Hurta Finishes National Runner-Up
EUGENE – Colorado track and field picked up a pair of First Team All-American finishes here Saturday in the final day of competition at the 2021 NCAA Championships.
Sage Hurta finished as the national runner-up in the women's 1,500-meter in 4:09.42 while Micaela Degenero earned her first All-American honor as a Buff after finishing sixth in 4:11.26.
Hurta came into the race having run the fastest semifinal in NCAA history in 4:08.88. Off the gun, Hurta and Degenero both went to the front with Hurta on the outside. Alabama's Amaris Tyynismaa took the lead after the first 300 as Hurta sat in third. The women went through in 69 seconds as Degenero got bunched back in ninth. Hurta earned positioning on the shoulder of the Alabama leader as the women hit the 800 meters remaining mark while Degenero sat in 10th and moved out with 600 left to begin covering moves. Hurta took the lead with a little more than a lap left with Degenero trailing in ninth. Hurta began leading as Anna Camp of BYU covered. Camp sat on Hurta's shoulder as Donaghu from Stanford sat behind around the final bend. Camp passed Hurta with 80 meters left as Hurta began tying up, but Hurta held off Donaghu for second. Degenero picked up three spots in the final 200 to finish as a First Team All-American. Camp won in 4:08.53.
"Well in Sage's case, she's coming in here with all the pressure, everybody after her and it's awfully hard your senior year with professional ranks waiting, being the favorite, it's just really aggravating," said head coach Mark Wetmore. "She looked a little flat in the last 100 meters, a little bit collapsed. Maybe a little tactical error moving too soon earlier in the race, perhaps. But second place, what a great year, great senior year. She's been a tremendous buffalo. She goes into the pantheon."
"Micaela is a good closer if she keeps near it," said Wetmore. "Then she smells blood and goes after it. She was feeling a little flat after the first round. I have to say their first round was impressive going 4:09, but they were carrying a little more fatigue than the 4:13 heat. So she felt a little tired going in and maybe let the race get away from her some. Very, very pleased with the last 400. Very pleased for her to get sixth. I don't know that she's ever even made it here before so if this is her first outdoor NCAA to get sixth, and she's got a year to go. Good stuff."
The final race was a comeback in sorts for Abby Nichols in the women's 5,000. Thursday evening Nichols wasn't able to finish the 10,000-meter final as she battled a lagging injury. She needed to be medically cleared for the 5,000 and was luckily. At the start, she sat in 12th in the beginning of the race. BYU's Whittni Orton took the race out hard and led by 15 meters through the first mile while Nichols stayed in 12th in the middle of the chase pack. With seven laps left, a chase pack of two women went to catch the leader and a smaller pack of six came later as the race strung out as Nichols sunk to 14th overall. Though Nichols laps didn't get any slower through 3,000-meters, her place slipped down to 17th. Nichols stayed there the rest of the race, finishing 17th as an honorable mention All-American after crossing in 16:04.74. She even caught Orton as NC State's Elly Henes won in 15:28.05.
"Very pleased that she was able to come back and do well," said Wetmore. "We were hoping at least she could get All-American which is top 16. She was 17th, but she's had a rough weekend with some medical issues. As you saw the 10,000 didn't go well at all. So this is a nice little comeback and we're pleased for her."
The CU women finished with 11 total team points from the 1,500, tied for 26th in the nation. Their 11 points in an event was the fifth-such occasion for the women in one event at these championships, joining the USC women in the 400, Texas A&M in the 400 and high jump and Ohio State in the shot put. They finished fifth for Pac-12 teams as the USC women took the national championship with 74 points. LSU took the men's title Friday with 84 points, 31 ahead of host Oregon who took second.
"I think we had four All-Americans with Madie who turns out to be All-American at 15th I think, John and then the two women today so we're pleased," said Wetmore. "I'd say a B or a B plus effort but not an A plus. We had to do a lot of catching up since October we were behind far behind in October. Heather and I sat down with the women and said we got to get going, here are the things we need to do, they made a lot of progress from there to the Pac-12 outdoor meet. And now they rest."
Three Buffaloes will not rest with a potential fourth as they return to Eugene next weekend for the start of the 2021 USATF Olympic Trials. Hurta will run in the women's 800 Thursday June 24th along with Eduardo Herrera that day in the men's 5,000 prelims. Madie Boreman will start things off Sunday June 20th in the women's steeplechase prelims while John Dressel could be added as a late addition to the men's 5,000 if accepted. The USATF originally stated that the qualification window ended June 13th, but also closed the deadline for registration to the trials this Tuesday, a day before the NCAA Championships. Hurta, Herrera and Boreman are all registered and qualified with a mark and will join 10 other former CU athletes at the trials.
|Wednesday||8:38 PM||Men's||10,000-meter Final||John Dressel||12th||28:03.87|
|Thursday||4:46 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Prelims||Sage Hurta||1st||4:08.88|
|4:46 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Prelims||Micaela Degenero||3rd||4:09.38|
|4:46 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Prelims||Rachel McArthur||23rd||4:22.75|
|5:02 PM||Women's||3,000-meter Steeplechase Prelim||Madie Boreman||15th||9:49.28|
|6:30 PM||Women's||400-meter Hurdle Prelims||Eriana Henderson||19th||58.95|
|6:30 PM||Women's||400-meter Hurdle Prelims||Abbey Glynn||21st||59.49|
|7:08 PM||Women's||10,000-meter Final||Abby Nichols||DNF||DNF|
|Saturday||4:11 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Finals||Sage Hurta||2nd||4:09.42|
|4:11 PM||Women's||1,500-meter Finals||Micaela Degenero||6th||4:11.26|
|5:55 PM||Women's||5,000-meter Final||Abby Nichols||17th||16:04.74|