TUCSON – The University of Arizona Wildcat men’s and No. 5 women’s track and field teams competed at the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn. The meet took place at Les Bolstad Golf Course. The women’s team took first place while the men’s side earned a 10th-place finish overall.
In her season debut, senior Elvin Kibet’s time of 20:49 in the 6,000-meter race was good for second place overall. She was one of four Wildcats to finish in eighth place or better. The second finisher for the UA women was junior Nicci Corbin, taking fifth place overall with a time of 20:59. Sophomore Kayla Beattie finished in sixth place and posted a time of 21:02. Freshman Maria Larsson’s time of 21:06 was good for eighth place overall. Junior Hanna Peterson was the fifth scorer for the Wildcats, taking 27th place overall with a time of 21:39. Junior Stephanie Bulder (35th place; 21:52), senior Erin Menefee (42nd place; 21:58), sophomore Molly Callahan (46th place; 22:01), junior Clea Formaz (98th place; 22:32) and junior Kate Penney (155th place; 23:05) also ran for the Wildcats.
"I'm really happy with the entire women's team today," head coach James .i said. "They ran a really strong race against good competition. Elvin (Kibet) had a really strong race for her first of the season. However, if we want to get to No. 1 in the country or close to that, our fifth runner has to close the gap and be closer to our fourth runner. We'll keep working and I think that is very possible for this team."
"The ladies went out and executed the plan," assistant coach Maureen Huber. "Elvin ran a great race from the front, Kayla Beattie and Maria ran most of the race together as well. The whole group trains so well together and it was no surprise to have them race together too."
The men’s race was first on the day and the top finisher for the Wildcats was freshman Collins Kibet. He finished in 24th place overall in the 8,000-meter race with a time of 24:55. Junior Sam Macaluso was the second finisher for Arizona and 26th overall with a time of 24:56. Junior Kenji Bierig’s time of 25:02 was good for 32nd overall. Freshman Matthew Beer had a time of 25:33, taking 74th place. Junior Dylan Hopper was the fifth scorer for the Wildcats, he posted a time of 25:54 and took 105th place overall. Sophomore Jonas Legernes (113th place; 26:00), junior Thomas Valente (119th place; 26:03), freshman Travis Thorne (165th place; 26:20), junior Braden Timpe (183rd place; 26:34) and sophomore Sam Willis (192nd place; 26:42) also ran for the Arizona men.
"Our men's team is on the up and up," Huber said. "They are really coming together well and today was a solid showing. Sam Macaluso has a been great leader for this group. Kenji Bierig really stepped up today and had an awesome race. With Lawi (Lalang, we would have been near fifth place today. We still have a lot of work to do but we're excited about the direction the group is heading. We still feel we can make it to the NCAA Championships with this group."