Tucson, Ariz. – On Saturday, head coach James Li and the men’s and women’s cross country teams began the 2014 season with their first official practice.
On the women’s side, the defending Pac-12 Champions welcome back senior Nicci Corbin, a 2013 NCAA Cross Country All-American and a 2013 Pac-12 All-Conference honoree for her top-eight finish at the conference championships. Junior Kayla Beattie is also back, along with Corbin, she earned All-Pac-12 accolades for her top-eight finish at the Pac-12 Championships. The Wildcats lost two of their top runners from the 2013 season, senior Elvin Kibet exhausted her eligibility and Maria Larsson returned home to Sweden. Seniors Hanna Peterson and Stephanie Bulder both scored consistently for the UA women last year and will look to do the same this year.
The Wildcats return the whole team except Lawi Lalang on the men’s side. Lalang only competed in one race during the 2013 season due to injury. Sophomore Collins Kibet and senior Sam Macaluso return as the top two runners from last season.
The season begins per usual with Northern Arizona’s George Kyte Classic in Flagstaff, Ariz. The opener for the Wildcats is set for Sat., Sept. 6. On Sept. 19, the Wildcats will host the annual Dave Murray Invitational. The following weekend, the Wildcats will compete in the Virginia/Panorama Farms Invitational in Earlysville, Va. The meet will take place on Fri., Sept. 26.
The Arizona State Cross Country Invitational is up next for UA, competing in Tempe on Sat., Oct. 11. Perennially the best meet in the country outside of the NCAA Championships is the Wisconsin adidas Invitational and the Wildcats once again compete in Madison on Oct. 17. The meet is hosted by the University of Wisconsin.
Championship season for the Wildcats begins in Oakland, Calif. with the Pac-12 Championships on Sat., Nov. 1. The women’s team will look to win back-to-back conference championships, after claiming the title in 2013. Following that, UA will return to northern California for the NCAA West Regionals in Palo Alto, Calif. That meet date is set for Fri., Nov. 14. The NCAA Championships will be in Terre Haute, Ind. once again. The final competition of the 2014 season will take place on Nov. 22.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat men’s and women’s cross country, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and follow @ArizonaTrack on Twitter.