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Vaughn, Slattery Sweep Big 12 5k

May 15, 2005

MANHATTAN, Kan.- University of Colorado distance runners Brent Vaughn (Aurora, Colo./Smoky Hill) and Sara Slattery punctuated the last day of the ninth annual Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships as both won their respective 5,000-m races in meet and track records at Kansas State's R.V. Christian Track Complex here Sunday.  It is the third time that CU has won both outdoor 5k conference championships, as Slattery and Dathan Ritzenhein won in 2002, and Slattery and Jorge Torres in '03.


            Vaughn's time of 13 minutes, 53.10 seconds betters the previous meet mark of 13:56.21 set in 2002 by former teammate Dathan Ritzenhein and the previous 25-year-old track record set by former Buff Mark Scrutton (14:15.41) in 1980.  Slattery, who ran 15:58.58, betters her own meet record of 16:11.83, also set in 2002 and the 20-year-old track mark of 16:04.62 set by Oklahoma State's Christine McMiken in 1985.  It's the second straight season that a single individual has swept the women's 5 and 10,000-m distances, as Texas A&M's Melissa Gulli did it a year ago in Norman, Okla.


            The Texas Tech men won their first-ever Big 12 Outdoor title with 149.50 points, pulling 13.5 points ahead of defending champion Nebraska (136) on the final day.  Texas finished third (100.50) and the CU men finished seventh with 48 points, their best showing since a sixth-place effort in 2002.  The Nebraska women won their second Big 12 trophy with 126.66 points, first since 2000, while two-time defending champion Texas finished second with 117. Texas Tech (95) was third.  With 50 points, Colorado finished ninth for a second straight year.


            Colorado had eight runners of the men's 43-man field with Vaughn leading a 1-3-7 scoring contingent of Bret Schoolmeester (14:14.89) and Jon Severy (14:21.47) for 18 points. In his second final of the day, Stephen Pifer finished just out of scoring position, ninth in a pr 14:32.26 in his first ever 5k, followed by James Strang who finished 12th in 14:37.01.  Also pulling double duty Sunday, Billy Nelson (14:46.09) was 16th, Pete Janson (16:02.03), 43rd while Erik Heinonen (14:49.56) 20th and Matt McCue (14:59.41), 28th.


            With earning points first in Vaughn's mind, not far in second was avenging a loss during the Big 12 Cross Country Championships to Kansas' Benson Chesang, who outkicked Vaughn in nearby Topeka, Kan. for the win at the end of October. Vaughn led the race from the opening gun with Chesang (13:59.74) on his shoulder the entire race until pulling away in the final 700-m for the nearly 6-second win.  Vaughn, Schoolmeester and Severy never strayed from the top10 with Schoolmeester and Severy in the chase pack after Vaughn and Benson pulled away with seven laps remaining.


            "I remember what he (Chesang) did in cross country and I wasn't going to let him go," said Vaughn.  "We've definitely raced each other a lot and have had some good battles over the years and look forward to many more.


            "It was important for the team to have a good day.  Mark (head coach Mark Wetmore) said to keep it consistent and keep it fast and don't let it come down to a kick.  The team really needed a boost today.  It was a tough day today and we needed a lift going into the (NCAA) championship season."


            Like Vaughn, Slattery led her race from the opening gun and like Friday night's 10k race, it was all Slattery, all the time. And like the men's race, Slattery led a 1-3-6 contingent of Christine Bolf and Renee Metivier in the early running with Natalie Florence in the second chase pack.  Three laps in CU owned three of the top four places before Slattery took off against the clock three laps later.  With five to go Metivier had moved into second, Bolf sixth and Florence 14th.  At that point, a left foot injury consumed Metivier who still managed to finish ninth in an NCAA regional qualifying mark of 16:50.80 in her first 5k of the season, with Bolf a pair of places ahead of her finishing seventh in 16:44.71.  Coming off a steeplechase runner-up finish just hours before, Florence finished 13th in 17:16.76.


