CU Buffs’ Pierce Murphy takes top conference 10K time into Pac-12 Championships

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado distance runner Pierce Murphy will be among the favorites this weekend in the 10K and 5K at the Pac-12 Championships in Seattle.

Colorado senior Pierce Murphy will carry the top conference time in the 10,000 meters this season into the 2016 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships on Saturday and Sunday at Husky Track at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Murphy’s 28:48.79 time is also the fifth fastest in the NCAA Division I. Murphy also ranks second in the Pac-12 in the 5K, clocking in at 13:38.19, the ninth-fastest time in the NCAA. Freshman John Dressel is also listed in the top 10 at seventh overall in the 5K (13:48.88).

On the women’s side, junior Carrie Verdon ranks fourth in the 10K (34:09.31), while sophomore Kaitlyn Benner is fifth in the 5K (15:56.52).

Colorado has been a force in the steeplechase, winning six of the eight individual titles since joining the league, including all four of the women’s crowns.

The Buffs return the reigning men’s and women’s champions. Senior Connor Winter has the fastest time in the Pac-12, 8:41.37, which is 11th in the country. Sophomore Erin Clark is also 11th in the NCAA and is second overall in the league standings with a time of 10:00.77.

The middle distance events also look strong for the Buffs, according to the performance lists. Freshman Dani Jones leads CU in both the 800 and 1,500. Her time of 2:05.27 in the 800 is seventh in the league, while her mark of 4:15.79 in the 1,500 is third. Another freshman, Elissa Mann, has the eighth fastest 800 this season (2:05.78), while senior Maddie Alm is eighth in the 1,500 (4:17.83).

The men are led in the middle distance events by a strong 1-2 punch of junior Nick Harris and sophomore Zach Perrin. Harris ranks seventh in the 800 (1:49.38) and is eighth in the 1,500 (3:43.07), while Perrin is sixth in the 800 (1:49.16) and 12th in the 1,500 (3:43.07).

Sophomore Ana Holland will lead Colorado’s sprinters. She owns the Buffs’ 100 (11.61) and 200 (23.45) records, which put her 13th and ninth, respectively, in the conference. CU’s 400 record holder, senior Eileen Gehring, will also race at Pac-12s and is listed 15th in the 400 (54.36).

Junior Jaron Thomas is the top hurdler for the Buffs, ranking fourth in the 400-hurdles (51.87) and fifth in the 110-hurdles (14.12). In the open sprints, freshman Duane McClurkin Jr. leads CU in the 200 (16th, 21.38) and 400 (11th, 47.60).

In the field events, senior Abrianna Torres finished fourth in the heptathlon last weekend for CU and will compete in some open events this weekend. She ranks fifth in the high jump (5-10) and is 10th overall in the long jump (19-8.75). Senior Kelsey English is fourth in the high jump after clearing 5-10.50 last weekend.

Senior Brady Rutt is ranked fourth in the hammer heading in the weekend (197-11) and is also ninth in the discus (179-4). Sophomore Mariah Walker has a ninth ranking in the shot put (51-7) and is just outside the top 10 in the discus (11th, 157-5). Another Buff, freshman Delaney Hall, is listed ninth in the javelin (142-1).

The championship will start at 11 a.m. MT Saturday, and Sunday’s events begin at 10 a.m. MT.