Women's Cross Country Team Finishes Fifth at Pac-10 Meet
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The University of Arizona men's cross country won the Pacific-10 Conference title yesterday behind the strength of all five scoring runners finishing in the top 11 of the field at the El Dorado Regional Park in Long Beach, Calif.
The men's team, ranked No. 6 entering the meet, scored 36 points, easily outdistancing No. 2 Stanford, which finished second with 63. The Arizona women's team finished fifth at the meet with 119 points, while Stanford won the women's title with 32 points.
Senior Micheil Jones (Livermore, Calif./Livermore HS) led the Wildcats with a second place individual finish at the meet. Jones finished in 23:48.90 on the 8,000m course. Oregon senior Steve Fein captured the conference's individual crown in 23:37.00.
"As a team, we worked really hard all year to get to this point," Jones said. "This is a great feeling right now. It's been a dream of mine (to accomplish this) for four years. I'm just happy to have contributed to the team."
Junior David Lopez (Glendale, Calif./Hoover HS) finished fifth for the Wildcats in 24:02.20, and sophomore Steve Smith (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala HS) was eighth in 24:28.10. Senior Brent Pedersen (Aurora, Ore./Canby HS) ran the best race of his career, finishing 10th (24:36.00). Sophomore Tom Prindiville (Concord, Calif./De La Salle HS) was the Wildcats' final scorer, finishing 11th (24:36.30). Sophomore Mike Cramer (Tucson, Ariz./Canyon del Oro HS) and senior Jeremy Lyon (Hesperia, Calif./Hesperia HS) were the Wildcats' other runners, finishing 14th and 33rd, respectively.
"We were really focused today. We felt that we could win if we ran as best as we possibly could," Wildcat coach Dave Murray said. "This is the strongest conference in the country, and now we are in good shape heading into nationals."
Finishing behind the Wildcats and Cardinal were Oregon (76), Arizona State (84), California (119), Washington (133), UCLA (193) and Washington State (199).
The title is Arizona's seventh since joining the Pac-10 in 1978. The Wildcat men last won the conference crown in 1994 when Martin Keino led the team with is individual win. The team went on to finish third in the nation that year.
The Arizona women's team did not finish as well, placing fifth behind Stanford, Arizona State (62), Washington (70) and UCLA (98). Stanford swept the top three at the meet, and freshman Erin Sullivan won in 17:01.50. Oregon finishied sixth behind the Wildcats with 135 points, followed by Washington State (205) and USC and California (both 228).
Sophomore Tara Chaplin (Montpelier, Vt./U-32 HS) led the Wildcat women with a seventh place finish (17:27.70) on the 5,000m course. Sophomore Erin Doherty (Tucson, Ariz./Flowing Wells HS) was 17th (18:01.00), junior Katrin Engelen (Dornstetten, Germany) was 27th (18:21.40), freshman Kimberly Bates (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos HS) finished 30th (18:39.50) and sophomore Jennifer Burris (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala HS) placed 38th (18:58.90). Freshman Mandee Ash (Tucson, Ariz./Flowing Wells HS) finished 46th (19:19.70), but did not score for Arizona. Senior Maia Wright (Poulsbo, Wash./North Kistap HS) did not finish.
The Wildcats take next week off, but travel to the NCAA West Regionals, Nov. 13, in Portland, Ore. There, the teams will try to qualify for the NCAA Championships, Nov. 23, in Bloomington, Ind.
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