As usual, it was a good day for the Colorado track and field team Saturday at the annual Colorado Invitational.

Among the highlights for Buffaloes were victories in two events by freshman Gunner Rigsby, dominant team efforts in the women's 3,000-meter run and the men's 1,500-meter run, as well as a wealth of personal-best times and scores across CU's lineup.

Yet CU head coach Mark Wetmore has been around long enough to understand who the true MVPs were Saturday at Potts Field: the CU athletics grounds crew.

Despite a record number of entrants for the meet and uncooperative weather that turned a two-day affair into a single day of jam-packed action, the Buffs still were able to enjoy a standout performance at their final home meet of the outdoor season.

It was the largest competition at the CU Invitational in Wetmore's 23 years leading the program, with over 900 athletes comprising over 1,300 entries. Wetmore said the previous high number of competitors was "in the low-700s."

"Having it as big as it is certainly complicated it, but we pulled it off," Wetmore said. "It's important to say the stars of the weekend was the grounds crew. If you had seen this place at seven o'clock (Friday) night you wouldn't have imagined there would be a track meet today. They were here at six in the morning plowing, moving things, melting things. They did heroic work to get this to happen."


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With the Friday forecasts looking bleak, on Thursday CU altered the event to accommodate a 10 a.m., one-day competition on Saturday. When the cold, snowy weather lingered longer than expected Friday, that start time ultimately was moved to noon. That's why head throws coach Casey Malone celebrated his birthday on Friday by staying at his office until about 11 p.m. re-formatting that record number of entries.

"It was the perfect storm, really," Malone said. "Last week we got contacted by several schools that had other meets cancelled around the country, so we had some last-minute teams that we accepted into the meet thinking we had a two-day schedule and we could absorb some extra teams. As soon as the 10-day weather report comes out I'm looking every minute. Especially for spring track in Colorado. Unfortunately the weather got worse and worse and worse."

The compacted schedule did little to dull the Buffs' accomplishments. The trio of Val Constien, Lindsey Koch, and Annie Kelly swept the top three spots in the women's 3,000-meter run while the men's team took three of the top five spots in the 1,500-meter run thanks to Zach Perrin (second), Ben Saarel (third), and Ryan Forsyth (fifth) leading the way.

Rigsby placed first in the long jump and triple jump, while sophomore Sage Huerta did the same in the women's 800-meter run.

"Step-by-step we put in the A-team as they need and as the season requires," Wetmore said. "The longer they likely are to go into the season, the later they start. As far as the distance runners that have been waiting, some of them are breaking out. And then everyone else was in that was healthy."

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

CU INVITATIONAL

TRACK EVENTS

Men's 3,000 Meters Steeplechase: (1. Evan Verbal, Colorado Christian, 9:10.33); 5. Chris Herrick, 9:40.29

Women's 3,000 Meters Steeplechase: (1. Emily Smith, Unattached,10:59.69)

Men's 4x100m: (1. Colorado State, 42.32)

Women's 4x100m: (1. Colorado State, 45.41)

Men's 1500m: (1. Austin Anaya, Adams State, 3:46.72); 2. Zach Perrin, 3:47.72; 3. Ben Saarel, 3:47.91; 5. Ryan Forsyth, 3:51.32; 13. Ethan Gonzales, 3:56.21

Women's 1500m: (1. Makena Morley, 4:21.84)

Men's 110m Hurdles: (1. Brendan Ames, Unattached, 14.12); 3. Alexander Billing, 14.68; 8. Kellen Monestime, 15.15; 15. Aaron Carmichael, 16.41; 21. Nate Gravelding, 17.75

Women's 110m Hurdles: (1. Destinee Rocker, Colorado State, 13.50); 2. Eriana Henderson,14.02; Men's 400m: (1. Duane McClurkin Jr., Colorado, 47.76); 8. Jon Maas,48.69; 9. Kendal Smith, 49.07; 20. Andrew Ghizzone, 50.21; 22. Luke Desmond, 50.38; 33. Josh Ramos, 51.50; 34. Nathan Pixler, 51.57; 37. Nate Gravelding, 52.39

Women's 400m: (1. Allison Davis, Northern Colorado, 1:00.51)

Men's 100m: (1. Alex Mead, Northern Colorado, 10.71); 3. Davion Taylor, 10.74; 16. Jaysean Skrine, 11.12

Women's 100m: (1. Lettia Wilson, Colorado State, 11.97)

Men's 800m: (1. Decano Cronin, Fort Hays State, 1:48.66); 12. Justice Ramos, 1:53.81; 16. Eduardo Herrera, 1:55.39

