TUCSON - The University of Arizona Wildcat men’s and No. 3 women’s cross country teams competed on Saturday at the fifth annual Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wisc. The meet had a loaded field on the men’s and women’s side. Nevertheless, the women’s team earned a first-place finish overall. The men ran 8,000 meters and the women ran 6,000 meters. The race was held at Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.
The UA women’s team won their fourth race out of four races this year. They did not field a team at the Thunderbird Classic. At the 2011 and 2012 Wisconsin adidas Invitational, the women’s team took third place. On Saturday, sophomore Kayla Beattie led the first-place team; she took seventh place overall and posted a time of 19:56. Freshman Maria Larsson’s time of 20:07 was good for 15th place. Junior Nicci Corbin finished in 18th place, clocking a time of 20:09. Senior Elvin Kibet was the fourth finisher for the Wildcats, taking 21st and posting a time of 20:12. Junior Hanna Peterson’s time of 20:41 was good for 56th place and she was the fifth and final scorer for the Wildcats. Junior Stephanie Bulder had a time of 21:02, taking 88th place. Senior Erin Menefee had a time of 21:13 and finished the race in 117th place. Sophomore Molly Callahan took 165th place and had time of 21:35.
The women’s team totaled 117 points and that was good for first place overall. No. 8 Arkansas finished in second place with 136 points. No. 1 Providence had a total of 191 points, taking third place. No. 9 Michigan State’s tally of 200 points gave them a fourth-place finish. No. 28 Iowa State finished with 235 points and took fifth place.
“It was a great win for the women’s team today, especially at a meet of this caliber,” head coach James .i said. “Rankings don’t mean anything but we did beat the No. 1 team in the country today so we did very well. Some of the girls ran well and others did not but overall it was a really good win for the team. Kayla (Beattie) ran a great race, we knew she could run that well. She started off conservative and then really finished strong. We are going to keep working and trying to improve, we have five weeks until the NCAA Championships and that is what we are working towards.”
On the men’s side, junior Lawi Lalang led the way with a 13th-place finish and a time of 23:35 in the 8,000-meter race. He won the Wisconsin adidas Invite in 2011 and 2012. It is only the second time in Lalang’s career he has not won a cross country race. The second Wildcat to finish the race was junior Sam Macaluso, he took 92nd place with a time of 24:18. Freshman Collins Kibet’s time of 24:40 was good for 153rd place. Junior Kenji Bierig ran the 8,000 meters in 24:49, taking 171st place. Sophomore Jonas Legernes’ time of 25:05 was good for 201st place. Sophomore Matthew Beer (215th place; 25:22), Junior Thomas Valente (219th place; 25:28), sophomore Dylan Hopper (266th place; 25:53) and freshman Travis Thorne (275th place; 26:12) also ran for the UA men.
No. 3 Northern Arizona won the men’s race with 121 points. No. 5 BYU took second place with 174 points. 216 points was good for No. 7 Portland to finish in third place. No. 20 Wisconsin finished in fourth place with 217 points. No. 25 New Mexico’s 251 points was good for fifth place. The UA men took 30th place with 630 points.
“Lawi (Lalang) isn’t happy with his race today but I am reasonably happy,” Li said. “He’s only trained for two weeks and he still ran five miles at 4:45 pace so that is pretty remarkable. He has only been training for two weeks, he entered the race with a training mindset and he just wanted to help the team. We have five weeks until the NCAA Championships so I’m sure Lawi (Lalang) will be ready to go by then, I’m not worried. Overall, our guys did not run well, it was a bad day. They just have to race better, they have been training well but they just need to race better. Sam (Macaluso) ran better today but overall the team did not run as well as they can.”
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s cross country, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and follow @ArizonaTrack on Twitter.