After struggling at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational two weeks ago, the University of Colorado men's cross country team knew it needed a big day on Saturday at the NCAA Pre-National Invitational.

That is exactly what the Buffs got as they recorded a third-place finish on the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course, the site of the NCAA Championships in November. A big part of that performance came with the return of Joe Klecker to the lineup, who missed the previous race due to a small injury. He came back strong on Saturday afternoon, leading the Buffs with a fifth-place individual finish.

Colorado did not send its varsity women's team to the meet since the top-ranked Buffs have the points needed for the postseason, but instead gave its 'B' team a chance to compete. CU's 10th-place team finish as very respectable in a field that featured nine ranked teams.

"I'm happy with how we did in both races," head coach Mark Wetmore said. "We learned what we needed to learn and we got to see a lot of our opponents. Coach (Heather) Burroughs is back in Boulder with our women's 'A' team and she will be crunching all of these numbers and will have charts, graphs and comparisons by the time I get home tonight."


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Klecker undoubtable had the biggest day for the Buffs, finishing fifth in his first complete race of the season. Through the first 2k, he was 86. But then he moved up 81 spots to fifth at the 5.8k split. He hung on to that spot and crossed the finish in 23:55.1.

Ryan Forsyth also did quite well as he earned a 10th place finish in 24:01.0. He too had a huge improvement between the 2k and 5.8k splits, working up from 83rd to ninth.

Brianna Schwartz had another great performance, leading the CU women with a 23rd-place finish. She gradually worked her way up the pack and was 37th through 2k. By 4k, she had moved up to 28th before passing five runners in the final 2k for her finish in 20:44.3.

2018 NCAA Pre-National Invitational

Madison, Wis.

Women's Cardinal Race (6k)

Team Results (Top 10 of 35)

1. Arkansas 51; 2. Oregon 71; 3. Indiana 166; 4. BYU 175; 5. NC State 180; 6. Portland 242; 7. Minnesota 260; 8. Syracuse 269; 9. Northern Arizona 293; 10. Colorado 325.

Individual Results (Top 10 Individuals)

1. Jessica Hull, Oregon, 20:03.2; 2. Katrina Robinson, Arkansas, 20:09.4; 3. Aubrey Roberts, Northwestern, 20:10.0; 4. Erica Birk, 20:12.2; 5. Bethany Hasz, Minnesota, 20:18.3; 6. Tayler Werner, Arkansas, 20:18.8; 7. Lauren Larocco, Portland, 20:19.7; 8. Carina Viljoen, Arkansas, 20:20.1; 9. Elly Henes, NC State, 20:23.7; 10. Lauren Gregory, Arkansas, 20:25.6.

Individual Results (CU Athletes Only)

23. Brianna Schwartz, 20:44.3; 58. Holly Bent, 21:17.8; 69. Mackenzie Caldwell, 21:23.7; 79. Baylee Jones, 21:31.0; 96. Lindsey Koch, 21:43.1; Karina Mann, 21:53.2.

Men's Championship Race (8k)

Team Results (Top 10 of 36)

1. Northern Arizona 41; 2. Stanford 84; 3. Colorado 110; 4. Oregon 152; 5. Wyoming 191; 6. Colorado State 194; 7. Ole Miss 220; 8. Furman 231; 9. Gonzaga 307; 10. Southern Utah 310.

Individual Results (Top 10 Individuals)

1. Grant Fisher, Stanford, 23:48.8; 2. Tyler Day, Northern Arizona, 23:48.8; 3. Matthew Baxter, Northern Arizona, 23:49.40; 4. Aaron Templeton, Furman, 23:51.0; 5. Joe Klecker, Colorado, 23:55.1; 6. Lawrence Kipkoech, Campbell, 23:56.4; 7. Peter Lomong, Northern Arizona, 23:57.2; 8. Alex Ostberg, Stanford, 23:57.5; 9. Amon Kemboi, Campbell, 24:00.3; 10. Ryan Forsyth, Colorado, 24:01.0.

Individual Results (CU Athletes Only)

16. John Dressel, 24:14.7; 31. Eduardo Herrera, 24:29.3; 50. Ethan Gonzales, 24:38.1; 117. Paxton Smith, 25:14.1; 130. Gus Newcomb, 25:20.8.