Injury-ravaged men's squad finishes second at ASU Invite
The Arizona women's cross country team won its first meet of the season Friday, taking the ASU Invitational in Tempe, while a depleted men's squad managed a second-place finish.
Despite holding out top runners senior Fanice Chepkorir and sophomore Emily McGregor for Pre-NCAA Invitational training, the Wildcat women won the meet over ASU with a score of 36 points.
"We're making steady improvement, but they're young runners," said Arizona cross country head coach James Li.
Junior Ashley Ippolito was the first Wildcat to finish, landing in sixth place, followed by senior Robin Tierney and junior Karen Langdorf, who finished ninth and 10th, respectively.
The women's team has been competitive all season but still has room to improve, Li said. The Pre-NCAA Invitational will test the Wildcat women, Li said, and they hope to continue to make progress and gain some experience with the upcoming event.
The men's team ran without their top seven runners - including juniors Robert Cheseret and Obed Mutanya and sophomore Mohammed Trafeh - who are training for Saturday's Chili Pepper Invitational hosted by No. 1 Arkansas, the Wildcats' first 10,000-meter race of the year. The meet is a warmup for the Pacific 10 Conference Championships Oct. 29 in Tucson.
Li said the extra 2,000 meters at the event in Fayetteville, Ark., led to his decision to hold his top runners from Friday's race.
"It was not so much about rest, but to train," he said. "When you're always competing, you don't necessarily get to train."
- Information taken from a press release on www.arizonaathletics.com.