NCAA Championships

When: Saturday. Women's race, 10 a.m. MST; men's race, 11 a.m. MST.

Where: Tom Sawyer State Park, Louisville, Ky.

Online: A live webcast of the championships will be broadcast from 10 a.m. MST until the conclusion of the awards ceremony on

History is there for the taking for the University of Colorado men's cross country team.

Since the first NCAA cross country championships were held in 1938 only five teams, hailing from just four different programs, have collected three consecutive men's team titles. Ranked No. 1 in the nation throughout the season and favored to lead the pack Saturday at the NCAA finals in Louisville, Ky., the Buffaloes are poised to add CU's name to that prestigious list.

"The depth on our men's team is phenomenal," said CU assistant coach Billy Nelson, a former Buffs All-American and a member of the 2006 title team. "We never had that when I was on the team. It's definitely something we're excited about. It's something special. If the men can pull it off this year, I don't think it's going to be repeated for a lot of years to come. It's a place in history we'll be happy to be a part of."

Arkansas is the lone program to record the three-peat feat twice and also the most recent, winning three in a row from 1998 through 2000. No other men's program besides Arkansas has recorded a three-peat since UTEP capped a run of six titles in seven years with four in a row from 1978 through 1981.


Nelson was part of several CU teams that helped elevate the program's stature on the national map a decade ago. Serving in a mentor role to the current bunch that is chasing history has provided a unique perspective.

"For myself, I was very happy when we won as a team in 2006. Watching these guys win, I probably enjoy it a little bit more," Nelson said. "I was the one doing the work back then, and now you see others doing the work and seeing how emotional they are with it and how excited they are. It's definitely something I enjoy watching, them being successful. It's definitely cool to see their hard work pay off. This could be a special year."

CU is likely to unleash five former All-Americans in its lineup Saturday, a list that includes Ammar Moussa, Pierce Murphy, Morgan Pearson, Ben Saarel and Connor Winter. Each of those runners has contributed to at least one CU national championship. Pearson redshirted last year, but the remainder of that group competed for the Buffs at each of the past two title-winning efforts at the national meet.

"My first time through it, I didn't know what to do when it comes to preparing. Or how much I should taper, or shouldn't taper," Murphy said. "I feel like this time around I know pretty well how I should feel the week coming up to nationals. That can only be learned from racing over and over again, knowing exactly how your body is going to perform."

Pat Rooney: or