The Colorado Buffaloes kicked off their 2012 Cross Country season this past weekend with the CU Alumni Time Trial at the Buffalo Ranch. The meet — used as more of a steady effort than that of a race — is always a good barometer for who the contenders will be for each of the varsity squads. The men and women, both of whom were the Pac-12 Champions in 2011, looked strong on Saturday, and in typical Buffalo Cross Country fashion, this looks to be another exciting year.
MEN’S RACE/2012 Preview
Tradition prevailed for the men’s race as eight men clad with CU jerseys crossed the finish line together, finishing in a modest but respectable 26:14 for eight kilometers. Among those in the top ten were sophomore Blake Theroux and senior Martin Medina, both members of 2011 team that placed third at the NCAA championships. Senior Matt Biegner was also in the main group. Bieigner was an alternate for the NCAA team last year.
Aric Van Halen, another alternate for the 2011 NCAA Cross Country team finished a bit off the pack, but still in contention in 26:18 after the 8K. Van Halen is coming off of a stellar track campaign that saw him finish 10th in the NCAA steeplechase final.
Some new faces in the crowd were transfers junior Jake Hurysz and sophomore Morgan Pearson. Hurysz had a very successful 2012 outdoor track season that saw him post times of 13:38 for 5k and 3:43 for 1500m. While competing at the University of North Carolina, Hursyz became the first Tarheel since 1997 to qualify for the NCAA cross country tournament, where he placed 62nd as a sophomore.
Pearson is a transfer from Duke who had moderate success in cross country and track as a Blue Devil and could be a key player in the upcoming season.
Among some of the spectators at the race were a handful of CU men that will likely have a huge impact on the team in 2012. Top freshman from last year, Ammar Moussa, was seen around the course toting an enormous dog on a leash instead of short shorts and a CU jersey. Moussa, if healthy, will be a key part to the Buffaloes success this upcoming season.
The biggest question mark on the men’s side is senior Joe Bosshard, a multiple time All-American and owner of a cool, steely resolve come race day. Battling through sickness in 2011, he still managed to finish 24th at NCAA Cross Country Championships. Bosshard is coming back from hip surgery and may or may not be competing this fall.
Other than the few names listed above, there are a slew of men that have the chance to crack the top seven come championship season, including but not limited to sophomore Hugh Dowdy, freshman David Kilgore, freshman Pierce Murphy, and freshman Connor Winter.
The Buffs go into the 2012 season ranked 5th in the country by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), but if Mark Wetmore and the Buffs have anything to say about it, they very well could find themselves on top of the podium come November.
Women’s Race/2012 Preview
Going in to the 2012 season the CU women are ranked 13th in the country by the USTFCCCA. In 2011 the Lady Buffs won the inaugural Pac-12 Championship but finished a disappointing 11th at the NCAAs. With a strong showing at the Time Trial on Saturday, it’s clear that 2012 is going to be about stepping out of the shadow of their 2011 season.
Much like the men’s race, a pack of CU women crossed the finish line together on Saturday. Among the group that finished in 22:04 were Courtney Bouchet, Rachel Baptista, Jana Stolting, Rachel Viger and Staci Foster. Baptista and Viger were both members of the 2011 NCAA Cross Country team.
Stolting, a transfer from San Francisco had an impressive track season; she placed 15th at the NCAA West Regional meet in the 10k. Stolting will likely be a contender for that top seven.
One key player that was missing from the bunch was multiple time All-American, NCAA Champion, and 2012 Olympian Shalaya Kipp. Kipp’s 2012 track and field campaign was lengthy, and she will likely be used sparingly on the team until championships season.
Wetmore seemed pleased with the women’s effort on Saturday and when you throw Shalaya Kipp, and Senior Camille Logan in to the mix, the Lady Buffs could be out for some redemption by the time the gun goes off in Louisville, Kentucky for the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
The Buffs will be in action again come September 29th, when they host the suffer-fest known as the Rocky Mountain Shootout.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Ryan Sterner at Ryan.email@example.com.