Ten Colorado athletes have qualified for the March 10-11 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas.
Ben Saarel, Zachary Perrin, John Dressel and Joe Klecker will represent the men's team, while Erin Clark, Dani Jones and the members of the women's distance medley relay will compete for the women.
"This is our largest group in a few years," CU head coach Mark Wetmore said. "We are happy to get this many through. Disappointed to have a couple barely miss, but they will make it soon. Maybe even by outdoors."
Saarel will make NCAA finals debut in the mile and will also race in the 3,000 meters. Saarel's mile time of 4:01.49 at the Colorado Open in February qualified him. The 3,000 meters, however, is nothing new to Saarel, who finished third overall in 2014, clocking an 8:13.45 time to earn All-American honors. He enters the 2017 NCAA Championships with the 15th fastest time in the country at 7:53.74.
Dressel, a sophomore, also qualified in two events as he will compete in the 5,000 and 3,000 meters. This will be Dressel's first trip to the NCAA Championships. He owns the 10th fastest 3,000-meter time in the country after clocking 7:51.44 this past weekend at the MPSF Championships. Dressel is the only Buff who will be competing in the 5K with his time of 13:42.57, which ranks fifth in the nation.
With the ninth fastest 3,000 time in the country, Klecker is set to compete in his first indoor National Championships. Klecker clocked a 7:51.43 at the Husky Classic to qualify. Zachary Perrin is also ready to run in his first NCAA Championship in the mile as he qualified with a time of 4:02.27 earlier this season.
Clark is returning to the National Championships in the 3,000 meters, where a year ago she placed fifth with a time of 9:08.63 to earn All-America honors in the event. The junior is currently the seventh fastest 3K runner in the country, with a time of 9:05.93 from the Husky Classic.
Making her NCAA Championship debut, Jones is set to compete in the 3,000 meters alongside Clark. Jones currently has the No. 2 time in the country with a 9:02.22.
The women's distance medley relay, comprised of Tabor Scholl, Elissa Mann, Sage Hurta and Jones, qualified for the championships last weekend after winning the MPSF Championships with a time of 10:58.68.
"We have a useful block of time now to resume training and maybe advance their fitness before racing in Texas," Wetmore said. "Everyone is excited."
The mile, 5,000 meters and DMR relay are set for March 10, starting at 4:30 p.m. MT. The 3,000 meters will be March 11, starting at 5 p.m. MT with the women's finals.