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Women Defend Title Behind Hertenstein Championship

Oct 28, 2022

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The University of Colorado women's cross country team defended its Pac-12 Championship here Friday morning, defeating Utah in a tiebreaker behind Bailey Hertenstein's individual championship.
The No. 11 CU women picked up their sixth Pac-12 title in program history with 66 points, tying No.10 Utah while defeating No.9 Stanford in the upset.  The women won based on the NCAA tiebreaker, picking up four individual runners ahead of Utah's comparable runners.
"I don't know that we've ever won an important race on a tied score and a tiebreaker in all my time at Colorado," said head coach Mark Wetmore. "The tie-breaking system evolves and hallelujah for this modern system, because it got us the win. Bailey was down about 15 or 20 meters with five or 600 meters to go. Had that position not changed, we would have lost so not only did she catch the leader for the individual win, but she caught the leader to make the team win."
The duo of Bailey Hertenstein and Emily Covert led the way, trading leads throughout the race. Covert took the lead at the 4K mark with Hertenstein in third as the Buffs trailed only Oregon. In the final 400 meters, Hertenstein passed Utah's Emily Venters for the win in a new course record of 19:11.3. Covert finished third in 19:23.8, followed by Ella Baran who passed six runners to finish seventh in 19:33.3.
Possibly the most important pass came in the final stretch where Kaitlyn Barthell passed Utah's Ariel Keklak to finish 16th in 19:45.5. That pass made the tiebreaker possible with the top-three already securing the tiebreak. Gabrielle Orie finished out the scoring running 20:20.6.
"Emily ran great," said Wetmore. "She's had some interruptions earlier in the season but is getting fitter by the day. She took the lead early in this race. She was a little disappointed and apologetic afterward and I said I don't want to take that out of her. I want her to stay aggressive. I want her to think like a winner. So it may have been a slightly impetuous move, but she was third so great run for her. Ella Baran is learning this level of running and getting better every race and Kaitlyn had the best race ever for Colorado. Kaitlyn was wonderful today. As much as Bailey won it for us, probably Kaitlyn did too."
The women defend their title and go back-to-back in team and individual titles after Abby Nichols and Covert led the Buffs last year.
In the men's race, Andrew Kent led the way with a fourth-place finish in 22:43.9. The Buffs' pack running was strong as the team had seven runners in the top-19 halfway through the race and finished with six in the top-20 finish. Austin Vancil finished 12th in 23:07.6, followed by Noah Hibbard who had an incredible race in 13th at 23:12.6. Seth Hirsch was right behind in 14th at 23:13.6, with Hunter Appleton rounding out the scoring at 18th at 23:17.7.
The men finished with 61 points, falling to top-ranked Stanford who finished with 22 points. Washington came in third with 81 points.
"We came here knowing that Stanford was very, very good," said Wetmore. "Knowing that we would need a miracle from us and a negative miracle from them. We didn't get that. But we got a very good day for us. Noah ran his best race ever for us. Hunter ran his best race ever. Seth was solid. Brendan was solid. And of course, Andy was the Andy that we knew was in him. We didn't get that two weeks ago. He's been hanging his head for two weeks, and today he showed what he is. Really good run for five or six of our guys. We know we're better than 10th in the NCAA. We know that the women are better than 11th. I think the rankings will reflect that on Tuesday."
Colorado returns to action in two weeks at the NCAA Mountain Regional Championships in Albuquerque where the team will set its sights on advancing to the 2022 NCAA Championships.
"Well, the regional meet is always a competition to see who can run as easily as they can and advance," said Wetmore. "So New Mexico, BYU, Northern Arizona, Utah, Colorado, they're all real good teams. Everybody will be looking around, just calculating the score and trying to get to the nationals as carefully as possible. Like all of those other coaches, I don't mind if we're first and I don't mind if we're fifth, as long as we advance. That'll be the plan in two weeks. Then at the nationals, it's a different animal. This race is 101 runners, in that race is nearly 300 runners. So we'll keep getting better. We'll keep working hard. We'll keep gathering data making new plans and hope to be a lot better at the NCAA than we were at Nuttycombe."

Women's Team Results: 1. Colorado 66*; 2. Utah 66; 3. Oregon 86; 4. Stanford 93; 5. Washington 94; 6. Oregon State 152; 7. Washington State 160; 8. UCLA 214; 9. Arizona 256; 10. California 311; 11. ASU 314; 12. USC 379
*Won on NCAA Tiebreaker
Women's Top-10: 1. Bailey Hertenstein (COLO) 19:11.3 (COURSE RECORD); 2. Emily Venters (UTAH) 19:16.7; 3. Emily Covert (COLO) 19:23.8; 4. Izzy Thorton-Bott (OREG) 19:27.4; 5. Simone Plourde (UTAH) 19:29.7; 6. Zofia Dudek (STAN) 19:31.6; 7. Ella Baran (COLO) 19:33.3; 8. Andrea Markezich (WASH) 19:37.7; 9. Grace Fetherstonhaugh (OSU) 19:38.2; 10. Neema Kimtai (WSU) 19:38.5.  Other CU Results: 16. Kaitlyn Barthell, 19:45.5; 42. Gabrielle Orie, 20:20.6; 54. Alisa Meraz-Fishbein, 20:46.6; 64. Whitney Valenti , 20:57.1; 86. Carley Bennett, 22:03.7.
Men's Team Results: 1. Stanford 22; 2. Colorado 61; 3. Washington 81; 4. Oregon 94; 5. UCLA 142; 6. WSU 177; 7. Arizona 213; 8. ASU 222; 9. California 262.
Men's Top-10: 1. Charles Hicks (STAN) 22:30.9; 2. Aaron Bienenfeld (OREG) 22:37.2; 3. Cole Sprout (STAN) 22:38.2; 4. Andrew Kent (COLO) 22:43.9; 5. Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau (STAN) 22:48.0; 6. Ky Robinson (STAN) 22:55.3; 7. Thomas Boyden (STAN) 22:55.9; 8. Brian Fay (WASH) 22:57.8; 9. Vincent Mauri (ASU) 22:59.0; 10. Devin Hart (STAN) 22:59.2.  Other CU Results: 12. Austin Vancil, 23:07.6; 13. Noah Hibbard, 23:12.6; 14. Seth Hirsch, 23:13.6; 18. Hunter Appleton, 23:17.7; 20. Brendan Fraser, 23:28.4; 26. Charlie Sweeney. 23:43.7; 32. James Overberg, 23:51.8; 39. Lukas Haug, 24:17.9; 40. Jace Aschbrenner, 24:20.1.