Colorado Set For Pac-12 Indoors Invitational
BOULDER – The Colorado track and field program will head to the inaugural Pac-12 Indoor Invitational in Seattle, Wash., Friday and Saturday for the final indoor meet before the 2022 NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.
The meet replaced the MPSF Championships and will not be scored or count as a conference championship, but instead will serve as a last chance qualifier for the Pac-12 schools.
Colorado enters the meet with four athletes leading the Pac-12 in their respected events with Eduardo Herrera in the men's 3,000, Emily Covert in the women's 5,000, Avery McMullen in the women's pentathlon and Nick Bianco in the men's heptathlon. Herrera, Covert and McMullen are in the top-eight in the NCAA rankings and will not compete in those events this weekend.
Instead of competing in their leading events, the NCAA-bound athletes will look to add to their indoor national schedule or fine-tune events. Herrera will seek his first trip under the 4-minute barrier in the men's mile where he is ranked seventh in the conference and 37th in the NCAA. His altitude converted time is north of 3:57, and he will need to put down his third school record to move onto the NCAA with the final qualifying time currently at 3:56.10. Herrera is ranked fourth in the NCAA in the men's 3,000 after crushing the previous school record two weeks ago on this same track. There are three men in the Pac-12 currently ranked in the top-12 in the mile, so this could be a very fast race.
Covert is the eighth-ranked NCAA athlete in the women's 5,000 and will look to add the 3,000 to her schedule. Currently, she is fifth in the Pac-12 and 40th in the NCAA in the 3,000 but will need to run 9:02.32 or better to get into the championship. There are currently three other women in the Pac-12 ranked between 15th and 20th in the NCAA in the race so it will be a large pack of women gunning to break the 9-minute mark to continue their indoor season.
The final NCAA-bound athlete is McMullen who is securely in third in the pentathlon. She will work on three of the five disciplines, the 60 hurdles, high jump and long jump. McMullen is currently eighth in the hurdles, third in the long jump and third in the high jump in the conference. Though difficult, McMullen could possibly add to her busy indoor championships schedule but needs to break the CU school record in the long jump and clear 6.34 meters (20-9.75) to advance there and needs a six-foot clearance in the high jump to try for that.
In the women's mile, Madie Boreman and Rachel McArthur are currently ranked 12th and 15th in the NCAA. Though both women are currently in qualifying position for NCAAs, both women are looking to drop some time to secure their spots. Ranked fourth and sixth in the Pac-12, respectfully, the CU women are among seven Pac-12 women ranked in the top-20 for the NCAA with two others ranked in the teens and looking to drop time. The 10th spot in the NCAA sits at 4:34.35, so Boreman, McArthur and Micaela Degenero will all be trying to break 4:34.
Other athletes racing with outside shots at making it to NCAAs include Abbey Glynn, Emma Pollak, Tyler Williams and Aaron McCoy in the open 400-meter run. Glynn is third in the Pac-12 and needs to drop half a second to make it to NCAAs with the final qualifying mark at 52.58. Luckily for her, two USC women sit in qualifying positions and can help pull her into the championships. The same goes for Williams who will need to drop a half of a second to 46.46 to have a chance at making it to nationals. All four will be a part of their respected 4x400-meter relays with shots at the championships. The women chase USC and Oregon who are ninth and 10th in the NCAA, respectfully, and will need to run 3:34.30 or better. The men have the USC men that are heading to NCAAs and the ASU men that are the last qualifying team currently at 3:05.99.
Nick Bianco is the top-ranked Pac-12 athlete in the men's heptathlon and will be competing alongside John Swabik who is ranked third. Jada Green is seventh in the pentathlon and needs 350 points to be in consideration for the NCAAs.
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