Men & Women Win Mountain Region Championships
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For the first time since 2006, the University of Colorado's top-ranked men and 12th-ranked women won the NCAA Mountain Region Cross Country Championships on Friday afternoon.
With the wins, both teams automatically advance to the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23 as the top two teams in each region earn a berth to the meet.
"We never mind winning," associate head coach Heather Burroughs said. "Second is 95% as good as a win here, but we are happy to be coming back with two wins."
Head coach Mark Wetmore echoed those sentiments. "We are always happy to advance," he said. "We weren't too nervous about that with the men, but the women could not have afforded to have a bad day, and instead they had a very good day. That always makes us happy."
The CU women started the day off for the Buffs, winning the regional meet for the second straight year, their 12th overall title. The Buffs bested the host, No. 9 New Mexico, 43-56. BYU finished third at the meet (112) and Northern Arizona took fourth (149).
Sophomore Erin Clark earned a runner-up finish at the meet, crossing the 6-kilometer finish in 20:56.50. Clark's finish is the third straight runner-up placing for the Buffs at this meet as former Buff Shalaya Kipp was the runner-up in 2012 and 2013. UNM's Alice Wright won the regional crown in 20:51.10.
"Erin is a true sophomore; she is 19 and is young in her collegiate career," Burroughs explained. "She has been near the front in every race this year. She's done really well this year against a lot of really good women. She is running well week after week and we are very happy she has becoming a dominate NCAA runner for us."
Junior Maddie Alm recorded a seventh-place finish in 21:20.62. This was the second time this season that Alm has been CU's No. 2 runner. She was just behind Wyoming's Holly Page, who finished sixth in 21:18.00. NAU's Melanie Townsend was behind Alm for eighth (21:21.62).
Graduate student Sara Sutherland had her best race for the Buffs, finishing ninth overall. The transfer from Texas came across the finish in 21:22.01 for her best performance this season.
"Sara is new to us," said Burroughs. "This is our first season with her. She had an interruption a year ago which required surgery, so she has had a little bit of a long road back and we are still getting to know her and understand what the right race plan is for her. I think she made some adjustments on her own today and she was where she has been in practice today. We were waiting for this race, we knew it was in her. I think we got the formula right today."
Wetmore was also pleased with Sutherland's performance. "Sara has looked good in practice and made the necessary adjustments and had a much better race today," he said.
Sophomore Annie Kelly was 12th overall, CU's No. 4 runner, finishing in 21:29.06 and freshman Kaitlyn Benner was the final scorer for the Buffs, placing 13th in 21:32.59.
Junior Jenny DeSouchet didn't score, but also had a nice performance by taking 16th overall (21:41.37). Freshman Mackenzie Caldwell also ran at the meet and was 36th (22:13.60).
The men's 10k race followed the women's race and had five ranked teams competing for the two automatic NCAA berths, but the Buffalo men dominated the race to win their first region title since 2008, placing all five scorers in the top 13 for a total of 45 points. No. 10 Northern Arizona was second with 68 points and No. 15 BYU placed third (121). Southern Utah, which was not ranked in the top 30, finished fourth (128) and Colorado State, also unranked, was fifth (140).
The herd of Buffs finished well and was led by junior Connor Winter. Winter recorded a time of 29:55.33 and was able to hold off NAU's Matt McElroy, who ended up fifth in 29:56.00. Winter ran a great race, even leading for a good part of it.
"He led much of the race and looked totally in control," Burroughs said. "He was calm and smiling through much of it, so I knew he was having a good day. He was fourth against a lot of good guys and was as good as he looked all year."
"Connor looked good," Wetmore agreed. "He kept his calm and kept happy, and I think he changed a gear when some of the hard racing began."
Senior Jake Hurysz had a great race after a down one at Pac-12 where he placed 19th. This time around, he was back to normal and placed seventh in 29:57.40.
