CU Cross Country 20 Year Reunion – Recap
When Sara Slattery joined the staff of the C-Club back in January, she saw an immediate need to raise awareness for the program and to stay in touch with former teammates
“Track and Field hasn’t had a reunion in twenty years. I thought it would be good to reach out to everyone again, get current and former athletes together, to put names to faces and have a chance to share their stories.”
Slattery herself, a highly decorated alum, planned a full weekend of events around CU’s Homecoming festivities. “The first year is always the hardest, rounding up names and getting contacts from former athletes.”
Slattery started where she could. She worked with former Coach Jerry Quiller who was instrumental in building the program, taking the 1985 men’s team their first podium finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, and Rich Castro who worked with Quiller and later went on to coach the Women’s XCountry team and founder of the Boulder Road Runners.
Starting out Friday night, about 225-250 of the 650 former letter winners packed into the back space of the Boulder Draft House where alumni and current athletes mingled, shared stories and laughed about the good ‘ol days. The guest list had such austere names as CU miler John Lunn to Mike Macinko who still holds the 800m record, to almost everyone immortalized in Leer’s Running with the Buffaloes and of course, Coach ‘Q’ who many former athletes were excited to see again.
“I am looking forward talking with is Coach Quiller who has had a significant impact to the program, recently survived cancer, and still has a great attitude. I am honored to meet and work with him.” added Slattery.
Over the din of the crowd, Slattery, introduced Coach Quiller and his 3rd place Men’s team, then Coach Wetmore who waxed poetic before introducing his 2000 women’s National Champions which included Sarah Slattery, Leslie Higgens, and Tera Moody.
The following day, alumni gathered to tailgate at CU’s homecoming football game. And although the Buffs football team was unsuccessful in winning their game, it provided another successful opportunity to catch up and for young and old to hear each other’s stories.
Castro and Quiller reminisced about the days old, including when they drove down to the Texas Relays in a van. “The drive was so long we barely remember the race” quipped Castro.
On Sunday a few of the alum went out for a Sunday jog with the Boulder Road Runners to cap off the weekend’s events.
This weekend’s events also gave opportunity for the C-Club to kick off the Chris Severy Endowment.
The Chris Severy Endowment will also be recognized during the reunion. The endowment is named in honor of Chris Severy, a former CU athlete who was tragically killed in a bike accident while competing at CU. He was an All-American and an Academic All-American for the Buffaloes. The endowment directly supports the track and field and cross country programs.
The interest from the endowment would go to items directly support the Track and XC program. Even though Track and Field/Cross Country is one of the most successful programs in the school, they are severely affected by decreasing budgets.
”I would like the team to have things like I had when I went through the program, like the Fall training camp, which was cut due to budgets and currently the Track and Field offices are in the dungeons of the Balk Field House.” Slattery added.
The endowment would also help support CU’s hosting of the 2013 Pac 10 Championships. In order to hold a race of that magnitude, the course would need to see some improvements to the surface of the course (grass) and facilities to support the amount of fans it would bring.
The planning around the championships and working with the city looks to be the next in the order of business.
**Slattery is a 10-time All-American, two-time national champion in the indoor 5,000m and outdoor 10k, a member of two NCAA Cross Country Championship winning teams in 2000 and 2004, and set four CU school records in the mile (4:40.35), 3k (9:07.16), 5k (15:39.25) and the outdoor 5k (15:24.97). and also won the 2006 Bolder Boulder 10k.