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Buffs Dominate At 29th Annual Rocky Mountain Shootout

Oct 4, 2014

BOULDER — Senior Blake Theroux and sophomore Erin Clark led the University of Colorado cross country teams to the team titles at the 29th Annual Rocky Mountain Shootout on Saturday morning at the Buffalo Ranch Cross Country Course on CU’s South Campus.

The top-ranked men’s team and eighth-rated women’s team dominated the races. The men recorded a perfect score of 15 to win the meet, while the women earned a score of 16 points to win their race. The Buffs also took home both individual titles in the men’s and women’s races with Theroux and Clark earning those titles. 

The weather conditions for the race were just about perfect. The temperature was around 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind was minimal.

“The team looked great, the weather is great, and the conditions are great,” head coach Mark Wetmore said. “I have to be really careful about getting too excited.”

“We expected to run well and these were perfect [weather] conditions,” Theroux explained. “Mark [Wetmore] said these were the best conditions he has ever seen. We were really good and I think we showed that today. If other teams look at these results they are going to be scared and they should be scared. This is a dream team for us and we are really pumped for the season. It’s a great way to start.”

Theroux, who won the race last year, became the first back-to-back champion at the meet in over 10 years. Jorge Torres, a former Buff, was the last one to do so and won three straight meets (2000-02). He also holds the course record at 24:07.

“The course record is insane,” Theroux said. “That’s a time that I have so much respect for (24:07) by Jorge Torres. Obviously, he’s an Olympian, he won nationals in 2002, and he broke the record. I wasn’t thinking about that. I just wanted to run a good time and thankfully I had five guys around me for most of that race. We were all pushing and I knew we were going to run a great time. It was awesome to have so many guys run well today, not just me.”

Theroux’s time of 24:23.1 is quite impressive and is the third fastest time run at the course. Last season he recorded a time of 25:34 in less than perfect conditions as the course last year was wet and muddy. Theroux’s personal best on the course had been 25:01, which he ran in 2012 for a second place finish.

“It’s incredible [winning the race again],” Theroux said. “It’s definitely surreal and sad at the same time. It’s my last year and time flies. To go out like this is really great and to put my stamp in the history book so I can walk away from CU next year and say, ‘hey, there I am in the list’. Hopefully it will be there for a very long time and it’s a great feeling.” 

Junior Pierce Murphy was the second finisher in the race, crossing with the fourth best time in course history at 24:24.4. He was closely followed by junior Ammar Moussa. Moussa’s time of 24:28.1 is the fifth fastest ever on the course.

Senior Morgan Pearson ran unattached at the meet, but ran a solid time at 24:32.1. He led the race for the first half before his teammates passed him.

Following Pearson were three more uniformed Buffs. Sophomore Ben Saarel was fifth (24:43.1), senior Jake Hurysz was sixth (24:51.5) and junior Connor Winter placed seventh (24:52.9).

“They’ve looked good in practice every day since they arrived in late August, both the men and women, and coupled with a good day we did expect some fast times,” Wetmore said. “I was watching to see how many men could break 25 minutes. I thought it would be maybe four and it was seven.”

On the women’s side Clark performed well, finishing in 20:19.6, which is the eighth fastest time in course history. This was her first collegiate victory. Last year she finished third overall at the shootout in 21:22.

“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to win at all I just wanted to come out and feel good, run strong, and not leave anything back,” Clark said. “I didn’t run all of last year’s outdoor track season so the first couple races of the season feel good.

“[Winning this race] means a lot to me. If you look at the list of people who have won this race before there are some really big names up there. It’s exciting and it makes me feel really good about where things can go from here.”

Wetmore was impressed with Clark’s performance. “It was a really good run for Erin,” he explained. “It was faster than I had hoped for her and she had a couple of interruptions earlier in the summer. She’s ahead of a year ago, and ahead of eight weeks ago.” 


Junior Carrie Verdon was the second harrier to finish for the Buffs, finishing third overall in 20:59.5. Sophomore Annie Kelly was fourth overall (21:10.1) and junior Maddie Alm was fifth (21:16.6). Jenny DeSouchet rounded out CU’s score with a seventh place finish (21:31.3).

Wetmore was also pleased with the performance his women’s team gave. “I was hoping for a pretty good block of women to run under 21 minutes and 30 seconds and they did that,” he said. “It’s what I was hoping for and a little bit more.

“I’m very happy with the women’s performance today,” Wetmore said. “We have a freshman that was around 21:30 so we will probably put her in uniform. The women’s team I knew when we arrived in August had some work to do, but they’ve been very carefully getting that done and we will also get better over the next eight weeks.”

Kaitlyn Benner is the freshman Wetmore was referring to. She was ninth overall and recorded a time of 21:39.2 while racing unattached.

Overall, it’s fair to say the 2014 cross country season is off to a great start for both teams.

“While this was a good day, there have been other good days in the last seventeen years that we’ve been running here, and so where our men and our women fit on the all-time course history tells me a lot,” Wetmore said. “The men are very good and the women are coming around nicely.”

The Buffs are off until Oct. 18 when they will race at the NCAA Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind.



(for complete results go to


29th Annual Rocky Mountain Shootout


Buffalo Ranch (Boulder, Colo.)


1. COLORADO,  15; 2. Air Force, 114


1. Colorado Mines, 56; 2. Western State, 63; 3. Northern Colorado, 115



1. Blake Theroux, CU, 24:23:.1; 2. Pierce Murphy,  CU, 24:24.4; 3. Ammar Moussa, CU, 24:28.1; 4. Morgan Pearson, unattached, 24:32.1; 5. Ben Saarel, CU, 24:43.1; 6. Jake Hurysz, CU, 24:51.5; 7. Connor Winter, CU, 24:52.9; 8. Ian Butler, Western State, 25:02.1; 9. Phil Schneider, Mines, 25:21.8; 10. Derek Alcorn, Mines, 25:25.9; 11. Marty Andrie, Mines, 25:39.4; 12. Ryan Forsyth, unattached, 25:41.0; 13. Ethan Gonzales, unattached, 25:41.9; 14. Zach Perrin, unattached, 25:48.7; 15. John Patterson, Western State, 25:51.0

Other CU Finishers: 17. Adam Peterman, 26:01.5; 83. David Emmert, 28:55.6


1. Colorado, 16; 2. Colorado State, 54



1. Northern Colorado, 77; 2. Western State, 102; 3. Colorado Mines, 129




1. Erin Clark, CU, 20:19.6; 2. Kristen Arendt, unattached, 20:41.8; 3. Carrie Verdon, CU, 20:59.5; 4. Annie Kelly, CU, 21:10.1; 5. Maddie Alm; CU, 21:16.6; 6. Darby Gilfillan, CSU, 21:21.6; 7. Jenny DeSouchet; CU, 21:31.3; 8. Alexandra Will, CSU, 21:36.3; 9. Kaitlyn Benner, unattached, 21:39.2; 10. Rikki Gonzales, UNC, 21:44.9; 11. Anna Marshall, Unattached, 21:51.6; 12. Lucy May, CU, 21:54.2; 13. McKayla Gray, UNC, 21:55.9; 14. Mackenzie Caldwell, unattached, 21:59.6; 15. Flora Duffy, unattached, 22:02.4


Other CU Finishers: 21. Mandy Ortiz, 22:19.3; 26. Eryn Blakely, 22:23.8; 60. Olivia Rintala, 25:14.0