The Arizona State women’s cross country runners claimed three straight individual first-place finishes in the Dave Murray Invitational, going back to 2007.
But this year, the University of Arizona broke through at the event they host each year. Not only did a Wildcat win the individual competition, but the women’s team posted a dominating performance that saw UofA runners fill eight of the top 10 spots.
The women ran a 3-mile race, while the men competed on a 4.25-mile course.
The UofA women’s team, going into the weekend with a No. 23 national ranking (USTFCCCA), took first place with 19 points for their second straight title at the event, held at Dell Urich Golf Course in Tucson. ASU placed a distant second with 44 points.
However, the tables were turned on the men’s side, as the Sun Devils captured their second Murray Invitational title by scoring 21 points. And the Wildcats took the runner-up position with 40 points.
ASU’s Lindsay Prescott finished runner-up in the women’s competition with a time of 17:04.2 and Alyssa Allison came in ninth. All the other top 10 spots were claimed by UofA runners.
Junior Hannah Moen finished in first place, a comeback victory after sitting out last season with an injury. She put enough distance between her and Prescott over the final 400 meters to claim her first collegiate cross-country win by a full eight seconds, finishing in 16:56.65.
Jennifer Bergman came in third (17:19.13), while Elvin Kibet, who won the George Kyte Classic to open the season, finished in fourth. Amanda Russell, a two-time Foot Locker finalist, clocked 17:21.20 for fifth place.
The ASU men, led by Ben Engelhardt‘s fifth-place finish in 21:19.3, also won in 2008 when the Sun Devils swept both men’s and women’s races. This year’s edition is ranked No. 15 nationally, up two spots from its pre-season ranking.
Englehardt was one of four Sun Devils finishing in the top 10, as the team tied the fourth-lowest score (21 pts) in the history of the program.
The other top 10 finishers included Darius Terry in 7th, Doug Smith in 8th, and Daniel Lovell in 9th.
For the UofA men’s team, this was the first meet in which they have competed as a full team. It’s just the second event of the season, but it will be the only one run on their home course. Other than the Oct. 1 date at the ASU Invitational in Tempe, the Cats will be traveling outside the Arizona borders the rest of the way.
Much-touted junior-college transfer, Stephen Sambu, ran away with the individual win in his first race as a Wildcat, posting a time of 20:08.52.
Sambu beat his closest collegiate competitor by over a minute, demonstrating how he managed to remain undefeated in both cross-country and track & field during his two years at Rend Lake Colllege in Illinois.
The next UofA runner after Sambu didn’t show up until 11th place, when a freshman, Patrick Zacharias, crossed the finish line in 21:41.4. Zacharias won the men’s side of the George Kyte Invitational, run in Flagstaff last week over an 8,000-meter course.