2014 CU Track & Field Outlook
The 2013-14 University of Colorado track and field season looks to be another exciting one. A small part of the team started competing in December, but the majority of the team will start in January.
Similar to the past, CU will host three home meets. The Potts Indoor Invitational (January 17-18) is the only indoor home meet the Buffs will host, but they will host a pair of outdoor meets, the Jerry Quiller Classic, March 21-22, and the Colorado Invitational, April 11-12.
Colorado has solidified its position as one of the top distance programs in the country under the direction of head coach Mark Wetmore and assistant coach Heather Burroughs. Both men and women had a great cross country season with the men winning their fourth NCAA title, as well as their third straight Pac-12 Championship. The women’s team was the runner-up at the Pac-12 Championship and took seventh at NCAAs.
The men’s side is stacked with returning talent and will be led by five-time All-American, three on the track, Joe Bosshard. He hasn’t competed on the track since 2011 when he picked up All-America honors in the outdoor 5k and 10k, but he received a sixth-year of eligibility to compete this season.
Other top returners for the Buffs include Pierce Murphy, Morgan Pearson and Blake Theroux. All three earned All-America status in cross country, and Murphy and Theroux have each scored for the Buffs at the Pac-12 Championships. Murphy was third last season in the 10k at conference, while Theroux was third in the steeplechase. Pearson redshirted the 2013 track season.
The depth goes beyond those four competitors. Hugh Dowdy was fourth in the steeplechase at Pac-12s and Ammar Moussa was close to scoring with an 11th-place finish in the 5k.
CU’s women are led by Olympian Shalaya Kipp. She became CU’s first four-time female cross country All-American last November, but is also a three-time All-American in the steeplechase, which includes the 2012 NCAA title. Kipp redshirted the 2013 season, but competed unattached during the year. She placed third at the USATF Outdoor Championships and went on to compete at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last August. Kipp has indoor and outdoor eligibility remaining.
Carrie Verdon has also scored for the Buffs, placing eighth at the Pac-12 Championships in the 5k as a freshman. Transfer Abby Levene and freshmen Erin Clark and Melanie Nun all had a solid cross country season and look to keep the success going this spring.
Coaches Wetmore and Burroughs have a talented group of middle distance runners as well. Jake Hurysz and Connor Winter will guide the small group and have the ability to run well at the shorter distances, as well as the longer distances. Hurysz placed fifth in the 1,500 at the Pac-12 Championships, while Winter was fourth in the 5k. Freshman All-American Ben Saarel will join the duo and looks to make an immediate impact on the team as he led CU at the NCAA Cross Country Championships with an eighth-place finish.
The women will be led by senior Elizabeth Tremblay in the middle distances, although she only has outdoor eligibility remaining. She is third on CU’s outdoor 800 list and will be looking to improve on that this season. Jenny DeSouchet redshirted the 2013 season, but looks to get back into action this spring after a successful cross country season.
Assistant coach Lindsey Malone is in her seventh year at the helm of the combined events and jumps program and has another talented group of athletes this year. The men’s side has a pair of seniors to lead the way in combined events athletes Jason DeWitt and Brock Emory. Both are on the verge of scoring at the indoor meet and Emory recorded an eighth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships in the decathlon. In the jumps, Mark Jones scored for the Buffs at both the indoor and outdoor conference meets. He was sixth at MPSFs and placed second at Pac-12s. He went on to compete at NCAAs, CU’s first high jumper since 1990, and tied for 21st overall. Jones currently ranks third in CU’s indoor and outdoor record book.
The women’s team is young, but they should do quite well with a pair of sophomores, Brittany Lewis and Abrianna Torres, leading the charge. Torres had a breakout season as a redshirt freshman last season. She placed fourth in the pentathlon at the MPSF Championships and then at the Pac-12 Championships, she placed third in the heptathlon and was seventh in the long jump. Lewis redshirted the 2013 season, but did well as a freshman, placing seventh in the pentathlon at MPSFs. Kelsey English also returns to the team and will lead the high jumpers. She placed fourth at MPSFs and was eighth at Pac-12s. English also advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary Championships last season and just missed advancing to nationals with a 13th-place finish.
Assistant coach Drew Morano is in his fifth season at the helm of the Buffalo sprinters. The men will be led by Tyler Baker, Blake Berens and Shaw Gifford. The trio has been part of the 4x400 relay which has performed well at indoor and outdoor conference meets. Individually, they are all looking to have a breakout season. Baker placed eighth in the 400-meter hurdles in 2012 at the Pac-12 Championships. Berens and Gifford haven’t scored points individually for the Buffs, but they are on the cusp of breaking through.
Eileen Gehring, CU’s outdoor 200 and 400-meter record holder, is back to lead the team. She recorded her first individual point for the team at the MPSF Championships with an eighth-place finish in the 200 last season. Lindsy Mattson will also help the women’s team. She ranks third in CU history in the 400 and is sixth in the 200. Mattson and Gehring have been members of the women’s 4x400 relay teams that have scored at both indoor and outdoor conference meets, as well as setting the CU record in the indoor 4x400 (3:43.52) last season.
Casey Malone, a two-time Olympian and two-time U.S. Discus Champion, is at the helm of the Buffs throwers for the 14th season. Over the course of the last few years, his team has made huge strides, qualifying for NCAAs and setting CU records.
Alex Kizirian and Brady Rutt look to lead the men’s team. Kizirian redshirted the entire 2013 season, but came out in the first meet of the 2014 season and recorded a school record of 67-02 in the weight throw. In 2012, Kizirian scored for CU at both indoor and outdoor conference meets. He was sixth in the weight throw at MPSFs and finished sixth in the hammer throw at Pac-12s. Rutt has scored for the Buffs in the past as well, including a fifth-place finish in the discus at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships. He just missed scoring during his sophomore campaign as he came in ninth overall.
The women are led by senior Emily Hunsucker. She set the school record of 207-10 in the hammer throw in 2013 and became the first female Buff since 1998 to compete at outdoor NCAAs. Hunsucker recorded a ninth-place finish at nationals, just one position away from scoring for the Buffs, although she did earn All-America Second Team honors with the finish.
THE MEET SCHEDULE
CU started the season early this year, competing at a couple meets in December before winter break. The teams will be back in action in the beginning of January at the Air Force All-Comers Meet on Jan. 11 before hosting the Potts Indoor Invitational Jan. 17-18. The Buffs will stay on the Front Range for most of the indoor season, but there will be a chance to head to Seattle for the UW Invitational (Jan. 31-Feb. 1) and the Husky Classic (Feb. 14-15). A group of athletes will also compete at the Don Kirby Collegiate Open (Feb. 14-15) in Albuquerque.
The University of Washington will host the 2014 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in Seattle, Wash., February 28-March 1, and the NCAA Indoor Championships will follow on March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M. for those who qualify.
As soon as the indoor season is over, the Buffs will switch gears to the outdoor campaign, hosting the first of its two home meets at Potts Field. CU will host the Jerry Quiller Classic March 21-22, and the second home meet is the Colorado Invitational, slated for April 11-12.
As usual, CU will compete at several meets along the Front Range in Fort Collins, Colo. and at the Air Force Academy. The Buffs won’t just compete regionally as several athletes will have the opportunity to compete at a pair of meets at Stanford and the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays.
Washington State will host the 2014 Pac-12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The combined events portion of the meet will be contested May 9-10, while all other event areas will compete May 17-18. Arkansas will host the NCAA West Preliminary Championships, May 29-31, at John McDonnell Field. The 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships are June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore. at Hayward Field, and the U.S. Track & Field Outdoor Championships will be June 25-29 in Sacramento, Calif.