CU Men Stampede To Pre-Nats Title, Women 4th
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – If there was any doubt about the University of Colorado men's cross country team's top ranking, that doubt would be erased after the Buffs put on a show at the 2014 NCAA Pre-National Invitational on Saturday afternoon placing six runners in the top 14.
"It was as pretty good day overall," head coach Mark Wetmore said. "The course was heavy and slow due to recent rains and long grass, so the times were not what we have run here in the past, but positions are what matter and the women looked good and the men looked good."
The men dominated the field of 46 teams, recording a total score of 35 points to win the eight-kilometer 'Blue' race for the second straight year at the La Vern Gibson Championship Course. No. 2 ranked Oregon was a distant runner-up with 91 points despite taking first and third individually in the race. Unranked Georgetown placed third overall with 148 points, No. 26 Furman took fourth (262 points) and No. 22 Colorado State finished fifth overall (272 points).
Senior Blake Theroux was the runner-up in the race, finishing in 24 minutes, 6.1 seconds, less than two seconds behind Oregon sophomore Edward Cheserek, the defending NCAA and Pac-12 Champion, who won in 24:04.5. Theroux steadily moved up during the race. He ran the first 2k in 6:01.8 (56th) and moved up to 33rd after the 3k mark (9:05.7). By 5k, Theroux was up to 12th (15:26.8) and continued to move up to second over the course of the final 3k.
"It feels good to come out here and run what we know we can run," Theroux said. "This race is a stepping stone on the way to nationals, but it's important that we do well, and we did."
Sophomore Ben Saarel was the fourth harrier to finish the race, coming in after Oregon's Eric Jenkins who was third (24:09.4). Saarel recorded a time of 24:15.3. He had a quick start to the race, clocking 6:00.02 in the first 2k for 28th. By 5k, he had worked his way up to 15th overall (15:27.3) and gradually kept moving up before placing fourth. Indiana State's John Mascari was a very close fifth, finishing just behind Saarel (24:16.3).
Junior Ammar Moussa ended up eighth for the Buffs after leading at the 5k split. He crossed the finish in 24:21.8, just a few seconds behind UTEP's Anthony Rotich, who took seventh in 24:19.0. Senior Jake Hurysz was the fourth runner to cross the line for CU, just behind Moussa, placing ninth in 24:23.8. Hurysz finished just in front of Butler's Erik Peterson, who took 10th in the same time (24:23.8).
CU's final scorer was junior Pierce Murphy. He was 12th overall in 24:24.5. Junior Connor Winter didn't score for the Buffs, coming in as CU's No. 6 runner, but that didn't take away from the fact he had a very good race as well, finishing 14th in 24:26.9.
"We had six in the top 15," Wetmore said. "We couldn't have asked for better than that. It was a real nice race for Blake, finishing just a couple of seconds behind the defending national champion and then a herd came in not long behind him. It was a good showing for the men."
CU's seventh ranked women did very well in their race, placing fourth out of 43 teams. The Buffs recorded a score of 186 points. Georgetown, which was ranked fourth heading into the meet, won the race with 110 points, upsetting No. 3 Oregon (which was second with 143 points) and top-ranked Michigan (which placed third with 143 points). No. 29 NC State picked up a fifth-place finish with 233 points.
Sophomore Erin Clark led the Buffs for the second time this season, finishing seventh overall in 20:54.1. Baylor's Rachel Johnson took home the individual title in 20:21.1 on the 6k course.
Halfway through the race Clark was 10th (10:17.6) and she moved up to ninth after 4k (13:46.5) before finishing seventh.
Annie Kelly (21:15.4) and Maddie Alm (21:17.5) finished second and third, respectively, for the Buffs. Kelly was 28th, but had been as high as 15th at the 3k mark (19:18.6). She came in just a split second after Oregon's Maggie Schmaedick, who was 27th in 21:15.3. Alm was right behind Kelly at 29th, which is where she was midway through the race (10:21.9).
Freshman Kaitlyn Benner ran her first race in the black and gold and took 52nd overall in 21:36.8. Junior Jenny DeSouchet was CU's fifth harrier, crossing the finish 70th overall (21:47.0).
