The University of Colorado Boulder cross country team closed out the regular season with two races, as they prepare for the upcoming Pac-12 Championships on Oct. 28 in Riverside, California. The Buffs competed in the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 14 in Madison, Wisconsin, where the team finished eighth for the men and ninth for the women and secured two top-10 finishes. Another group of Buffs went to the Highlander Invitational on Oct. 15 in Riverside to preview the Pac-12 Championships course, finishing fifth for both the women’s and men’s teams and returning with two top-10 finishes.
The No. 7 ranked Colorado women’s team finished ninth at the Nuttycombe Invitational, lower than expected. Leading the Colorado team with a top-5 finish, the highest of any Buff in this final week of preparations, graduate student Bailey Hertenstein came in with a time of 20:02.7 for the 6K.
“Well, Bailey was certainly the highlight of the day,” said head coach Mark Wetmore. “This is an excellent field. This is almost the NCAA minus one or two teams. Fifth place for her with the time that she ran exceeded my expectations.”
Behind her, junior Emily Covert finished 29th with 20:20.5 and graduate student Ella Baran finished 47th with 20:31.7.
The No. 8 ranked men’s team finished eighth in the Nuttycombe Invitational and conquered the B team title. Senior Austin Vancil, Colorado’s top runner, finished 22nd with a time of 23:29.0. Then came graduate students Seth Hirsch in 23rd and Andrew Kent in 44th.
In addition to picking up the B team title, freshman Isaiah Givens ran unattached and dived at the tape to win the B race with a time of 23:59.2.
“We knew Isaiah had a very nice race three weeks ago in Oklahoma, but it was a pleasant surprise to see him so far up and dive at the tape violently to get the win,” Wetmore said. “He’s going to be a good one for us one day.”
Given the mixed results for both the men’s and women’s teams, the Buffs hope to improve during the two weeks leading up to the Pac-12 Championships.
“There were highlights,” Wetmore said. “Austin ran well. Seth ran very well. Some others didn’t deliver today for us. As I said for the women, we have to make some strides in the next two weeks, or [else] we will be coming home disappointed from California.”
At least, the team that attended the Highlander Invitational to report on the Pac-12 Championships course in Riverside saw more success, with fifth-place finishes for both the men’s and the women’s races.
Sophomore Jake Derouin led the men’s team, coming across in 10th place with a time of 24:04.0 for the 8K. Then came Caleb Niednagel in 19th place. For the women’s team, sophomore Alisa Meraz-Fishbein, the frontrunner for the Buffs, finished the 6K with a time of 20:50.4 in 19th place.
The next race for the Buffaloes will be the Pac-12 Championships, hosted by the University of Southern California in Riverside, California, on Oct. 28.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Vittorio Bongioanni at firstname.lastname@example.org.