The championship dynasty erected by coach Mark Wetmore began here, with the program's first NCAA title. Braving sub-zero temperatures in Ames, Iowa, Kara Grgas-Wheeler led the way by claiming the women's individual title while Sara Gorton placed eighth — the best finish at the NCAA final for a CU freshman in program history.
The men's program was the nation's top-ranked team from the preseason all the way through the championship ceremony on the medals stand in Greenville, S.C. CU edged future league rival Stanford by one point in the finale, getting a runner-up finish from junior Jorge Torres and a fourth-place finish from Dathan Ritzenhein. Torres won the individual title a year later.
The CU women claimed their second title behind a dominant performance that saw the Buffs score 63 points after needing just 117 to win four years earlier. All five CU runners landed in the top 30, a pace led by Renee Metivier's second NCAA runner-up finish. Liza Pasciuto placed 13th and Christine Bolf was 14th.
The second title in four years for the CU men also clinched a national-title sweep for the Buffs in '04. Brent Vaughn led the way with a fourth-place finish — the first of his three career top 12 finishes at nationals — and senior Jon Severy finished 21st while becoming the first CU athlete to run at nationals for two title-winning teams.
The Buffs overcame muddy conditions to claim their second title in three seasons. Brent Vaughn once again led the way with a 12th-place finish. All five CU runners placed in the top 56 overall and the top 34 among runners attached to full teams.
The CU men earned their fourth title since 2001 by overcoming a runner-up Northern Arizona squad that had topped the Buffs just eight days earlier at regionals. Ben Saarel set the pace with an eighth-place finish, becoming the first CU freshman to reap All-America honors since current assistant coach Billy Nelson in 2002. The Buffs' top four scorers all landed in the top 40.
The Buffs made history with the first repeat national championship in program history. All five CU runners finished in the top 40 with three landing in the top 10 — Ammar Moussa (fourth), Ben Saarel (seventh) and Blake Theroux (ninth).Individuals
Mark Scrutton, 1982: Inducted this year into the CU athletics Hall of Fame, Scutton finished his career with a record 14 Big Eight Conference titles.
Adam Goucher, 1998: Recorded three top-six finishes at nationals before finally claiming the top prize as a senior in his final race in a CU uniform. Goucher was the first Buffs runner to win national titles in cross country in addition to wins in both the indoor and outdoor track seasons.
Jorge Torres, 2002: A kick down the stretch gave Torres the crown, and the 10th-place finish by his brother Ed was the best effort by a set of twins in the sport's history.
Dathan Ritzenhein, 2003: Overcoming a stress fracture the previous year and a wind-chill factor that dipped toward zero, Ritzenhein gave CU its first set of back-to-back champions.
Mary Decker, 1978: Women's cross country wasn't a sanctioned NCAA sport until 1981, but Decker set the stage for a prolific international career by putting together a dramatic late kick to win the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national title.
Kara Grgas-Wheeler, 2000: CU's first female winner in the NCAA era, Grgas-Wheeler won every race that season while becoming the first individual champion on a title-winning team since 1994.
-- Pat Rooney