Cross Country opening 'super meet' could be crucial

By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 24, 2004

The UA men's and women's cross country teams converge with dozens of squads from around the nation tomorrow in Minneapolis for one of the most important meets of the season.

The 2004 Roy Griak Invitational is the first in a series of "super meets," that will help shape the field for this year's NCAA Championships.

Head coach James Li said a strong race this weekend will have an important role in the Wildcats' ability to qualify for Nationals.

"This is one of the biggest races of the season," Li said.

Competing in the race are teams from 28 Division I universities, including Pacific 10 Conference rivals Arizona State, Washington State, California, and Oregon.

UA heads into Minneapolis fresh from a second place team finish at last weekend's Aztec Invitational in San Diego, including a win for the women's team over then-ranked No. 15 Northern Arizona.

The Wildcats will look to carry over that momentum into this weeks'races.

"It will help tremendously, especially with our younger athletes," Li said.

Sophomore Robert Cheseret and junior Josh Ludwig rejoin the men's team after missing last weekend's race to train.

Cheseret finished first in the Wildcats' opening meet, the Dave Murray Invitational, two weeks ago in Tucson.

Joining Cheseret and Ludwig are sophomores Eric Chavez and Kenny Frank, seniors Kevin Englehardt, Michael Howard, and Jonah Maiyo, and juniors Aaron Powell and Jin Daikoku.

Running for the women are juniors Amber Steen, Michi Hirikawa-Wong, Susan Mortensen, Adrienne Goeller, Lilli Shoen and Jenny Sears, sophomore Ashely Ippilito, and senior Beth Hoge.

Hoge was the top finisher for Arizona in the season's first two races.