Arizona dominates Dave Murray Cross Country Invite

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                </div>Arizona State sophomore Adriana Olivas was the only obstacle standing in the way of a clean sweep by the Arizona Wildcats in both the men’s and women’s competition at yesterday’s […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Arizona State sophomore Adriana Olivas was the only obstacle standing in the way of a clean sweep by the Arizona Wildcats in both the men’s and women’s competition at yesterday’s battle between Arizona colleges at the Dave Murray Cross Country Invitational in Tucson.

Olivas finished the three-mile women’s course in 17:06.46 for a third-place finish to break up what would otherwise have been a sweep of the top five spots.  A freshman won it all as Maria Larsson crossed the finish line in 16:31.73 and Arizona junior Nicci Corbin scooted in eight seconds later, clocking a 16:39.68.

Arizona also laid claim to the next two spots, thanks to a couple of juniors.  Hanna Peterson captured fourth with a time of 17:14.19 and Stephanie Bulder finished just seconds off her pace at 17:17.73.

The Arizona women won the Division I section with 19 points, well ahead of the second-place Sun Devils who had a final total of 40 points.  Northern Arizona University finished in third place with 85 points and Grand Canyon University, which moved up to Division I this year, tallied 120 points for a fourth-place finish.

This was just the second competition in Larsson’s budding college career; she finished second at the George Kyte Invitational in the season opener two weeks ago in Flagstaff.  The tall, lanky frosh from Sweden has been a welcome addition to the women’s team, ranked No. 5 in the nation.

“Maria is really a super freshman,” says James Li, the associate head coach who works with the middle distance and cross country runners.  “We’re so happy to have her here and she really elevates the team.”

On the men’s side, it was Northern Arizona that infiltrated the top five spots, after the Cats swept the first three places. Again, it was a freshman making the most of the day as Collins Kibet won the Division I event, covering the 4.25-mile race in a time of 21:29.89.  Second place went to junior Sam Macaluso, who clocked 21:34.01 in his season debut, and junior Kenji Bierig came in third at 21:58.23 to mark his season debut as well.

“Collins’ first win as a Wildcat, and as a freshman… it’s great,” said Wi.  “It wasn’t a particularly competitive race, but it was great for him to win, and next time will be a much bigger test for him and the rest of our team.”  The Cats will participate in the Griak Invitational next Saturday in Minneapolis.

The next two places for the men went to Northern Arizona, as freshman Andy Trouard finished fourth and junior Cody Reed was fifth.

Arizona won the men’s team competition with the same score the women posted, 19 pooints, and were followed by NAU with 45 points, the No. 28-ranked Sun Devils with 69, and GCU with 99.

Arizona State hasn’t been to the Dave Murray for a couple of years.  The Devils’ men’s team made the trip to Tucson in 2011, when they finished in second place.  Over the years, the Sun Devils have won four team titles, split evenly between the men’s and women’s teams.  They pulled off a sweep by both teams back in 2008.

But this was Arizona’s year to play stingy host, and the Cats  took advantage of the only meet they will host during the 2013 cross country season.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics)