Colorado sophomore Joe Klecker took home top honors in the men's 10-kilometer race on Friday at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships in Logan, Utah, while the top-ranked CU women's team recorded their fifth straight region title.

The win automatically advances the women to the NCAA Championships, while the men, who earned a third-place finish, should receive an at-large bid to NCAAs. Those will be announced on Saturday by the NCAA.

Top-ranked Colorado led the whole way, running a very controlled and smart race to earn its ninth straight trip to the NCAA Championships, besting No. 2 New Mexico for the fifth consecutive year (62-70).

Junior Makena Morley led CU for the second straight year at regionals, finishing the 6k race seventh overall in 20 minutes and 21.5 seconds.

Junior Dani Jones and sophomore Sage Hurta tied for 12th, both finishing in 20:29.4. Right on their shoulder was senior Kaitlyn Benner, who was 14th overall (20:29.6). The final scorer for CU was sophomore Brianna Schwartz, who was 16th in 20:33.7.

"New Mexico came here with the same mentality that we do, which is to run as carefully as possible. In their case, they sat out their second or third best runner, who I believe won this a year ago, so they were a little light in their personal," Colorado coach Mark Wetmore said. " We ran pretty much everybody, but we did keep out Madie Boreman. I was happy with how our team ran. Everybody got through unscathed, so now its rest up and be ready again in eight days."


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Colorado, which was ranked fifth nationally and third in the region, finished exactly on paper where they were supposed to finish. The Buffs ran a great race, finishing just one point behind No. 2 BYU (79-80). Northern Arizona won with 49 points.

Klecker, who finished second at the Pac-12 Championships two weeks ago, had one of his best cross country races ever, defeating BYU's Rory Linkletter by just one second (30:13.6-30:14.6). Klecker was 14th after the first two miles before jumping up to third at the three-mile split. He stayed there until the final portion of the race to become the first Buff since Billy Nelson [in 2005] to win the men's region championship.

"Well, Joe ran very well and I am pleased he got a win. But I'm confident that there were a lot of people in there being very careful and thinking more about next week," Wetmore said. "I talked to him and I said 'You didn't borrow from next week for a win at regionals did you?' and he said 'No, I was in control the whole way and felt good.'"

2017 NCAA MOUNTAIN REGION CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS

At Logan, Utah

Men's 10k

Team scores — 1. Northern Arizona 49; 2. BYU 79; 3. Colorado 80; 4. Colorado State 103; 5. Air Force 118; 6. Southern Utah 127; 7. Utah State 197; 8. New Mexico 260; 9. Wyoming 286; 10. Weber State 301; 11. Utah Valley 316; 12. Montana State 379; 13. Idaho State 380; 14. New Mexico State 389; 15. UTEP 417; 16. Texas Tech 427; 17. Northern Colorado 451; 18. Montana 500.

Top 10 individuals — 1. Joe Klecker, CU, 30:13.6; 2. Rory Linkletter, BYU, 30:14.6; 3. Tyler Day, NAU, 30:16.5; 4. Connor McMillian, BYU, 30:17.3; 5. Matthew Baxter, NAU, 30:18.3; 6. Jerrell Mock, CSU, 30:19.9; 7. Dillon Maggard, USU, 30:26.4; 8. Mickey Davey, AFA, 30:32.0; 9. Zach Perrin, CU, 30:32.2; 10. Grant Fischer, CSU, 30:38.4.

Other CU finshers — 17. Ryan Forsyth, 30:45.4; 25. Eduardo Herrera, 30:55.8; 28. Ethan Gonzales, 31:04.7; 35. Christian Martin, 31:16.0; 47. Adam Peterman, 31:32.4.

Women's 6k

Team scores — 1. Colorado 62; 2. New Mexico 70; 3. BYU 113; 4. Utah Stata 125; 5. Utah 149; 6. Air Force 183; 7. Colorado State 194; 8. Northern Arizona 231; 9. Nevada 231; 10. Montana State, 301; 11. Weber State 306; 12. Idaho State 335; 13. Utah Valley 354; 14. UTEP 366; 15. Wyoming 376; 16. Southern Utah 391; 17. Montana 438.5; 18. New Mexico State 471; 19. Texas Tech 495.

Top 10 individuals — 1. Ednah Kurgat, UNM, 20:01.4; 2. Grayson Murphy, UU, 20:04.0; 3. Weini Kelati, UNM, 20:05.5; 4. Winny Koech, UTEP, 20:08.5; 5. Charlotte Prouse, UNM, 20:15.3; 6. Jaci Smith, AFA, 20:17.0; 7. Makena Morley, CU, 20:21.5; 8. Paige Gilchrist, NAU, 20:21.8; 9. Laura Young, BYU, 20:22.1; 10. Jenica Dodge, ISU, 20:25.7.

Other CU finishers — 12. Sage Hurta, 20:29.4; 12. Dani Jones, 20:29.4; 14. Kaitlyn Benner, 20:29.6; 16. Brianna Schwartz, 20:33.7; 20. Melanie Nun, 20:40.3; 31. Mackenzie Caldwell, 21:01.7.