Another freshman, Mackenzie Caldwell, ran in her first race for the Buffs at pre-nationals. She came away with a 128th place finish in 22:16.6 and graduate student Sara Sutherland placed 221st for the Buffs (22:56.4).
"It was a very nice race for Erin Clark up front, followed closely by Maddie (Alm) and Annie (Kelly)," Wetmore said. "It was a nice debut for Kaitlyn (Benner) in this circumstance, which is a huge race and a lot of bodies, something you don't experience in high school. It was a nice overall performance for the women but there are some things we can improve upon in the next two to five weeks."
The Buffs are off next weekend before traveling to the Pac-12 Championships in Oakland, California on October 31.
2014 NCAA PRE-NATIONAL INVITATIONAL
La Vern Gibson Championship Course (Terre Haute, Ind.)
Top 10 (of 46) Men's BLUE Team Scores: 1. Colorado, 35; 2. Oregon, 91; 3. Georgetown, 148; 4. Furman, 262; 5. Colorado State, 272; 5. Tulsa, 272; 7. Texas, 329; 8. Mississippi, 363; 8. Penn State, .363; 19. Cornell, 400.
Top 15 (of 310) Individuals: 1. Edward Cheserek, Oregon, 24:04.5; 2. Blake Theroux, CU, 24:06.1; 3. Erick Jenkins, Oregon, 24:09.4; 4. Ben Saarel, CU, 24:15.3; 5. John Mascari, ISU, 24:16.3; 6. Matt McClintock, Purdue, 24:16.7; 7. Anothony Rotich, UTEP, 24:19.0; 8. Ammar Moussa, CU, 24:21.8; 9. Jake Hurysz, CU, 24:23.8; 10. Erik Peterson, Butler, 24:23.8; 11. Marc Scott, Tulsa, 24:24.5; 12. Pierce Murphy, CU, 24:25.6; 13. Ryan Mahalsky, Lehigh, 24:26.3; 14. Connor Winter, CU, 24:26.9; 15. Edwin Kibichiy, Louisville, 24:27.9.
Other CU Finishers: 79. Adam Peterman, 25:20.7
8k Open Individual Results (CU Individuals Only)
(1. Matthew Melancon, Oregon, 25.11.0) 19. Joe Holvey, 26:25.8; 70. David Emmert, 27:36.4;
Top 10 (of 43) Women's BLUE Team Scores : 1. Georgetown, 110; 2. Oergon, 139; 3. Michigan, 143; 4. Colorado, 186; 5. NC State. 233; 6. Princeton, 288; 7. Baylor, 302; 8. Lamar, 345; 9. California, 369; 10. Penn State, 405.
Top 15 (of 340) Individuals: 1. Rachel Johnson, Baylor, 20:21.1; 2. Megan Curham, Princeton, 20:36.4; 3. Katrina Coogan, 20:37.7; 4. Erin Finn, Michigan, 20:43.3; 5. Bethan Knights, California, 20:51.3; 6. Victoria Voronko, Eastern Michigan, 20:52.3; 7. Erin Clark, CU, 20:54.1; 8. Elizabeth Chikotas, Penn State, 21:00.9; 9. Kaitlyn Fischer, Missouri, 21:01.6; 10. Danielle Shanahan, Loyola Marymount, 21:02.8; 11. Lauren Sara, Connecticut, 21:03.6; 12. Joanna Thompson, NC State, 21:04.1; 13. Cali Roper, Rice, 21:05.1; 14. Erik Kemp, NC State, 21:07.1; 15. Grace Graham-Zamudio, Loyola Marymount, 21:09.3.
Other CU Finishers: 28. Annie Kelly, 21:15.4; 29. Maddie Alm, 21:17.5; 52. Kaitlyn Benner, 21:36.8; 70. Jenny DeSouchet, 21:47.0; 128. Mackenzie Caldwell, 22:16.6; 221. Sara Sutherland, 22:56.3.
6k Open Individual Results (CU Individuals Only)
(1. Sarah Cotton, Georgetown, 21:36.2) 8. Catrina McAlister, 22:10.4; 12. Lucy May, 22:31.2; 17. Eryn Blakely, 22:50.3; 22. Mandy Ortiz, 23:00.7