By Drew Sibr
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona men's and women's cross country team begins its 1994 season tomorrow at the Iowa Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa. The five-team competition will preview the UA team that has undergone some interesting offseason changes.
Coach Dave Murray is entering his 28th season at Arizona and has coached the Wildcat men's teams since 1967. Because of the departure of women's coach Sue Parks', who left to become the women's cross country and track and field coach at Ball State, Murray will also coach the women's team this season.
Murray said the men's team may be one of the best that he has ever coached. The team features All-American Martin Keino, who returns after redshirting last season, and Keino's younger brother, Bob, a high school first-team All-American in track and cross country a year ago.
"We have a really solid team," said the elder Keino, who was elected team captain. "This season, there is competition at the seventh and eighth positions."
The Wildcat men return all but one runner from last season's squad, and the addition of the Keino brothers provides one of the strongest lineups ever at Arizona.
"It might be one of the more difficult years for me, determining who the top seven are going to be," Murray said. "But that's a good problem to have."
Arizona sophomore Margarito Casillas returns this season after being the Wildcats' No. 1 runner in all but one race last season. Murray expects junior Arthur Jimenez, the No. 3 runner last year, to have a strong season as well. Leadership and experience will be provided by seniors Brad Meyer, Bryan Winters and Billy Borkus.
"Overall Ä on paper and in talent Ä this team is much better than the (one) that finished fourth at the national championships three years ago," Murray said. "I think the guys know what kind of team we can have, and if they each do their part, we can contend for the Pac-10 and District VIII title and certainly aim for the top three or four at the NCAA Championships."
Rebuilding is the theme
this season for the Arizona women's cross country team. In addition to Parks' departure, All-Americans Brenda Sleeuwenhoek and Jean Harvey are gone from a team that finished No. 2 in the Pac-10, won the school's first District VIII Champion-ship title and went on to a top 15 finish at the NCAAs.
Four of seven women return and the team's only senior, Suzanne Castruita, will be the team leader. The transfer from Mt. San Antonio junior college was the team's No. 1 or 2 runner in every race but her first last season.
Castruita will get support from junior Lisa Quaintance and sophomores Viola Schaffer and Tone Bratteng, who add experience to a team that includes three rookies.
Murray will also rely on junior newcomers Ann Colonna and Jennifer Bovee, who both have collegiate experience. Colonna was a Wildcat prospect out of high school, but chose to attend Notre Dame. She was a member of the Fighting Irish team that finished 15th at last year's NCAAs.
Bovee comes to Arizona via American River Junior College in Sacramento, Calif., where she earned all-state honors in track and cross country.
"This team is going to be young, and it has a tough road ahead," Murray said. "But four of them have already tasted the success of a winning season and they know what it takes to get there. We are counting on that experience."
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