TUCSON - The University of Arizona Wildcat men’s and No. 7 women’s cross country teams will head north to compete in the George Kyte Classic in Flagstaff, Ariz. The meet will be held at Buffalo Park and hosted by Northern Arizona University. The men will run 8,000 meters with the start time set for 1:30 p.m. MST. The women’s race will begin at 3 p.m. and they will have to complete a 6,000-meter race.
Arizona will compete against Arizona State, Dine College, Glendale Community College, Dixie State College, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Grand Canyon University, Mesa Community College, Northern Arizona University (M: 2, W: NR), Pima Community College and Western New Mexico University
In the preseason USTFCCCA national poll, the Arizona women were ranked seventh in the country. Four other Pac-12 schools are ranked in the national poll, Oregon is third, Washington is No. 5, Stanford is No. 8 and Colorado are No. 14. In the west regional poll, the UA women are ranked No. 3.
The Wildcat men are No. 10 in the west regional poll. In the national poll, the Pac-12 has four teams among the top 30. Colorado is third, Oregon is 12th, UCLA is 13th and Stanford is 16th.
On the women’s side, sophomore Kayla Beattie, freshman Maria Larsson, junior Hanna Peterson, sophomore Molly Callahan, junior Stephanie Bulder and freshman McKenna Gaffney will toe the line for Arizona.
For the men, freshman Matthew Beer, sophomore Dylan Hopper, freshman Collins Kibet, sophomore Jonas Legernes, freshman Travis Thorne, junior Braden Timpe, freshman Brendan Tinoco, sophomore Sam Willis, sophomore Christopher Tansey, freshman Jeff Gautrea and freshman Michael Cox will don the cardinal and navy for the Wildcats.
Arizona welcomes back 11 women from the 2012 season while the men have nine returning letter winners on this season’s squad. Included in those returners are All-American Elvin Kibet, Two-time Pac-12 Champion and 2011 NCAA Champion Lawi Lalang.
In 2012, Lalang had an outstanding sophomore to follow-up his undefeated freshman campaign. He competed in five races in the 2012 season and won the first four, including his second-straight Pac-12 Championship. He also won at the Greater Louisville Classic, the Wisconsin adidas Invitational for the second-straight year, and the NCAA West Regional for the second-straight season. At the NCAA Championships, he lost his first ever cross country race and took third place overall. Nevertheless, he was a first-team NCAA Cross Country All-American for the second time in two seasons. Lalang was named USTFCCCA West Region Athlete of the Year and the Pac-12 Men’s Athlete of the Year for the second-straight year.
On the women’s side, Arizona earned a runner-up finish at the Pac-12 Championships, with Elvin Kibet taking third place and earning All-Pac-12 honors. The women tied for second place at the NCAA West Regional as a team, qualifying for the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The UA women’s tally of 263 points was good for sixth place at the meet. It was the best overall finish since 2001 when the UA women took fourth place. The Wildcats’ highest team finish ever is second in 1980. In 2011, the squad earned a 19th-place finish. Kibet earned first-team All-America accolades with her 19th-place finish overall. She was also the top finisher for the Wildcats in that race and four of her other five races.