TUCSON - University of Arizona Wildcat men's and women's cross country teams both earned first-place finishes at the Dave Murray Invitational on Friday. The Wildcats hosted the race at Del Urich Golf Course in Tucson. The women ran a three-mile race while the men had to complete a 4.25-mile race.
"I think we did really well," head coach James Li said. "We still held out a couple of our top runners but we'll get there. (Heading into the bigger races) I feel pretty good, both the women's and men's sides are very promising and we are very hopeful this year. I think we have a good mix of seniors and younger athletes. I think we are deeper than we have been."
The women's team finished in first place overall with 15 points (1-2-3-4-5), the best possible score in cross country. The first 10 finishers were all Wildcats and all 11 UA competitors finished in the in 12th place or better. Grand Canyon University took second place with 65 points. Mesa Community College took third with 78 points. Pima Community College finished with 107 points, good for fourth. Paradise Valley totaled 120 points and took fifth place.
Junior Elvin Kibet won the three-mile race with a time of 16:49, the second-straight year Kibet has claimed first place at the Dave Murray Invitational. Sophomore Nicci Corbin took second place with a time of 17:00. Junior Amanda Russell's time of 17:08 was good for third place. Senior Elizabeth Apgar clocked a time of 17:13, good for fourth place. Sophomore Stephanie Bulder earned a fifth-place finish, posting a time of 17:25.
The men's squad also earned a first-place finish with 22 points (1-2-3-5-11). The Wildcats' five scores all finished in 16th place or better. Paradise Valley took second place with 69 points. San Diego Mesa had 95 points, good for third place. Glendale Community College finished in fourth with 112 points. Grand Canyon University posted 118 points, taking fifth place.
Senior Stephen Sambu won the men's 4.25-mile race with a time of 20:28. Sophomore Kenji Bierig earned a third-place finish with a time of 21:37. Freshman Nathan Kandie's time of 22:11 was good for sixth place. Sophomore Sam Macaluso clocked a time of 22:15, good for eighth place. Sophomore Thomas Valente finished in 16th place, posting a time of 22:40.
"It was a really good race," Sambu said. "I don't mind (running by myself), it's tough but I still try to push a lot. Training is going well, everything is going well, I hope this will be a good season for me."