Terre Haute, Ind. – The University of Arizona Wildcat No. 2 women’s cross country team will wrap up the 2013 season on Saturday at the NCAA Championships. The race will take place on Nov. 23 at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind. The UA women will begin the 6,000-meter race at 1:15 p.m. EST. The men did not have a team or any individuals qualify. The women’s team earned a sixth-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Championships. The best finish in program history came in 1980 when the UA women took second place overall.
Arizona will compete against Arkansas, Butler, Colorado, Dartmouth, Florida State, Georgetown, Iowa State, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Providence, SMU, Stanford, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Villanova, William & Mary. Those teams earned automatic bids for either finishing in first place or second place at their respective regionals. BYU, Cornell, Indiana, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State, Princeton, San Francisco, Syracuse, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin earned at-large bids.
In the final U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) national poll before the NCAA Championships, the Arizona women fell to No. the country despite winning the NCAA West Region by a margin of ten points. Four other Pac-12 schools join Arizona in the national poll. Colorado moved up to No. 5 in the country. Stanford is No. 12, Oregon is No. 17 and Washington is No. 20.
On the women’s side, the Wildcats will run sophomore Kayla Beattie, junior Stephanie Bulder, sophomore Molly Callahan, junior Nicci Corbin, junior Hanna Peterson, senior Elvin Kibet, freshman Maria Larsson and senior Erin Menefee.
On Nov. 15, the UA women won their first NCAA West Regional since 1998. Senior Elvin Kibet led the women’s team; she took eighth place in the 6K with a time of 19:39. Sophomore Kayla Beattie finished just behind Kibet, also clocking a time of 19:39 and taking ninth place. Freshman Maria Larsson’s time of 19:43 was good for 10th place overall. Junior Nicci Corbin finished in 12th place with a time of 19:54. Junior Stephanie Bulder was the final scorer for the UA women; her time of 20:39 was good for 45th place.
The USTFCCCA announced the student-athletes that earned all-region honors and Kibet, Beattie, Larsson and Corbin each earned accolades for for their work at the NCAA West Regional. A total of 450 student-athletes earned the distinction by finishing among the top 25 individual finishers at one of the nine regional sites across the country. The USTFCCA also announced the Coaches of the Year. Head coach James Li was named the West Region Women’s Head Coach of the Year.
At the 2013 Pac-12 Championships on Nov. 2, the UA women continued their undefeated season by winning the first conference title in program history. The Wildcats won with 69 points while Colorado earned a runner-up finish with 75 points. Elvin Kibet (second place), Beattie (fifth place), Corbin (sixth place), Larsson (24th place) and Peterson (32nd place were the five scorers for the Wildcats. The UA women also earned a point in the annual Territorial Cup Series by finishing ahead of Arizona State. The men’s team took eighth place overall and were led by Collins Kibet (17th place) and Macaluso (24th place). They conceded a point to Arizona State on the men’s side.
The women’s squad entered the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 19, as the No. 3 team in the nation. Competing against a loaded field, including Providence who was No. 1 at the time, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 9 Michigan State and No. 28 Iowa State. The Wildcats won with a total of 117 points. Arkansas’ tally of 136 points was good for second place, giving the Arizona women a comfortable margin of victory.
On October 19, sophomore Kayla Beattie led the first-place team; she took seventh place overall in the 6,000-meter race 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. 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.
On the men’s side, junior Lawi Lalang made his season debut and took 13th place in the 8,000-meter race. It was only the second time in his career he did not earn a first-place finish in a cross country race.
Junior Thomas Valente led the men’s team with time of 24:48.5 in the 8K, taking first place among Division I competitors. Only two women ran for the Wildcats, freshman McKenna Gaffney and junior Daylee Burr. Gaffney finished in fifth place overall among Division I competitors while Burr finished in seventh place.
The UA women won at the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 28, claiming a first-place finish as a team in their third-straight race this season. In her season debut, Elvin Kibet led the way for the Wildcats with a second-place finish. The women had four finishers cross the line in eighth place or better and won with 48 points. The men’s team was led by Collins Kibet who took 24th place individually while the team finished in 10th place overall.
The men’s and women’s teams dominated the Dave Murray Invitational on Sept. 20. The Wildcats hosted the meet at the Dell Urich Golf Course. Freshman Collins Kibet won the men’s 4.25-mile race and the men’s team also earned a first-place finish. On the women’s side, freshman Maria Larsson won the three-mile race and the entire squad took first place in the team competition as well.
At the George Kyte Classic, the UA women’s team won the Division I section with a score 33 points. Beattie took first place and Larsson took second place to lead the Wildcats in the 5,000-meter race. The men’s squad earned a third-place finish in the Division I section with 73 points. Collins Kibet led the way for the men, taking fourth place in the 8,000-meter race on Sept. 7.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s cross country, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and follow @ArizonaTrack on Twitter.