By Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, December 7, 2005
For the No. 4 Arizona men's cross country team, the season hardly finished the way it started when the Wildcats placed 10th overall at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind.
Still, it was a successful season for the Wildcat men, who took first in four of eight races this season, including the NCAA Western Regional on Nov. 12, where they snapped Stanford's streak of 10 consecutive first-place finishes.
Other wins occurred in the USF Invitational on Sept. 3 in San Francisco, the Dave Murray Invitational on Sept. 16 in Tucson and the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 30 in South Bend, Ind.
Arizona stayed competitive in its other races, finishing second overall in three of them, including the ASU Invitational on Oct. 7 in Tempe, the Chili Pepper Invitational on Oct. 15 in Fayetteville, Ark., and the Pacific 10 Conference Championships on Oct. 29 in Tucson.
Individual accomplishments were also a plus for this year's men.
Wildcats cross country head coach James Li was named the West Regional Coach of the Year in only his fourth season at Arizona.
Junior Robert Cheseret was named the Pac-10 men's cross country athlete of the year after finishing in the top 10 in all six races he ran this season. He became the ninth runner in Pac-10 history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.
Cheseret also took home West Region athlete of the year honors and was named to the All-Pac-10 first team, where he was joined by fellow junior and team newcomer Obed Mutanya.
Mutanya enjoyed good success in his first season with the Wildcats after transferring from Central Arizona College. He had five top-10 finishes this season, including a win in his first race with the team at the USF Invitational.
Senior Jonah Maiyo also finished off a strong season for the Wildcats. He posted top-10 finishes in the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA Western Regional en route to being named to the All-Pac-10 second team.
Things were less peachy for the Wildcat women's team, as Arizona failed to qualify as a team for the NCAA Western Regional after finishing ninth in the Pac-10 Championships.
However, Arizona was represented in Terre Haute by redshirt sophomore and team captain Emily McGregor, who finished 29th (21:20), and junior Ashley Ippolito, who finished 67th (22:06).
The team's strongest races were a first-place finish in the ASU Invitational and second-place finishes in the USF Invitational and the Dave Murray Invitational.
McGregor was the team's best runner this season. She was the first Wildcat to finish in the five races she ran.