On the run

A look at the CU athletes who will compete in the NCAA West Preliminaries next week in Lawrence, Kan.


Maddie Alm: 1,500

Kaitlyn Benner: 5,000

Mackenzie Caldwell: 5,000, 10,000

Erin Clark: Steeplechase, 1,500

Val Constien: Steeplechase

Kelsey English: High jump

Erin Gehring: 400

Ana Holland: 200

Dani Jones: 1,500

Elissa Mann: 800

Cayla Seligman: 5,000

Abrianna Torres: High jump, long jump

Carrie Verdon: 5,000, 10,000

Mariah Walker: Shot put

Relays: 400, 1,600

Men John Dressel: 5,000

Ryan Forsyth: 5,000

Nick Harris: 1,500

Joe Klecker: 5,000

Ammar Moussa: 5,000, 10,000

Pierce Murphy: 5,000, 10,000

Morgan Pearson: 5,000

Zach Perrin: 1,500

Adam Peterman: Steeplechase

Brady Rutt: Shot put, hammer

Jaron Thomas: 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles

Connor Winter: Steeplechase

As expected, the University of Colorado will take an impressive contingent of athletes to the NCAA track and field West Preliminaries next week.


The Buffaloes will take a total of 14 women to the competition in Lawrence, Kan., in addition to 12 men. The regional begins on May 26, with the top 12 finishers in each event advancing to the NCAA finals, which begin June 8 in Eugene, Ore.

"I think it's a little bigger group than we've had in the past, so that of course is always good," CU coach Mark Wetmore said. "Several of them have very high marks going in and should have a decent chance of moving on. So we feel good about that."

Leading the way for the Buffs on the women's side is Erin Clark, who is slotted third in the steeplechase. Clark and fellow sophomore Kaitlyn Benner will lead a pack of five Buffaloes athletes who will compete in the 5-kilometer run, with Benner going in with the No. 7 seed. That duo finished 1-2 in the event at the Pac-12 championships with Benner leading the way.

Elissa Mann received the 11th seed in the 800 and Val Constien earned the same spot in the steeplechase. Four CU women qualified for two individual events — Clark (5K, 10K), Mackenzie Caldwell (5K, 10K), Carrie Verdon (5K, 10K) and Abrianna Torres (high jump, long jump).

The CU women also qualified in the 400 meter relay and 1,600-meter relay.

The men's side also was highlighted by distance runners, with six Buffs qualifying for the 5K. Four of those six are seeded in the top 15, a group paced by Morgan Pearson (fourth), Pierce Murphy (seventh), Joe Klecker (10th) and John Dressel (15th). Murphy also nabbed the third seed in the 10,000-meter run.

Connor Winter received the CU men's other top-10 seed with the No. 9 spot in the steeplechase. The CU men also will have four athletes compete in two individual events — Murphy (5K, 10K), Ammar Moussa (5K, 10K), Jaron Thomas (110 hurdles, 400 hurdles) and Brady Rutt (shot put, hammer).

"The trial rounds can be disconcerting at this level," Wetmore said. "If you have a bad first run it really turns up the pressure. In the past we've often been concerned about the weather, especially when it's 100 and humid in Austin, but right now this situation looks better. So then the races are tactical. The races will be tight and crowded with a lot of bumping and there's lots that can go wrong."

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07