Women's 800m: (1. Sage Hurta, 2:08.47); 5. Abigail Regner, 2:14.56; 9. Lucy May, 2:16.95

Men's 200m: (1. Damon Hardwick, Colorado College, 23.31)

Women's 200m: (1. Rajon O'Quinn, 24.10); 4. Alexandria Peters, 25.04

Men's 400m Hurdles: (1. Triston Sisneros, Colorado Mines, 51.86); 7. Nathan Hoy, 54.84; 12. Kellen Monestime, 56.61

Women's 400m Hurdles: (1. Gabby Scott, 59.61); 19. Eriana Henderson, 1:11.08

Men's 3000m: (1. Christopher Henry, Wyoming, 8:28.92); 8. Paxton Smith, 8:41.32; 13. Christian Martin, 8:43.55

Women's 3000m: (1. Val Constien,10:04.50); 2. Lindsey Koch, 10:20.36; 3. Annie Kelly, 10:27.90; 12. Kate Intile, 11:09.89

Men's 4x400m: (1. Northern Colorado, 3:10.63; 11.) Colorado 'B', 3:26.33; Colorado 'A', 3:27.17

Women's 4x400m: (1. Colorado 'A', 3:47.75)

FIELD EVENTS

Men's Shot Put: (1. Austin Blaho, Colorado State, 56'1.25"/17.10m); 11. Austin Swanson,45'5.75"/13.86m; 24. Matthew Denton, 32'11"/10.03m

Men's Hammer: (1. Damon Unland, Wyoming, 197'4"/60.15m); 6. Matthew Denton, 173'11"/53.01m; 8. Austin Swanson, 171'3"/52.19m; 12. Caleb Penner, 159'10"/48.71m; 19. Brock Knechtel, 148'0"/45.11m; 23. Aaron Haigler, 137'7"/41.94, 24. Grayson Webber, 135'4"/41.24

Men's Javelin: (1. Daniel Poh, Unattached, 181'2"/55.21m; 11. Aaron Carmichael, 140'2"/42.72m; 12. Matthew Denton, 136'8"/41.65m

Women's Javelin: (1. Madison Wolf, Fort Hays State, 161'9"/49.30m); 4. Elisa Grandemange, 124'4"/37.90m; 11. Michaela Wenning, 108'11"/33.21m; 15. Maja Wichhart-Donzo, 91'5"/27.86m; Women's Discus: (1. Kelcey Bedard, Colorado State, 165'7"/50.48m); 5. Mariah Walker, 144'9"/44.12m; 13. Elisa Grandemange, 125'1"/38.12m,

Women's Hammer: (1. Linnea Jonsson, Colorado State, 200'3"/61.03m); 4. Elisa Grandemange, 179'5"/54.69m; 19. Mariah Walker, 127'9"/38.95m

Women's High Jump: (1. Rajon O'Quinn, 5'7.25"/1.71m)

Men's High Jump: (1. Kolt Newell, Fort Hays State, 6'9"/2.06m); 21. Davis Butte, 5'11.25"/1.81m

Men's Discus: (1. TJ Dozier, Fort Hays State, 163'3"/49.77m); 4. Grayson Webber, 160'5"/48.90m; 13. Paden Gatlin, 148'3"/45.20m; 15. Brock Knechtel, 145'10"/44.45m; 23. Caleb Penner, 128'3"/39.09m; 26. Austin Swanson, 127'2"/38.77m

Men's Pole Vault: (t1. Doug Scott, South Dakota Mines, 13-11.25/4.25m); t1. Davis Butte, 13-11.25/4.25m

Women's Pole Vault: (1. Bridget Kelly, Colorado State; 10-11.75/3.35m)

Women's Shot Put: (1. Tarynn Sieg, UNAT-Colorado State, 48'9"/14.86m); 7. Mariah Walker, 42'5.50"/12.94m; 17. Maja Wichhart-Donzo, 34'4"/10.46m; 19. Michaela Wenning, 32'7.50"/9.94m

Men's Long Jump: (1. Gunner Rigsby, 23'1.25"/7.04m)

Women's Long Jump: (1. Ja'la Henderson, Wyoming, 18'10.75"/5.76m); 2. Maja Wichhart-Donzo, 18'3"/5.56m

Women's Triple Jump: (1. Mackenzie Puckett, Nebraska-Kearney, 37'8"/11.48m); 2. Cheyenne Cheshier, 37'3"/11.35m; 3. Sarah Hopkins, 37'1.75"/11.32m

Men's Triple Jump: (1. Gunner Rigsby, 47'9"/14.55m)