            Slattery's win was her third outdoor 5k title, fifth outdoor crown and ninth league championship on the track since she arrived on the Boulder campus in 2000, "I had never won two races in one meet as an individual.  I cherish outdoor track more than indoor, so it was a good way to end," said Slattery.  "It was one of the more difficult races I've run, especially coming back from a 10k Friday night.  You never know how you're going to feel going into a race and I definitely felt like I was running with spaghetti legs, but I warmed up as the race went on.  Combined with the heat and a 10k before, it took more out of me than I would have thought."


            The women's triple jump and women's shot put were the first events on the schedule Sunday.  The Buffs came up short of scoring any points in either as all four athletes failed to advance to the finals in their respective disciplines.  Sophomore Amberly Casey set a new pr in the long jump, reaching 11.96m (39-3.00) on her second leap, but the effort was good for 13th, just ahead of teammate Liza Negriff whose 11.85m (38-10.50) leap on her first attempt was 14th in the final standings.  In the women's discus, Carly Newlands finished 16th on a 44.18m (144-11) toss while Cortney Hutmacher (42.13m (138-3)) finished 19th.


            Four one-hundredths of a second and a photo finish separated the top three teams in the first heat of the men's 4x100-m relay, as CU's team of Chris Abuan, Sam Napp, Eric Lee-O'Brien and George Pincock finished third in that heat in a season best 41.12, the 10th fastest time in CU history, seventh overall to pick up a pair of points for the CU men.

The Buffs were leading the race at the first handoff and were second when the baton got to Lee-O'Brien.  Pincock battled both Iowa State and Kansas' anchor legs to the finish.


            While Colorado picked up a combined 17 points out of the women's and men's steeplechase races, both resulted in personal disappointment.  Natalie Florence matched her 2002 runner-up finish in the event in a pr 10 minutes, 16.25 seconds and bettered her fifth place league ranking entering the event and taking over third place on CU's all-time performance list in the event.  She opened in the lead pack of six runners, which quickly dwindled to Oklahoma State's Barbora Kuncova running alone with Florence in the chase pack.  She methodically moved into second with three laps remaining and while she closed the gap on the bell lap going into the final water barrier and hurdle, it wasn't enough to catch Kuncova who won in 10:14.89, bettering the meet record set by CU's Lesley Higgins (10:26.16) in 2002 and destroyed the track record by over a minute. In her last race, Kendall Grgas-Wheeler finished in 12th in 11:22.11.


            "I pr'd by almost seven seconds, but I wanted to win," said Florence.  "She (Kuncova) was up 4 seconds with 800-m to go and just 1 at the end, so it was almost a really good day.  I'm happy with my time, but I would like to have won.  Nine points for the team is almost as good as 10."


            Entering the men's steeple, the Buffs owned the league and third leading time this season in Billy Nelson and Pete Janson, but the duo who were 1-2 after the first three laps finished third and sixth.  The lead was exchanged between Nelson, Texas' Zach Zeller and Texas Tech's Haron Lagat over the next four-plus laps with Nelson leading as late as the last three.  On the bell lap, UT's Jeff Cutrer joined Zeller up front where the two finished 1-2, followed by Nelson (8:53.01, Lagat and Janson (8:55.49), whose finish bettered his 2004 seventh-place effort.  Payton Batliner, who was in the chase pack the entire race, ran a 13-second pr 9:10.85 in his first steeple of the season and finished 11th.


            The only Buffs to advance out of "preliminary Saturday", Christine Bolf and Stephen Pifer finished fourth and sixth in Sunday's 1,500-m finals. In her first 1,500-m conference final, Bolf was fourth after the first lap and inched up to third after the second behind Nebraska's Anne Shadle and Missouri's Amanda Bales.  At the bell lap Tech's Brionee Yosten had edged Bolf who finished fourth in 4:25.56.  Preliminary heat winner Pifer was third to start the men's race behind eventual race runner-up Christian Smith of K-State and Nebraska's Peter van der Westhuizen, who he had edged Saturday.  Pifer took the lead going into the third lap and held on to that lead heading into the final loop when Texas' Leonel Manzano took over the race as did several other runners, dropping Pifer to sixth place in 3:48.30.


            In the final two field events of the day, Zach Hazen finished eighth in the second flight of the men's discus, 19th overall with a toss of 48.10m (157-10) while Andy Miller (2.05m (6-8.75)) finished 13th in the high jump.


