Men's Cross Country Earns Bid to NCAA Championships

Nov. 18, 2003

The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced the team and individual qualifiers for the 2003 Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships on Monday. The University of Arizona's men's cross country team was awarded an at-large bid to the meet after a third-place finish at the NCAA West Regional on November 15.

The Wildcats will be among 31 teams to compete at the NCAA Championships in Waterloo, Iowa on Monday, November 24. The meet will take place at the Irv G. Warren Golf Course, with the men's 10k championship race scheduled to start at 11 a.m. CT.

The squad was one of 13 teams to receive an at-large bid to this year's championships. Five other teams from the West Region, as well as three other Pac-10 teams will join the Wildcats. Stanford and Cal Poly earned the automatic bids at the NCAA West Regional Championships on November 15. Arizona, Washington, Oregon and Portland received at-large bids.

The Wildcat men have been led by freshman Robert Cheseret throughout the 2003 season. The young runner from Kapsabet, Kenya has finished no lower than third in any meet this season. Cheseret took individual honors at the Dave Murray Invitational and the Arizona State University Invitational. He claimed runner-up honors at the Roy Griak Invitational and at the NCAA Pre-Nationals. Cheseret placed third at the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA West Regional Championships. He has never been more than three seconds off of the eventual winner, making him a contender for the individual title on November 24.

A strong supporting cast throughout the 2003 season has joined Cheseret. Junior Jonah Maiyo has been a strong addition to the Wildcat squad this season after transferring from Central Arizona. Maiyo has been the consistent No. 2 runner for the team, including a season's best fifth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships. Seniors Kyle Goklish, Matt McInvale and Eric Bohn, along with junior Mike Howard have been a lot of help in the third through sixth spots. Sophomore Jin Daikoku closes out the top seven runners for the Wildcats with the potential to jump right into the fray with the rest of the squad.

The Wildcats only team title came in the season opener at the UC Irvine Invitational, where both the UA men and women claimed top team honors. Arizona played host to the Dave Murray Invitational for the second meet on the schedule, in which no team scoring was recorded. The Wildcats used a sixth-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational to jump into the MONDO national rankings for the first time during the 2003 season.

Arizona finished second at the ASU Invitational behind the rival Sun Devils. The UA men used a strong fifth-place performance at the NCAA Pre-Nationals to jump to a season-high ranking at No. 14. The Wildcats used a fourth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships and a third-place NCAA West Regional finish to secure the at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.

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