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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona cross country looks to continue stride at Pre-Nationals event

The UA men’s and women’s cross country team will travel to Louisville, Kentucky, to compete in the pre-nationals meet Saturday.

This meet will be host to some of the most talented teams in the country, providing Arizona a challenge it has yet to face this season. The Wildcats will be ready to compete, as they have lately been hitting their stride.

Arizona toppled the competition in its last meet, the U of A Cross Country Twilight. The top four women’s spots were all occupied by Wildcats to go along with four top-10 finishers on the men’s side.

Leaders Molly Callahan and Collins Kibet took first and second in their respective races. This came as no surprise to head coach James Li.

“[I’m] definitely happy to see them finishing well; they’re running well,” Li said. “At the same time, it is expected. They can do better and they should be doing better.”

This upcoming meet will serve as a challenge to Kibet.

“Men’s side is a great challenge for Collins to be up there with the best runners in the country,” Li said.

The meet will be many of the team members’ first time competing with a group of this caliber—a “mega meet,” as coach Li called it.

“It’s a great place to go and is in the same place as nationals. It’s a great experience for the young runners, and they will get a chance to compete against good competition,” Li said.

The runners will be prepared, having had a good week of practice leading up to the meet.

“[Practice has] been really great, so we have to do what we are capable of doing and do what we did in practice,” Li said.

This meet marks the halfway point of the season. Li has commended his runners’ output thus far, but wants to see better performances from the whole team this week.

“All those young guys, I want to see them run better,” Li said. “In terms of the ladies, Molly, Addi [Zerrenner] and Claire [Green] are very competitive, and I think they have done a great job, and I only think that they can get better from here.”

Li said the Wildcats need to have the fourth and fifth runners come closer to the third spot.

“With that, we will have a great competitive team,” Li said.

Arizona will seek to make this improvement in the upcoming meet, a large but achievable challenge considering the level of talent in the field. The meet is set to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Follow Hunter McAdams on Twitter.

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