            In the final race of the championships, CU's men's 4x400-m relay team of Pincock, Jason Zichterman, Nate Terry and Chris Abuan ran a season best and NCAA regional qualifying time of 3:09.43 to finish second in the first section, fifth overall.


            The Big 12 Championships will be televised, taped delayed, on FSN Rocky Mountain Saturday, May 21 at 11 a.m. (MT).


            Next up for the Buffs will be the NCAA Midwest Regional, May 27-28 in Norman, Okla.  Nineteen Buffs have qualified, including Austin Baillie (5,000-m), Payton Batliner (5, 10k), Anthony Chiulli (1,500-m), Zach Hazen (hammer), Pete Janson (1,500-m, Steeplechase), Andy Miller (high jump), Billy Nelson (Steeplechase, 5k), Stephen Pifer (1,500-m), Bret Schoolmeester (5k, 10k), James Strang (5k) and Brent Vaughn (1,500-m, 5k) from the men's team and Christine Bolf (1,500-m, 5k), Amberly Casey (long jump), Natalie Florence (steeplechase, 5k), Anna Magle (high jump), Renee Metivier (steeplechase), Liza Negriff (triple jump), Carly Newlands (shot put), Sara Slattery (1,500-m) and Hannah Warfield-Ruffato (javelin) from the women's. Qualifying Sunday was CU's men's 4x400-m relay team of George Pincock, Jason Zichterman, Nate Terry and Chris Abuan.


            Schoolmeester, Jon Severy, Bolf and Slattery have also qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 10,000-m.



R.V. Christian Track Complex (Manhattan, Kan.)

MEN'S TEAM SCORES (FINAL): 1. Texas Tech, 149.50-points; 2. Nebraska, 136; 3. Texas, 100.50; 4. Kansas, 85; 5. Kansas State, 71; 6. Texas A&M, 52.50; 7. COLORADO, 48; 7. Iowa State, 48; 9. Missouri, 44.50; 10. Oklahoma, 41; 11. Baylor, 37; 12. Oklahoma State, 5.


WOMEN'S TEAM SCORES (FINAL): 1. Nebraska, 126.66-points; 2. Texas, 117; 3. Texas Tech, 95; 4. Baylor, 86; 5. Kansas State, 79; 6. Kansas, 69; 7. Missouri, 50; 7. Oklahoma State, 55; 9. COLORADO, 50; 10. Texas A&M, 36; 11. Iowa State, 29; 12. Oklahoma, 21.33.


Women's 1,500-m (final): 4. Christine Bolf, 4:25.56

Women's 3,000-m Steeplechase (final): 2. Natalie Florence, 10:16.35; 12. Kendall Grgas-Wheeler, 11:22.11

Women's 5,000-m Run (final): 1. Sara Slattery, 15:58.58; 7. Christine Bolf, 16:44.71; 9. Renee Metivier, 16:50.80; 13. Natalie Florence, 17:16.76;

Women's Triple Jump (final): 13. Amberly Casey, 11.96m (39-3.00); 14. Liza Negriff, 11.85m (38-10.50)

Women's Discus (final): 16. Carly Newlands, 44.18m (144-11)l; 19. Cortney Hutmacher, 42.13m (138-3)


Men's 400-m Relay (final): 7. Abuan/Napp/Lee-O'Brien/Pincock, 41.12

Men's 1,600-m Relay (final): 5. Pincock/Zichterman/Terry/Abuan, 3:09.43

Men's 1,500-m (final): 6. Stephen Pifer, 3:48.30

Men's 3,000-m Steeplechase (final): 3. Billy Nelson, 8:53.01; 6. Pete Janson, 8:55.49; 11. Payton Batliner, 9:10.85

Men's 5,000-m (final): 1. Brent Vaughn, 13:53.01; 3. Bret Schoolmeester, 14:14.89; 7. Jon Severy, 14:21.47; 9. Stephen Pifer, 14:32.26; 12. James Strang, 14:37.01; 16. Billy Nelson, 14:46.09; 20. Erik Heinonen, 14:49.56; 28. Matt McCue, 14:49.41; 43. Pete Janson, 16:02.03

Men's High Jump (final): 13. Andy Miller, 2.05m (6-8.75)

Men's Discus (final): 19. Zach Hazen, 48.10m (157-10)