Arizona Daily Wildcat
The UA track and field team hopes to stake its claim as the best in the state when it locks horns with Arizona State and Northern Arizona tomorrow in Tempe. And while the Wildcats obviously want a win, they are also concerned with the bearing this meet has on postseason play.
"This meet is considered the highlight of the season for us," said UA coach Dave Murray. "Not only is this a great in-state rivalry, but it will give us another chance to improve our times for the Pac-10s."
The stars for the Wildcats have been senior Martin Keino for the men's and sophomore Viola Schaffer for the women's team. Keino turned in an exceptional performance at last week's Mt. Sac Relays, where he recorded the best collegiate 5,000-meter time in four years with a mark of 13:38.58. This time placed him third in the invitational race (first among collegiate runners) and it was the second-best time in school history. For an encore, Keino put in another record-shattering performance in a seventh-place finish in the mile. His time of 4:01.03 was good enough for fourth on Arizona's all-time charts.
Not to be outdone, Shaffer decided to break a few records of her own. Her 33:48.24 mark in the 10,000 shattered the old record of 34:13.98 set by Katie Williams in 1993 and was an NCAA automatic qualifier.
"Martin and Viola have been doing a great job for us," Murray said. "They have shown themselves to be among the elite in collegiate running."
But in order to defeat their in-state rivals they will need more than Shaffer and Keino to show up. Other performers that will be key to the Wildcats' success will be Bob Keino, brother of Martin, Aaron Corcorran and Alex Krichenco for the men, and Suzanne Castruita, Rebecca Butt and Michelle Johnson for the women. Bob Keino proved to his brother last weekend that he can hold his own in the 5,000 with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 14:14.74. Castruita also set an NCAA provisional time in the 5,000 with a mark of 16:44.08.
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