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Cross country: Cheseret wins second 'Murray' title

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona sophomore Robert Cheseret cruises to victory Friday afternoon in the Dave Murray Invitational cross-country meet at Randolph Park. Cheseret won the men's title for the second straight year.
By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 13, 2004
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The UA men and women's cross country teams opened the 2004 season with a positive start Friday in the Dave Murray Invitational, an exhibition race at Randolph Park.

For the second straight year, the men's race became the Robert Cheseret Invitational. The UA sophomore dominated competitors from ASU, Pima Community College and Central Arizona College for the race's entirety, never falling any further than second in the pack.

Cheseret finished the 6.3-kilometer race, named for legendary former UA head coach Dave Murray, in 19 minutes and eight seconds, two seconds faster than his nearest competitor.

"I just tried to run a moderate pace the first 3K, and hard and fast for the last 3K," Cheseret said.

Midway through the race, Cheseret battled ASU junior Aaron Aguayo and the surprise second-place finisher, CAC's Obed Mutayna, in a back-and-forth contest.

With a mile to go, the field narrowed, with Cheseret and Mutayna running neck-and-neck ahead of the pack.

In the final few hundred meters, Cheseret easily overpowered Mutayna in a sprint to the finish line.

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sophomore Ashley Ippolito crests a hill during the Dave Murray Cross Country Invitational Friday. Ippolito was the second Wildcat finisher, taking 13th place in 16:17.

After the race, Cheseret said he was excited with the win and hopes it will carry over into the rest of the races this season.

"(The win) will motivate me, because this is my first race (of the season), and I want to have that motivation to win and keep on winning," he said.

UA junior Josh Ludwig clocked the second-best time for the Wildcats, finishing fifth with a time of 19 minutes, 46 seconds. Freshman Mohamed Trafeh came in 11th at 20 minutes, seven seconds.

UA redshirt freshman Chris Ogle placed 16th, sophomore Kenny Franks was 17th, and sophomore Eric Chavez came in 18th, with respective times of 20:23, 20:35 and 20:40.

In the women's 4.4-kilometer race, UA senior Beth Hoge led the Wildcats' challenge of a strong ASU squad. The Sun Devils held the first seven positions for most of the race before a late push by Hoge broke up their dominance.

Hoge, who placed fourth in the exhibition race, said she can't compete for the Wildcats again this season because of NCAA regulations on redshirts. Hoge studied abroad in the spring, ultimately redshirting the track season in the process. Redshirts must sit out an entire calendar year, Hoge said, which leaves her unable to compete once regular season action gets underway.

UA freshman Amber Steen was the first Wildcat runner on the active roster to cross the finish line. She finished 12th with a time of 16:16, a very promising outing in her first collegiate meet.

Steen was followed closely by sophomore Ashley Ippolito, who finished 13th with a time of 16:17. The remainder of the squad came in together, placing 18-23.

Junior Susan Mortensen led the pack in 18th, followed by sophomores Emily McGregor and Karen Langdorf, junior Michi Hirakawa-Wong, freshman Shannon Durkin and junior Adrienne Goeller.

Both teams resume action Sept. 25 in Minneapolis, at the Roy Griak Invitational.

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