NCAA Cross Country Championships: Colorado women win national title

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Women's 6K Race

Buoyed by first-place finisher Dani Jones, the Colorado women's cross country team won the NCAA individual and team titles Saturday morning in Madison, Wis. It is the first national championship for the Buffs since 2004 and reminiscent of the 2000 season, when the Buffs also won the individual and team titles. 

Colorado, finishing with 65 team points, took the crown from defending-champion New Mexico, which finished in second with 103 points. Oregon, the 2016 NCAA champions, finished in third, while Stanford came in fifth, Washington finished ninth and Oregon State finished 27th.


With New Mexico's Weini Kelati breaking away from the pack late in the race, two-time Pac-12 champion Dani Jones caught up and overtook Kelati down the home stretch to cross the finish line first with a time of 19:42.76, two and a half seconds faster than Kelati. While Jones' individual title, the first for a Buff woman since Kara Grgas-Wheeler in 2000, was nice, depth was the main reason why Colorado secured its third team natty on the women's side. Colorado had six top-30 finishers, as Makena Morley (eighth), Tabor Scholl (15th), Sage Hurta (22nd), Tayler Tuttle (24th) and Val Constien (30th) all picked up All-America honors alongside Jones. This is the third national championship for the Colorado women.


Paced by Jessica Hull's third-place finish (19:50.4), the 2016 NCAA champion Ducks came in third as a team with 160 points. Three Ducks will take home All-America laurels, with Weronika Pyzik coming in 12th (20:03.4) and Carmela Baez finishing 31st (20:31.5).


Stanford was able to pick up third-straight top-5 team finish at NCAAs thanks to a couple of top-20 finishers in Elise Cranny (11th, 20:02.8) and Fiona O'Keeffe (17th, 20:11.7). Jessica Lawson, coming in 44th, also finished with a sub-21-minute time at 20:40.4. The Cardinal had four top-100 finishers overall in a field that saw 253 cross the finish line. Stanford finished with 232 team points.


A total of 321 team points was good enough for Washington to edge out host Wisconsin for ninth place. Katie Rainsberger paved the way for the Dawgs, securing a 19th-place finish with a time of 20:15.2, while Lilli Burdon came in 33rd at 20:31.8. Emily Hamlin (69th) and Allie Schadler (102nd) also gave the Huskies top-half finishers. This is the best team finish in six years for the Huskies.

Oregon State

Juliana Mount's 42nd-place finish led the way for the 27th-place Beavers, as the senior from San Jose just missed out on an All-America placing by finishing three seconds outside of the top 40 at 20:39.3. Haley Wolf gave the Beavs their second and final top-half finisher with a time of 21:18.7, good for 126th.

There were also two individual qualifiers from Pac-12 schools who competed, with Arizona's Addi Zerrenner finishing in 68th with a time of 20:51.5 and UCLA's Erika Adler coming in 136th with a time of 21:22.5.


Men's 10K Race

Stanford's Grant Fisher came in second and Colorado finished in fourth to highlight the men's field. Three Pac-12 runners secured top-10 finishes overall, while Stanford came in fifth, Washington finished sixth and Oregon finished 15th on the team side.

Congratulations to Northern Arizona for winning its third consecutive team national championship and Wisconsin's Morgan McDonald's for crossing the finish line first with a time of 29:08.22. This is the first three-peat for a men's cross country team since Arkansas won three straight from 1998-2000.


Paced by three top-15 finishers, Colorado secured a fourth-place finish with 178 points. Joe Klecker was the top Buff, coming in eighth with a time of 29:15.00, while John Dressel was not far behind in ninth at 29:16.88. Just four seconds and change behind Dressel was Ryan Forsyth, who finished in 11th. Eduardo Herrera just missed an All-American honor, coming in 43rd with a time of 30:01.97.


Pac-12 Men's Athlete of the Year Grant Fisher made a heck of a push down the stretch but was narrowly held off by Wisconsin's Morgan McDonald, finishing a half-second behind the Badger to come in second with a time of 29:08.72, a quarter of a second ahead of Iowa State's Edwin Kurgat, the third man in the three-man pack that broke away in the final 100 meters or so. Three Cardinal runners nabbed All-America honors, with Alex Ostberg finishing in 13th and Alek Parsons coming in 30th to join Fisher in the sub-30-minute club. That trio was a major reason why the Cardinal finished in fifth as a team with 201 team points to match the Cardinal women in standing.


The Dawgs finished with 12 more points than the Cardinal at 213 to take sixth place. Tanner Anderson and Tibebu Proctor turned in All-American performances, with Anderson finishing in 19th with a time of 29:40.72 and Proctor crossing the finish line in 38th at 29:58.15. In all, five Dawgs finished in the top third of the field. Historically, a great day for the Huskies:


Jackson Mestler led the way for an Oregon team that finished in 15th with 407 team points, six behind 14th-place Notre Dame. Mestler came in 73rd with a time of 30:25.66, while Blake Haney (85th, 30:32.05) and Cooper Teare (94th, 30:34.21) also secured top-100 finishes.

There were two individual competitors from the Pac-12 in the men's 10K, with Arizona's Carlos Villareal finishing in 78th with a time of 30:28.08 and Cal's Garrett Corcoran finishing in 153rd with a time of 31:03.95.



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