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Women keep up Championship pace, men slide at Pac-10's

By Dan Komyati

Tuesday October 30, 2001

The UA women's cross country team's season has been a model of consistency. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for their male counterparts.

This past weekend, while the women hit their stride and finished second at the Pac-10 Championships, the men's squad struggled to run together and slipped to a fourth-place finish.

Trailing only national power Stanford, the women were led by another dominant performance by Tara Chaplin. The Pac-10 Champion from a year ago, Chaplin managed a third-place finish with a time of 20:19.6.

"I'm happy because I gave it everything I had. The girls I was racing were very fast in the end," Chaplin said. "It was great to win last year. I would have loved to repeat, but I knew there was a strong possibility that I would get passed by those girls."

Following closely behind Chaplin for the third meet in a row were teammates Beth Hoge and Erin Doherty. Hoge finished 12th in 21:22.4, while Doherty followed in 13th in 21:25.3. Rounding out the top five for the Wildcats were Jennifer Burris (15th, 21:38.2) and Kim Bates (21st, 22:00.8).

The Wildcats' sixth runner, Nicole Gurnicz , finished 25th in 22:06.3. In her first race since coming back from a hip injury, senior Abby Peters began the race, but was unable to finish due to the intense heat.

UA head coach Dave Murray was once again left very satisfied with the performance of his women's team.

"I thought we did exactly what we were supposed to do in beating ASU," Murray said. "Overall, it was a great team performance. Tara was outstanding. She pushed the pace really hard, and five other girls really ran solid."

The effort of the Arizona women's team came after a difficult morning run by the Wildcat men.

In the eight-team field, UA finished fourth behind three other teams battling for NCAA Championship berths.

"On the men's side, we were all very disappointed," Murray said. "If we ran like we did two weeks ago, we could have finished second, but no one was going to beat Stanford.

"Though four guys ran well, there were three key performers that we missed (Saturday)."

Leading the Wildcats for the second time this season was junior Kyle Goklish, who finished 10th overall in 25:00.1.

Mike Cramer and Mark Anderson finished 13th and 14th, respectively. Cramer finished in 25:01.3, and Anderson came in at 25:03.7. Matt McInvale finished 28th for the Cats in 25:45.6. Tom Prindiville was 31st in 25:51.7. Also competing for the Wildcats were Steve Smith (36th, 26:03.6) and Kevin Engelhardt (52nd, 27:41.6).

While the UA women have placed themselves in great position for an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships, the men's team will try to regroup for the Western Regionals in two weeks. The top two finishers at the regionals receive automatic bids to the NCAA's, and the fate of every other team is left in the hands of a championship committee.

The Wildcats will host the Nov.10 competition at Randolph Golf Course, something that Murray realizes should help both of his squads perform at their best.

"Our girls are in great shape, and if the men run like they did at pre-NCAA's, we will be fine," Murray said. "But being on our home course will definitely help both teams."


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