BUFFS HEAD TO NORMAN FOR BIG 12 TRACK & FIELD
Quickly...The University of Colorado track & field team heads to Norman, Okla., for the Eighth Annual Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships at John Jacobs Field at the University of Oklahoma. The meet gets underway on Thursday, April 29, and runs through Saturday, May 1. Colorado is sending 32 of it's finest the Sooner State, including past champions Dathan Ritzenhein and Sara Slattery. This marks the first time the meet has been held at the University of Oklahoma.
Buffs at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships...A year ago, the Buffalo men were seventh and the women eighth with two Buffaloes claiming individual titles. Historically, the Buffs have finished as high as fourth in the Big 12 meet. In 2000 the Buff women actually finished higher at the NCAA Championships (8th) than they did at the Big 12 Championships (9th).
Men Women Men NCAA Women NCAA
1997 8th 4th t-44th t-14th
1998 6th 7th 14th 22nd
1999 5th 6th t-22nd t-35th
2000 10th 9th t-53rd t-8th
2001 8th 10th t-25th t-35th
2002 8th 6th 9th 17th
2003 7th 8th t-65th t-39th
From an individual perspective, the Buffaloes have claimed 11 women's titles and nine men's in Big 12 competition, including a CU record six overall two years ago:
1,500 Meter Run Adam Goucher, 1998*; Jorge Torres, 2002*
5,000 Meter Run Adam Goucher, 1997, 98*; Ron Roybal, 1999; Dathan Ritzenhein, 2002*; Jorge Torres, 2003
3,000 Meter Steeplechase Steve Slattery, 2001, 02
100 Meter Hurdles Hannah Cooper, 2002
1,500 Meter Run Shayne Wille, 1997; Kara Grgas-Wheeler, 2000*
3,000 Meters Shayne Wille, 1997; Jennifer Smith, 1998
3,000 Meter Steeplechase Lesley Higgins, 2002
5,000 Meter Run Sara Gorton, 2002*; Sara Gorton, 2003
10,000 Meter Run Jen Gruia, 1998; Tera Moody, 2000
Heptathlon Heather Sterlin, 1997
Making Marks In Field Events...CU's field events athletes have been doing some damage on the school all-time best lists this season. Anna Magle's high jump of 5-8 is the fifth best in school history...Liza Negriff's triple jump season best of 39-08.00 is the third-best mark in school history and makes her the second-best triple jumper in school history behind record holder Udie Ekiko, who owns the top jump of 40-2.
Conspicuously Absent, Until Now...Sara Gorton is not gone. She's just Sara Slattery now after marrying former CU steeple standout and former Big 12 Champion Steve Slattery in January. She made her 2003-04 season debut on April 24 at CSU's Jack Christensen Invitational, running a rust-buster 1,500. She'll attempt to defend her Big 12 5,000 meter title this weekend in Norman in her first competitive 5K since taking third at the NCAA's last June.
Been There, Done That...Twenty of CU's athletes this weekend are making return trips to the Big 12 Championships, and 12 of those have scored points for Colorado on at least one occasion. This year the Buffs are bringing 32 student-athletes to Norman, meaning 12 of them are outdoor meet rookies.
Everybody's All-Americans...CU's got five of them back for this season in Dathan Ritzenhein, Sara Slattery and Renee Metivier. Ritz has been an All-American several times, as has Gorton. Metivier earned AA status in the indoor mile this past spring.
Titleists...Not so much the golf balls as CU Buffs this season with an NCAA title. The magic number this year is zero with an outdoor title, however sophomore Dathan Ritzenhein won the men's cross country national title in 2003 and sophomore Sara Slattery won the women's indoor 5,000 meter NCAA title in Arkansas in 2003.
The Man...The Myth...The Reality...is that Mark Wetmore is a proven success in collegiate track & field coaching when it comes to his distance runners. He comes to Norman having guided 12 athletes to NCAA titles, including Olympians Adam Goucher (cross 1998, indoor 3K in 1997 and 1998, outdoor 5K in 1998) and Alan Culpepper (outdoor 5K in 1996), recent grad Kara Grgas-Wheeler (2000 outdoor 3K and 5K and NCAA cross), Jodie Hughes in the indoor 5K in 2001, Sara Gorton in the indoor 5K this year and Jorge Torres in men's cross country in 2002 and Dathan Ritzenhein in 2003.