The University of Colorado cross country team could not be stopped on Saturday as senior Erin Clark made school history.
For the third time in the school's long history of the CU-hosted Rocky Mountain Shootout on south campus, Clark finished the tough course in under 20 minutes.
She recorded a 19:54 time in the 5.8-kilometer race, placing her behind Jenny Simpson in 2009 (19:25) and Kara Grgas-Wheeler in 2000 (19:38).
"It just bodes really well," Clark said. "I have a lot of really high aspirations for this senior year, so I think I'm setting it up the way it needs to be set up."
The Buffaloes, who ran both attached and unattached, won first place in each category.
Heading into Saturday's race, the women tied for No. 2 in the nation with New Mexico and the men were deadlocked at No. 5 with Arkansas. After the Buffaloes' dominant performance, they may find themselves climbing back up to the top.
Behind Clark, four more Buffs finished in the top six as Kaitlyn Benner (second; 20:02), Makena Morley (third; 20:11), Dani Jones (fourth, 20:17) and Melanie Nun (sixth, 21:23) rounded out Colorado's core powerhouse on the women's side.
"Seeing how well our other girls finished — we were really running as a pack strong there for quite a while — so I think it sets up really well for the team and I'm just really excited for what we can do," Clark said.
Looking forward the rest of the season, head coach Mark Wetmore was very pleased with his athletes' performance on the women's side.
"I would say the women here were excellent, everything we hoped for and a little more. It's definitely our best front four ever," Wetmore said. "So women get an A."
On the men's side, the Buffs took each of the top five 8-kilometer spots, more or less. Sophomore John Dressel won the race with a 24:38 finish, but he ran unattached to preserve his eligibility for more important races down the road.
"In the men's, the front guys were wonderful," Wetmore said. "When we have four under 25, I think, and at least one of the guys behind him is a sub-25 guy when I let his legs recover. So they're pretty good. B-plus."
Joe Klecker (second; 24:42), Zach Perrin (third; 24:56) and Ryan Forsyth (fourth; 25:04) filled the next three spots running officially for CU as Ben Saarel finished fifth overall with an unattached 25:14 time.
"We all raced good, so I think we can run better than our preseason ranking. I don't think a lot of teams expected us to be as strong as we think we are," redshirt freshman Klecker said. "I think we'll definitely beat (the No. 5 ranking) if everyone stays healthy."