Buffs run strong 3000m at Indoors

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Four Buffaloes earned top 10 performances on Saturday night at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in 3,000-meter run.

University of Colorado senior Pierce Murphy and sophomore Erin Clark each placed fifth in their respective races. Sophomore Kaitlyn Benner was eighth in the women’s race, while senior Connor Winter was 10th in the men’s race.

“My common aspirations is that we outrun our rankings, and I think we did that in all of our events this weekend,” head coach Mark Wetmore said. “Pierce had an excellent weekend, the best in our group, scoring in two events and earning first team All-American honors in two events. He’s having a really nice senior year.”

Murphy, who was running his second race in two days after placing third in the 5k on Friday night, ran another excellent race en route to his second first team All-America honor of the championships. His time of 8:02.40 just edged out Colorado State’s Jefferson Abbey and NC State’s Luis Vargas, who both recorded a time of 8:02.43.

Murphy was fifth at the 2k point (2:50.71), but dropped down to eighth as he entered the bell lap (7:34.03) before moving back into fifth position at the very end of the race, closing the final lap in 28.37 seconds.

Winter also had a nice performance to earn his first All-American honor on the track, a second team selection with his 10th place finish. Winter clocked in at 8:04.23, less than two seconds behind the eighth place finisher, Washington’s Colby Gibert (8:02.83), as well as the ninth place runner, Patrick Corona (Air Force), who clocked in at 8:03.12.

The beginning of the race had Winter in the back of the pack, but he moved up to ninth by the bell lap, before eventually falling back one spot to 10th in his first indoor nationals appearance.

The men’s team finished the meet tied for 16th with 13 points, 10 of which came from Murphy.

The women’s race was another close one and was filled with a lot of excitement for Colorado. Both Clark and Benner, who were both competing at their first NCAA Indoors, recorded first team All-America honors with top eight finishes. Their five points also tied the Buffs for 36th in the team race.

Clark was ninth after the first kilometer, running 3:02.23, and moved up to sixth by the 2k mark (6:07.49).  With one lap left, Clark was fourth, but North Dakota State’s Erin Teschuk passed her, finishing the race in 9:08.45, while Clark settled for fifth (9:08.63).

Benner showed steady improvement during the race as she starting the first 1k in 11th position. She was still in 11th at 2k, but after the next 200 meters, had moved up to eighth. With just two laps left in the race, Benner had worked herself up to sixth, but she wasn’t able to hang on and finished eighth in 9:09.66, beating California’s Bethan Knights by a tenth of a second (9:09.79).

“Erin and Kaitlyn had to be a little careful,” Wetmore said. “There were some women entered in the race that were quite a bit faster. The race was fairly aggressive and they wanted to be smart and run within themselves. They ran almost identical to the times that got them here, but in a more difficult and pressured situation.”

Meanwhile in Portland Oregon at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships, former Buff Shalaya Kipp made the podium, running 8:59:85 in the 3k behind Shannon Rowbury and Abbey D’Agostino.

Erin Clark earns All-American for the Indoor 3k

Erin Clark earns All-American for the Indoor 3k at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

CU's Kaitlyn Benner All-American Indoor 3k

Kaitlyn Benner earns All-American for the Indoor 3k at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Pierce Murphy earns All-American for the Indoor 5k

Pierce Murphy earns All-American for the Indoor 5k

Erin Clark earns All-American for the Indoor 3k

Morgan Pearson earns All-American for the Indoor 5k

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