"Jake's been good all year," Burroughs said. "Pac-12's was the anomaly. He was back to normal today and was where we would have expected him to be."
Junior Ammar Moussa was the third Buff to cross this finish, placing ninth in 29:58.07. Junior Pierce Murphy and sophomore Ben Saarel rounded out CU's scoring, placing 12th and 13th, respectively. Murphy clocked in at 30:00.81 and Saarel recorded a time of 30:03.67.
Redshirt freshman Adam Peterman also raced for the Buffs and placed 64th (31:54.42).
CU's top five men and the top six women earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors, which are awarded to the top 25 finishers in each race.
Overall Wetmore was very happy with what he saw at regionals since there were a lot of good races by the Buffs.
Colorado will head to Terre Haute, Ind. for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 22. Indiana State will host the meet at the La Vern Gibson Championships Cross Country Course. This will be the CU women's 22nd appearance at the NCAA meet in the last 23 seasons and it's the 23rd straight appearance for the men.
2014 NCAA MOUNTAIN REGION CHAMPIONSHIP
UNM North Golf Course (Albuquerque, N.M.)
MEN'S 10K TEAM SCORES
1. Colorado, 45; 2. Northern Arizona, 68; 3. BYU, 121; 4. Southern Utah, 128; 5. Colorado State, 140; 6. UTEP, 156; 7. New Mexico, 158; 8. Weber State, 191; 9. Air Force, 202; 10. Wyoming. 243; 11. Utah State, 288; 12. Montana State, 308; 13. Utah Valley, 324; 14. Texas Tech, 396; 15. New Mexico State, 396; 16. Montana, 460; 17. Idaho State, 471.
MEN'S FINISHERS (Top 10):
1. Anthony Rotich, UTEP, 29:38.61; 2. Fut Zienasellassie, NAU, 29:48.62; 3. Nate Jewkes, SUU, 29:52.58; 4. Connor Winter, CU, 29:55.33; 5. Matt McElroy, NAU, 29:56.00; 6. Anoa Bowen, Wyoming, 29:56.31; 7. Jake Hurysz, CU, 29:57.40; 8. Hayden Hawks, SUU, 29:57.61; 9. Ammar Moussa, CU, 29:58.07; 10. Jefferson Abbey, CSU, 29:58.38.
Other CU Finishers: 12. Pierce Murphy, 30:00.81; 13. Ben Saarel, 30:03.67; 64. Adam Peterman, 31:54.42
WOMEN'S 6K TEAM SCORES
1. Colorado, 43; 2. New Mexico, 56; 3. BYU, 112; 4. Northern Arizona, 149; 5. Wyoming, 157; 6. Colorado State, 160; 7. Utah, 246; 8. Idaho State, 146; 9. Weber State, 253; 10. Montana State, 259; 11. Nevada, 270; 12. Texas Tech, 371; 13. Utah Valley, 374; 14. Northern Colorado, 379; 15. Air Force, 385; 16. Utah State, 407; 17. Southern Utah, 423; 18. New Mexico State, 472; 19. Montana, 485; 20. UTEP, 488.
WOMEN'S FINISHERS (Top 10):
1. Alice Wright, UNM, 20:51.10; 2. Erin Clark, CU, 20:56.50; 3. Charlotte Arter, UNM, 21:05.93; 4. Andrea Harrison, BYU, 21:07.45; 5. Carrie Jube, BYU, 21:09.98; 6. Holly Page, UW, 21:18.00; 7. Maddie Alm, CU, 21:20.62; 8. Melanie Townsend, NAU, 21:21.62; 9. Sara Sutherland, CU, 21:22.01; 10. Calli Thackery, UNM, 21:27.39.
Other CU Finishers: 12. Annie Kelly, 21:29.06; 13. Kaitlyn Benner, 21:32.59; 16. Jenny DeSouchet, 21:41.37; 36. Mackenzie Caldwell, 22:13.60.