Men 7th, Women 23rd At NCAA's
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The University of Colorado men placed seventh and the women finished 23rd at the 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championships held Monday on the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course at the Wabash Family Valley Sports Center.
Colorado's second-ranked men were led by senior Brent Vaughn who earned his third cross country All-America honor by placing fifth overall. Vaughn, the 2007 Big 12 Conference individual champion, finished the 10-kilometer course in 29 minutes, 27.4 seconds.
"I would say that I had an average day today," Vaughn said. "As a team we didn't do to well, which is kind of disappointing, but we had an okay day. The course was a little slow; I think the ground may have been a little softer than people expected. When we came through 5K, I think that people thought they were slow when in fact I think we were going at a decent pace."
Vaughn finished just 25 seconds off the pace as Josh McDougal of Liberty took top individual honors with a time of 29:22.4. Vaughn was also the top finisher among Big 12 runners.
Top-ranked Oregon won the men's team title with 85 points, well ahead of second place Iona (113). Oklahoma State was third (180) as Northern Arizona (190), Wisconsin (239), Alabama (280) and the Buffaloes (287) round out the top seven.
"Obviously we set the bar high for ourselves; we wanted to come in and win," Vaughn said on behalf of the three-time NCAA team champions. "Oregon had an incredible day today and we just didn't have it. They ran better than we did and they deserved it. I think we had a pretty good run with two titles in three years. I would have liked to have a third but maybe we can do well this outdoor track season."
Colorado's Jenny Barringer led the 22nd ranked women with her second-straight national runner-up performance as she completed the 6K race in 19:49.7. Texas Tech's Sally Kiyego repeated as national champion with a course-record 19:30.9. Her time eclipsed the previous mark of 19:49.3 set by Barringer at the pre-nationals race on Oct. 13. It's the fourth career sub-20 minute 6K for Barringer who was also the 2007 Big 12 and Mountain Region runner-up.
Barringer, claiming her second cross country All-America honor, took an aggressive approach to Monday's race allowing her to close the gap with the Texas Tech junior. Kiyego won last year's title at LaVern by 28 seconds, but her margin narrowed to 17 in this race.
"Coming into this thing I knew that I wanted to go for it and I wanted to risk it more than I have ever before because second isn't good enough for me," Barringer said. "I wanted to do better than last year and really challenge Kipeygo in this race today, so it was and interesting balance because when I went up that last 2K, I thought I could sit here and hopefully out-kick these women for second and that may be the outcome anyway with a little less effort, but I came into this race wanting to risk it all and I felt like I did that. I moved earlier than I ever have, had a little less in the last 500 meters than ever, so coming out of this I am really proud of all of the hard work I have put in. I'm not as disappointed as people think."
"I am closing the gap (with Sally) and that is because she is getting better and I am getting better and I don't think I wouldn't be as good as I am if I didn't have as good of competition as I do."
"I went out very conservatively," Sara Vaughn said. "I think I was 120th at the mile and I kind of got trapped. I didn't panic and I just started to move up when I could move. At 3K I was about 60th and I just kept trying to move up. I felt really good at 4K and continued to move. I made my move earlier than normal and passed a lot of people in the last 2K. This is my first appearance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. This was the first really big race that I have run and it was really great to be an All-American. I was very excited."
Stanford won the women's team title with 145 points, keeping Pac-10 Conference rival Oregon from sweeping the men's and women's races, which Colorado did in 2004. Oregon was second with 177 followed by Florida State (236), Arizona State (251) and Michigan State (321). CU's 23rd place team finish is the lowest during its current 16-year stretch of qualifying the entire team for the national meet.
"The women's team in general struggled this year," CU head coach Mark Wetmore said. "We had some injuries which are most likely to be my fault. We knew that we would be relying on some new people and I may have pushed them too hard to bring them around to NCAA caliber running. We had some people we had to sit out. We just have to go back to work and start from ground zero in a couple of weeks."
Senior Stephen Pifer wrapped up his CU cross country career with his fourth NCAA All-America honor. Pifer placed 34th overall with a time of 29:48. Sophomore Kenyon Neuman was 87th at 31:03 while junior Bradley Harkrader was 92nd at 31:05.
"The pace was slow up front and I should have been up near it, but I was too far back when the move was made and I wasn't able to catch up," Pifer said. "I held too far back. It is bittersweet to go out like this. It is tough to be on top every year and now it makes me appreciate the wins that we have."
"They (the men) had some race plans that they didn't even execute for the first five minutes of the race," Wetmore said. "We talked about that and recognized that and we aren't really sure how that happened that the plans they have been good at executing in the past were not this time. If we are not on the podium, it is a bad year for us the way we emphasis distance running."
The women will return all but one on their roster for next year while the men will return five. The women suffered several injuries in the 2007 season, but should return strong in 2008.
2007 NCAA CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Terre Haute, Ind.
Lavern Gibson Cross Country Course
Wabash Valley Family Sports Center
MEN'S TEAM TOP-10 10K RESULTS (of 31 teams):
1. Oregon, 85; 2. Iona, 113; 3. Oklahoma State, 180; 4. Northern Arizona, 190; 5. Wisconsin, 239; 6. Alabama, 280; 7. Colorado, 287; 8. Minnesota, 322; 9. Louisville, 324; 10. UTEP, 331.
MEN'S TOP-10 INDIVIDUAL FINISHERS:
1. Josh McDougal, Liberty, 29:22.4; 2. Galen Rupp, Oregon, 29:23.4; 3. Lopez Lomong, Northern Arizona, 29:45.5; 4. Robert Curtis, Villanova, 29:46.3; 5. Brent Vaughn, CU, 29:47.4; 6. Jacob Korir, Eastern Kentucky, 29:48.7; 7. Shadrack Songok, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 29:50.1; 8. David Kinsella, Portland, 29:52.2; 9. Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwot, Oregon, 29:55.9; 10. David McNeill, Northern Arizona, 29:56.8.
OTHER COLORADO FINISHERS:
WOMEN'S 6K RESULTS (of 31 teams):
1. Stanford, 145; 2. Oregon, 177; 3. Florida State, 236; 4. Arizona State, 251; 5. Michigan State 321; 6. Illinois, 331; 7. Northern Arizona, 357; 8. Washington, 358; 9. West Virginia, 375; 10. Iowa, 387.
23. Colorado, 479.
WOMEN'S TOP-10 INDIVIDUAL FINISHERS:
1. Sally Kiyego, Texas Tech, 19:30.9; 2. Jenny Barringer, CU, 19:49.7; 3. Susan Kuijken, Florida State, 19:57.3; 4. Diane Nukuri, Iowa, 20:07.0; 5. Nicole Bush, Michigan State, 20:13.4; 6. Emily Harrison, Virginia, 20:15.0; 7. Barbara Parker, Florida State, 20:17.0; 8. Nicole Blood, Oregon, 20:17.6; 9. Arianna Lambie, Stanford, 20:18.2; 10. Melissa Grelli, Georgetown, 20:19.6.
OTHER COLORADO FINISHERS: