TUCSON - The University of Arizona Wildcat men’s and No. 5 women’s track and field teams both earned first-place finishes at the 2013 Dave Murray Invitational on Friday. The Wildcats hosted the meet at Dell Urich Golf Course.
The men’s 4.25-mile race was first on the day and freshman Collins Kibet won with a time of 21:29.89. In the first two competitive races of his life, Kibet has earned a fourth-place finish (George Kyte Classic) and first-place finish, respectively. The second-place finisher on the day was junior Sam Macaluso, he had a time of 21:34.01 in his season debut. Junior Kenji Bierig also made his season debut and his time of 21:58.23 was good for third place. Freshman Matthew Beer took sixth place with a time of 22:12.48. Sophomore Jonas Legernes was the final scorer for the Wildcats and he took seventh place overall with a time of 22:20.12. Sophomore Dylan Hopper (eighth place; 22:24.03), junior Thomas Valente (13th place; 22:38.81), freshman Travis Thorne (14th place; 22:49.67), sophomore Sam Willis (16the place; 22:59.15), junior Braden Timpe (19th place; 23:12.38), freshman Jeff Gautreau (21st place; 23:48.41), freshman Michael Cox (23rd place; 24:01.70) and freshman Brendan Tinoco (25th place; 25:14.85) also ran for the UA men’s team.
Overall, the men’s team won the Division I section with a total of 19 points. Northern Arizona took second place with 45 points. Arizona State had 69 points in third place and Grand Canyon finished in fourth place tallying 99 points. The meet was also scored in double-dual fashion, the UA men beat Arizona State 15 to 48. Arizona’s men had 15 while Grand Canyon had 50. Arizona had 19 points to Northern Arizona’s 40. Northern Arizona beat Arizona State 20 to 35. Northern Arizona also beat Grand Canyon 15 to 40.
“Collins’ first win as a Wildcat and as a freshman, it’s great,” head coach James .i said. “It wasn’t a particularly competitive race but it was great for him to win and next time will be a much bigger test for him and the rest of our team. I think Sam Macaluso has come a long way and has really made great improvements. The rest of the team did better, but we still have as a ways to go if we want to qualify for the NCAA Championships.”
“The race was pretty good today,” Kibet said. “We started slow and then me and Sam (Macaluso) took the lead and after about 1,000 meters we realized it was going too slow so we started speeding up. Towards the end, Sam was getting a bit tired and I just took off and sprinted towards the finish. It was tough but I did it. I’m very happy to win this race because a good start will always help take you through (the season). I know the next race will be tough so I had to run well today because as they get tougher, it will be proportional for me. So I am really happy for that.”
On the women’s side, freshman Maria Larsson took first place with a time of 16:31.73 in the three-mile race. Junior Nicci Corbin took second place with a time of 16:39.68. Junior Hanna Peterson’s time of 17:14.19 was good for fourth place overall. Junior Stephanie Bulder had a time of 17:17.73, good for fifth place. Sophomore Molly Callahan was the final scorer for the women’s squad, taking seventh place with a time of 17:23.71. Senior Erin Menefee (eighth place; 17:25.24), junior Kate Penney (11th place; 17:48.07), freshman McKenna Gaffney (25th place; 18:57.05) also ran for the Wildcats.
The women’s team won the Division I section with 19 points overall. Arizona State’s tally of 40 points was good for second place. Northern Arizona finished with 85 points in third place and Grand Canyon totaled 120 points in fourth place. For the double dual scoring, Arizona beat Arizona State 19 to 40. Arizona beat Grand Canyon 15 to 50. Arizona also beat Northern Arizona 15 to 50. Arizona won the matchup versus Northern Arizona by a score of 15 to 50. Northern Arizona beat Grand Canyon by a score of 15 to 50 as well.
“It went well, I felt good,” Larsson said. “The Wildcats did a great job so I’m very proud of my girls. I stuck to the plan and I went easy for the first two miles and the last I tried to pick up the pace a little and I think we all did a great job. This is my second run in college and my first win so it means a lot. To do it here in Tucson is an amazing feeling. There were a lot of people here and they were cheering and that felt good.”
“Maria is really a super freshman,” Li said.” She is doing a fantastic job. At NAU she took second place to her teammate (Kayla Beattie) and today she won. We’re so happy to have her here and she really elevates the team. I think Nicci (Corbin) had a really solid race and Hanna Peterson ran a lot better this year and so did Molly Callahan. Stephanie Bulder, coming off a really strong track season, has been doing really well. I think we still have girls that are capable of stepping up even more and that’s what we need if we really want to be a top finisher at the NCAA Championships.”