Many University of Colorado distance runners recorded their outdoor season debuts on Friday at the Stanford Invitational against some of the best competition in the country.
“This meet is early in our season’s training,” head coach Mark Wetmore said. “We come here to measure our fitness and are hopeful of getting some NCAA qualifying marks. I think we accomplished both of those goals tonight. Some people did well; some have work to do, but there are six weeks to go before the important stuff.”
Senior Connor Winter became CU’s seventh fastest performer in the 3,000-meter steeplechase after clocking a time of 8:42.44, which surpassed his previous personal best of 8:48.93. The mark put him sixth overall in the top section of the steeplechase and is currently the fifth-fastest time in the NCAA Division I.
Sophomore Adam Peterman ran in the second section of the steeplechase and finished ninth in 9:06.10
On the women’s side, sophomore Erin Clark just missed her personal best (9:59.67) in the steeplechase as she raced to a time of 10:00.77 to place seventh in the top section. Sophomore Val Constien recorded a PR in the third heat, finishing in 10:26.06, which was fifth, while graduate student Lucy Cheadle was ninth in that same section, finishing in 10:33.01.
“Connor was great tonight in the steeplechase and Erin had a good race with very little technical preparation,” Wetmore said.
The Buffs also had success in the 1,500. The second section of the women’s race was a very close finish with five runners, including a pair of Buffs, crossing the finish line within a second of each other. Stanford’s Claudia Sanders won the heat in 4:17.33, while senior Maddie Alm was third with a PR of 4:17.83. Freshman Dani Jones took fifth in the race, also earning a PR at 4:17.99. Oklahoma State’s Savannah Camaho was second (4:17.56) and Washington’s Anna Maxwell took fourth (4:17.96), rounding out the top five. Alm’s time put her ninth on CU’s all-time performers list, while Jones is 10th.
Another pair of Buffs ran in the 1,500 earlier in the day. Freshman Tayler Tuttle was fifth in the fourth section (4:26.84) and freshman Elissa Mann took ninth (4:32.86) in the seventh heat.
In the men’s 1,500, sophomore Zach Perrin finished second in the top heat, finishing in 3:43.76. It was a close race, but he was just edged at the finish by Oliver Aitchison (Adams State), who clocked a time of 3:43.62. Freshman Joe Klecker ran in the second section of the men’s 1,500 and earned a third place finish with a time of 3:46.86, just .40 seconds off the winning time (3:46.46).
“Maddie and Dani were also great in the 1,500 and Zach’s 1,500 was good for this early,” Wetmore said.
The Buffs also had a lot of success in the 5,000. Sophomore Mackenzie Caldwell started the action off by running a PR of 16:15.12 in the third section of the race (11th overall), while freshman Cayla Seligman was 21st with a very decent time of 16:52.02. Sophomore Kaitlyn Benner, who was running the top section, recorded a huge PR as she clocked in 11th in 15:56.52, besting her previous time of 16:15.79. The time also put her 10th on CU’s all-time performers list.
The men started off with sophomore Ryan Forsyth earning a fifth place finish in the third heat while running a PR of 14:01.27. Senior Ammar Moussa raced in the top section of the 5k and came away with a 13th place finish and a time of 13:57.16. Freshman John Dressel had the best night for the Buffs in the men’s 5k, finishing with a PR of 13:48.88, which was second in the second heat.
“John had an excellent run tonight,” Wetmore said. “That must be one of the fastest freshmen times ever at CU.”
The final event of the day for Colorado was the women’s 10,000. Junior Carrie Verdon recorded a time of 34:09.31, which was 26th overall.
“There were a lot of good races tonight, but also lots of times to keep getting better,” Wetmore said. “Now it’s back to work on Sunday.”
Earlier in the day at Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, the Buffs had several sprinters in action despite numerous weather delays. Junior Jaron Thomas led the Buffs in the men’s 110-meter hurdle prelims and earned a 15th place finish in 14.45 after placing fourth in the seventh heat. Freshman Alex Billing placed 36th overall, third in his heat, with a time of 14.97 and junior Austin Mitsch placed 44th overall in the 100-meter dash prelims (10.86).
The women’s 4×400-meter relay just missed advancing to the finals, coming in 10th overall. Sophomores Alex Peters and Ana Holland combined with freshman Gabby Scott and senior Eileen Gehring for a time of 3:47.82, a little less than half a second behind the final qualifier for the finals, Houston, which crossed the finish in 3:47.43. Individually, sophomore Tashay Brown was 50th in the women’s 100 (12.55).