Arizona cross country warms up for Pac-10s at state invitational

By Jason A. Vrtis

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona cross country teams travel to Tempe today to compete in the Arizona State Invitational, their final tune-up before the Pacific 10 Conference championships Oct. 28.

The 11th-ranked UA women are going for their fourth consecutive team title of the season.

"If we run the way we have so far this year, it should not be close on the women's side," UA head coach Dave Murray said.

Freshman Amy Skieresz is coming off a victory in just her third collegiate start, at the Mountain West Classic in Missoula, Mont., Sept. 30. She covered the 6,000-meter course in 20 minutes, 40 seconds and was also the first Wildcat finisher at the University of Illinois Invitational Sept. 16.

Junior Viola Schaffer has finished second for Arizona in her last two outings, finishing fourth overall in Montana.

The 14th-ranked Arizona men hope to get back on track this weekend with sophomore Bob Keino leading the way. With Keino's runner-up finish at the Mountain West Classic, it brought to an end a streak of nine consecutive races that a member of the Keino family has won. Bob won the first two races of the season, while his brother, Martin, a senior in '94, won all seven UA races last year.

Keino will be challenged by UCLA sophomore Mebrahthom Keflezighi. The two ran against each other as juniors in high school at the 1993 Kinney National Cross Country Championships in San Diego.

Arizona is using this weekend to keep sharp and maintain its competitiveness as it heads into the second half of its season.

On the men's side at the invitational, Arizona will be in a three-way race between Oregon and Stanford. The Wildcat women look to be the favorites, but could face tough competition from Oregon, Stanford and Washington.

The race will start at 4:30 p.m. on Arizona State's Karsten Golf Course.

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