Buffs Head To Nationals
BOULDER - The University of Colorado is sending a trio of Buffaloes to the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships hosted by Texas A&M University this Friday and Saturday, March 13-14 in College Station, Texas.
Seniors Jenny Barringer, Jeremy Dodson and Kenyon Neuman will look to earn their first indoor All-American honors as Buffaloes. This is Neuman's first trip to the indoor championship, while Barringer raced in 2007 and Dodson ran in 2006 as a member of the University of Arkansas team.
All three rank in the top six in their respective events and have had the opportunity to preview the track as Texas A&M hosted the Big 12 Championship just two weeks ago, which should give a little edge to the Buffs.
"Being high on the list means you ran pretty fast and that's better than if you barely made it in and having seen the facility makes some difference because there are subtle differences between 200-meter banked tracks, that maybe more important to Jeremy than the distance runners," Colorado Head Coach Mark Wetmore said. "The banking and the shape of the turns and the lengths of the straight-aways is critical to a 200-meter runner. I don't know if this track meets Jeremy's style better than another one, but it is to his advantage to have seen the track when most of his competitors have not."
Dodson will open the meet for the Buffs on Friday in the 200-meter dash. He ran a season-best mark of 20.88 seconds at the Air Force Invitational on Feb. 14. His time is the fastest in CU history and he is the only Buff to ever run the 200m in under 21 seconds. Dodson has done that twice as he clocked 20.95 in the finals of the Big 12 Championship to place second.
He ranks fifth in the nation heading into nationals. The semi-finals are at 6:45 p.m. (CST). The finals are at 8:10 p.m. the same evening.
In between the 200m semis and finals, Neuman will compete in the 5,000-meter run. He earned a time of 13 minutes, 41.66 seconds at the Husky Classic on Feb. 14 and became the third fastest Buffalo in the indoor 5k in the process. Neuman ran in the outdoor 5k race at the 2008 NCAA meet and placed seventh overall. Knowing what he is capable of doing from the outdoor championship, he will definitely look to better that finish.
Neuman ranks sixth in his event out of the 14 declared. Oregon's Galen Rupp has the best time in the country at 13:18.12, which is also the American record. Neuman will race at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
On Saturday, Barringer will be the lone Buff competing in the 3,000-meter run. She ranks No. 1 on the descending order list with a time of 8:53.88. Barringer's time is a CU record as she bettered Sara (Gorton) Slattery's mark of 9:07.16 and became the first Buff to finish the race in less than nine minutes.
This season Barringer has set two collegiate records in the mile (4:25.91) and the 5k (15:01.71). The 3k record could be just around the corner for her but she will have to beat Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego's time of 8:48.77, which was set earlier this season.
Kipyego will not be racing in the 3k, so Barringer's mark is the best in the field and it's safe to say she will have a target on her back given her performances already this season. Florida State's Susan Kuijken has the second best time in the field at 9:05.70.
"There is no doubt than any opponent would be excited to beat her," Wetmore said. "I don't think she spends a lot time thinking about that."
The championship will be streamed live on ESPN360.com both days. To access ESPN360 visit www.ESPN360.com. Click on the FAQs link for software and system requirements, etc. Anyone with an .edu e-mail address is able to obtain access to ESPN360 for free.
ESPN2 will air a 90-minute show on Monday, March 23 at 12:30 p.m. (MST).
It is quite possible that Colorado could come out of this meet with three All-Americans if they all perform as well as they did to get to the championship.
2009 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship
Gilliam Track & Field Stadium at the McFerrin Athletic Center (College Station, Texas)
Schedule (CU Athletes Only)
Friday, March 13
6:45 p.m. (CST): Men's 200-meter dash prelims
7:30 p.m. (CST): Men's 5,000-meter run finals
8:10 p.m. (CST): Men's 200-meter dash finals
Saturday, March 14
6:40 p.m. (CST): Women's 3,000-metr run finals