may have had a different response to the training we had in the last couple of weeks. It could have been nerves. It could have been how fast they got out. It’s just a tricky thing, all the components that go into it.””

    While Arizona scored 517 team points, national-champion Colorado totaled a sparkling 94. No. 7 Stanford led all Pacific 10 Conference squads by finishing fourth overall (195 points), and the Cardinal were closely followed by No. 5 Oregon, who finished fifth (196 points).

    “”I think we’re all a little disappointed,”” Ogle said. “”We placed higher than we were ranked, but I think everyone expected a better finish with all the strong runners we have.””

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