Buffs XC All Set to Race in the 2013 NCAA Championships

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Photo via @CUTrack

Photo via @CUBuffsTrack

The University of Colorado third-rated men’s cross country team, and fifth-ranked women’s team are set to compete in the NCAA Championship on Saturday, November 23, in Terre Haute, Ind.

The men’s 10k race is slated for a 10 a.m. (MST) start and the women’s 6k race will follow at approximately 11:15 a.m. (MST) at the La Vern Gibson Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.

The races will be streamed online at NCAA.com starting at 10 a.m. and live results will be provided via BranchSportsTech http://branchsportstech.com/2013_Meets/xc/11-23-NCAA/index1.php

Follow the action on Twitter #gobuffs #ncaaxc.

Coach Mark Wetmore, was recently named the Mountain Region Women’s Coach Of The Year, has received this honor six times for coaching the Buffalo women and is his 16th overall honor as he has been the region men’s coach 10 times.

Wetmore was recently interviewed by LetsRun.com and had some wonderfully witty responses to their emailed in questions a tone set by their first question:

Your team is being viewed as an NCAA title contender. How is this even possible? How are you in the hunt when you only return one guy from the top 40 and he was 39th last year and only have one sub-14 guy on the team?

You’re right! What was I thinking! We’re gonna get killed! I better change our race plan.

Read the full interview at LetsRun.com

The forecast for Saturday is a high of 36 degrees Fahrenheit, a zero percent chance of precipitation and winds northwest at 21 mph. The course will more than likely be very muddy as the area has seen a lot of precipitation in the last week.  This may be perceived as a bonus for the CU harriers as they tend to run stronger in wet and tough conditions.

Both teams advanced to NCAAs after finishing in the top two at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships. The women dominated the meet and scored 29 points to win over New Mexico’s score of 64. The men placed second, just eight points behind BYU (61-69), to move on to nationals.

Of the 31 men’s teams participating, the CU men will face two other Pac-12 opponents in No. 4 Stanford and No. 5 Oregon. The women have four other Pac-12 competitors in No. 2 Arizona, No. 12 Stanford, No. 17 Oregon and No. 20 Washington. The men won their third consecutive Pac-12 title on Nov. 2, while the women placed second by just six points to Arizona.

Junior Blake Theroux has led the Buffs in two of its four team scoring meets this season. He was third at the Pac-12 Championships before placing 26th at regionals. He also won the Rocky Mountain Shootout and placed 22nd at pre-nationals. Junior Morgan Pearson and sophomore Pierce Murphy have each led the Buffs in one race this season. Pearson placed seventh at pre-nationals, while Murphy was fifth at regionals.

Freshman Ben Saarel has been a very consistent scorer for the Buffs. In his three uniformed varsity races, Saarel has been the No. 2 and No. 3 scorer. He was second to cross the finish at pre-nationals (ninth) and regionals (seventh); and was the third scorer at Pac-12s (fifth).

Sophomores Ammar Moussa and Connor Winter have also scored this season for the Buffs. Moussa’s best finish was a ninth at Pac-12s, while Winter was fourth at that meet.

The CU men were third at nationals last year for the second straight year with 158 points. Jake Hurysz led the Buffs with a 32nd-place finish, Aric Van Halen was 36th and Theroux was 39th. That trio earned All-American honors. Following them was Murphy (45th) and Winter (65th).

The Buffs have been ranked as high as first this season due to their depth. The Buffs return three scorers from the 2012 NCAA Championships in Theroux, Murphy and Winter.

On the women’s side, senior Shalaya Kipp has once again been the top runner for the Buffs. She made her first appearance of the season at pre-nationals, finishing 19th overall, after taking some time off after competing at the IAAF World Championships last August in the steeplechase. She improved to ninth at Pac-12s, but seems to really be hitting her stride as she was the runner-up at regionals last week

Sophomore Carrie Verdon continues this year to be a very consistent No. 2 scorer for the Buffs. She was second overall at the Rocky Mountain Shootout, 22nd at pre-nationals, 10th at Pac-12s and was fourth at regionals. True freshmen Erin Clark and Melanie Nun have made an immediate impact for CU, as each has scored at pre-nationals, Pac-12s and regionals. Other Buffs that have scored this season include Jenny DeSouchet, Abby Levene, Catrina McAlister and Liz Tremblay.

Colorado was 24th overall at the 2012 championship, totaling 519 points. Kipp led the Buffs with an 18th-place finish to earn her third All-American honors, joining just three other females in CU history to accomplish that feat. Verdon and Tremblay also raced in 2013; Verdon was 136th and Tremblay placed 237th.



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