Local Distance Runners Excel At Payton Jordan Invite

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A little over a week ago, University of Colorado runner Dani Jones set the CU freshman 1,500-meter record, clocking in at 4:15.29 at the Stanford Twilight. On Sunday, she returned to the scene of the crime at the Payton Jordan Invitational and set CU’s freshman 800 record after finishing in 2:05.27.

“Dani had a really nice PR in the 800,” head coach Mark Wetmore said. “She ran 2:08 in the past for us and ran 2:05 tonight in what was really a tune-up for the 1,500 later in the season.”

Jones placed fifth overall in the fourth section of the race, surpassing her teammate Elissa Mann, for the freshman record. Jones ranks third on CU’s 800 all-time performers list behind Jenny Simpson (2:02.54) and Lee Ballenger (2:03.7), while Mann is fourth with a time of 2:05.78 from the Stanford Twilight (April 22).

Two other CU women were in action at the star-studded meet Sunday night. Sophomore Erin Clark took fourth in the second section of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 10:01.20. She was the highest placing collegiate athlete in her heat and had over 20 seconds on the next collegiate finisher, Furman’s Allie Buchalski, who recorded a 10th place finish in 10:22.12. In the 1,500, senior Maddie Alm was sixth (section 3) after clocking in at 4:18.48. Both Clark and Alm were less than a second off their season bests.

Senior Pierce Murphy became the eighth fastest Buff in the 10,000-meter run, clocking a finish of 28:48.79. Murphy placed 20th overall in a field of many professionals and was the second highest collegiate runner, as well as the top American collegiate runner. Murphy’s time leads the Pac-12 Conference and is fifth overall in the NCAA Division I.

“Pierce’s race was probably the highlight of the meet for us,” Wetmore said. “It was a really nice effort for him and is a regional qualifying mark, as well as one of the top times in CU history.”

Connor Winter, a senior, recorded a personal best in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, running 8:41.37 to place sixth in the second section as the fourth highest collegiate runner [in the section]. The time put him 10th overall in the NCAA Division I.

“Connor had a personal best as well,” Wetmore said. “He wasn’t quite as fast as what we had hoped for, but in a field of mostly professionals, it was a good performance. He pulled out a little hard and struggled a little at the end, but he still leads the conference.”

Since transferring to CU, junior Nick Harris has been making a mark in the middle distance events and Sunday night was not any different. Harris, who won the fifth section of the 800, earned a time of 1:49:38 to put him seventh on CU’s all-time list. Freshman John Dressel raced the 1,500 and earned a fourth place finish in the sixth section after finishing in 3:47.81. Senior Ammar Moussa hit the track in the third section of the 5,000. He finished 12th overall with a time of 13:56.60, his season best and the third best time by a Buff this season.

“Overall it was a good day with some good marks,” Wetmore said. “Most everyone got what they had hoped for and now we go into team mode and point scoring mode heading into the Pac-12 Championships.”

Olympic standard qualifing marks by Boulder runners

Alia Gray, who was 10th at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles just ran the Olympic Qualifying standard in the 10k running 31.59:23 for a 30 second PR.

Shalaya Kipp, a former CU Buff and 2012 Olympian, ran a qualifying mark in the steeple at 9:43.72 for third place. She ran the same time in 2012 for the win at the Payton Invitational for her 2nd win at the meet.

Another former CU Buff Sara Slattery was also able to slip under the qualifying mark in the 10,000m, running 32:13.03 earning her a trip to the Olympic Trials in Eugene this July.

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