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Gorton Gets CU 5K Record

Apr 17, 2003

WALNUT, Calif. - The Mt. SAC Relays always seem to be good to the Colorado Buffaloes distance group. Thursday night was no exception as several Buffs, led by sophomore Sara Gorton, earned personal bests and NCAA regional qualifying marks.

"It's hard to look back on Mt. SAC the night of the races because there's so much that happens it's easy to miss things," said CU head coach Mark Wetmore. "In general I'd say it was a very successful night. We got what we came for and what we always expect at Mt. SAC, which are big personal bests and NCAA qualifying marks."

Gorton provided the highlight of the evening for Colorado, running the fourth-best collegiate 5,000 meter run time in history with her time of 15:24.97. She took third behind Ethiopian Ejegayehu Dibaba and Stanford senior Lauren Fleshman, earning a new personal best and school record in the process. She bettered the mark of 15:28.79, set on the same track by Kara Wheeler in 2000.

"Coming in I feel like I'm in really good shape, and I'm having good workouts and good races coming in so I just wanted to come out here and race," said Gorton. "I knew that there were going to be some great girls in my race, so I just wanted to come in and see if could hang with the girls and then see what I could do, and it just felt great. We went out and negative split the whole thing and it felt really awesome."

"What do I say about Sara, I don't know," said Wetmore. "It's really beyond comment. I really don't know what to think of it. She ran 15:39 indoors and I knew that she'd be fitter than that now and that the conditions would be good here. She beat some excellent athletes, huge PR, huge school record and is an indication of what a wonderful athlete she is. She's just a sophomore and I don't know what our school record is going to be when she leaves. If she says calm and patient and doesn't let the attention and expectation of the public disturb her, she is going to be one of the great American distance runners."

Hannah Warfield-Ruffato was the only champion at the meet for Colorado, throwing the javelin 150.05 in the last event of the night. She led throughout the competition, only to fall behind when Erin Merriman of Stanford threw 144-08 with Warfield-Ruffato trailing with just one throw left. Her final throw yielded a personal best and is the fourth-best in school history.

"We ended the day on a really great note with Hannah's throw," said Wetmore. "Her event was delayed due to rain, but she came out and took the lead and held it until the last round and in the last throw 'pr's' by a meter. She has the honor of being the Mt. SAC champion and it was fun to see her so excited to compete so well in a big meet."

The Buffs opened up the meet with three-straight Buffs coming up just shy of NCAA regional qualifying marks. Christine Bolf's time of 17:03.53 in the university/open heat of the women's 5,000 meters was just 3.53 short of the qualifying mark of 17:00. That was followed up by Casey Burchill's second place finish in 14:26.76, just 1.76 shy of the men's 5,000 qualifying mark of 14:25. Kendall Grgas-Wheeler was ninth in the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase, finishing in 11:01.79 and just 1.79 out of the NCAA meet.

In the men's 10,000 meters, Jon Severy and walk-on Matt McCue provided two solid races. Severy ran a personal best of 30:18.48, while McCue also ran a PR of 30:38.86.

"Jon Severy run his first 10,000 in two years and hoped to run a big pr and he did," said Wetmore. "He was very sick two weeks ago and lost 10 days of training, so I'm very satisfied with his race. Matt McCue ran a much faster race than I expected, I hoped for under 31 and he ran under 30:40. I know he's really excited about it. It indicates he can score for the team at the conference meet which is what he wanted to do since he came to CU."

That was followed by the men's 5,000 meters university open heat featuring CU freshmen Bill Nelson and Bret Schoolmeester. Nelson was third in a time of 14:02.39, while Schoolmeester was ninth in 14:10.26. It marked Nelson's first race since the World Cross Country Championships where he was the top junior American finisher.

"Bill sprained his ankle very badly when he got back from Switzerland, and has really only been training on it for about 10 days," said Wetmore. "He ran a great race tonight and continues to show that he is following in the footsteps of the CU greats. Bret, in his first-ever 5,000 meters also ran well and should continue to improve. They are two of the best freshmen in the country and both easily qualified for NCAA's."

Following the women's 5,000 invitational race featuring Gorton was the men's 5,000 invitational with Dathan Ritzenhein, who competed for just the second time in 10 months after sitting out cross country and indoors with a stress fracture. Ritzenhein was 12th in a time of 13:39.17, his second-best time.

"Dathan was in that race and he's been away for ten months," Wetmore said. "He wanted to run sub 13:30. I hoped he'd settle for 1340 splits early and accelerate down the stretch. He ran 13:39 on just 10 weeks of work, and I doubt there's anybody in the NCAA that is going to improve as much as he will."

The Buffaloes had four competitors in the final two races of the night, the invitational 10,000 meter runs. On the women's side, Molly Austin was the top finisher in third place with her time of 33:41.03. Brianna Torres was 10th in 34:47.38, followed by Natalie Florence in 12th with her time of 35:11.69. "That was a great run for Molly...she has been pretty tired since the U.S. cross championships," said Wetmore. "She's been doing a lot of resting, letting her well fill up, and the result of that rest was a very good race for her tonight when she hasn't had one since early February."

Ed Torres was also third in the 10,000 meters, doing so in a time of 28:55.41. Torres had to lead for much of the race before being overtaken in the last 3 kilometers by Jonnathan Morales of Mexico and Jason Hartman of Oregon.

"I think this is Ed's fifth race in a row that he's had to lead," said Wetmore. "He ran a good race and leading can sometimes be very difficult, but I'm satisfied and it got him into the NCAA championships and now he can go back and rest up."

Friday's action will include Chase Mullen, Jorge Torres, Chris Abuan, Jackie Ziegle and others as the Buffs compete in the Mt. SAC Middle Distance and 400 meter Carnival.

Mt. SAC Relays - Distance Carnival Results
Colorado Athletes Only
Women's 5,000 Meter Run University/Open
8. Christine Bolf, 17:03.53

Men's 5,000 Meter Run University/Open
2. Casey Burchill, 14:26.76

Women's 3,000 Meter Steeplechase University/Open
9. Kendall Grgas-Wheeler, 11:01.79

Men's 3,000 Meter Steeplechase University/Open
12. Payton Batliner, 9:23.71
17. Andy Knutsen, 9:42.64

Women's 10,000 Meter Run University/Open
7. Tera Moody, 35:54.07

Men's 10,000 Meter Run University/Open
15. Jon Severy, 30:18.48
25. Matt McCue, 30:38.86

Women 5,000 Meter Run Invitational
3. Sara Gorton, 15:24.97 (PR, CUR, NCAA)

Men's 5,000 Meter Run OD University/Open
3. Billy Nelson, 14:02.39 (NCAA)
9. Bret Schoolmeester, 14:10.26 (NCAA)

Men's 5,000 Meter Run Invitational
12. Dathan Ritzenhein, 13:39.17 (NCAA)

Women's 10,000 Meter Run Invitational
3. Molly Austin, 33:41.03
(NCAA) 10. Brianna Torres, 34:47.38
12. Natalie Florence, 35:11.69

Men's 10,000 Meter Run Invitational
2. Ed Torres, 28:55.41 (NCAA)

Women's Javelin
1. Hannah Warfield-Ruffato, 150-05