Cross Country Cracks Rankings at No. 17

Oct. 20, 2009

TUCSON - The UA women’s cross country team jumped into the top-25 for the first time since 2001, coming in at No. 17 in the most recent rankings released by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coach’s Association on Tuesday.


It was the highest rank in the polls for the Wildcats since entering the 2001 NCAA Championships ranked ninth in the country.  They would go on to finish fourth there, led by one of Arizona’s all-time greats in Amy Skieresz who took home the individual national title that year.


The women were propelled forward by an impressive sixt- place finish in their respective race at this past weekend's NCAA Pre-National Invitational.  The team entered the meet unranked and competing against 18 of the top 30 teams in the country.  Despite being the underdogs, the squad put together the 12th-best overall time of all schools in competition.


The ranking is perhaps made more impressive by the fact that there are no seniors on the team and only three returning members from last year’s squad.  Through three races, the team as been led by junior Maggie Callahan – the only upperclassman on the squad.  Callahan finished the 6000-meter course in Terre Haute, Ind. – also the site of the 2009 NCAA Championships – in a personal record time of 21:06.2 and has been a consistent force throughout the season for the Wildcats.


Below Callahan in terms of seniority are the name-sharing pair of Hanna Henson and Hannah Moen and then a deep class of freshman, whose depth has surely helped pushed the ‘Cats into the rankings.


In all three of the season’s races, freshmen have finished in three of the five scoring positions for the Wildcats and are headed by high school Footlocker finalist Lauren Smith who has been the second Wildcat across the line in the last two races.  Cami Jackson, Jennifer Bergman and Elizabeth Apgar have also made their presence known as the season has gone on.


The Wildcats will enter next weekend’s Pac-10 Championships ranked fourth in the West Region behind the unanimous national No. 1 Washington, No. 8 Oregon and No. 12 Stanford.  The ‘Cats hope to improve upon last year’s 7th place finish at the meet and continue to move up the national leaderboard heading up to the NCAA West Regional Championships in November.


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