CU Buffs runners Pierce Murphy, Mackenzie Caldwell qualify for NCAA Championships in 10K

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado runner Pierce Murphy, shown during a 2015 race, earned a repeat trip to the NCAA Championships in the 10,000 meters.

University of Colorado senior Pierce Murphy and sophomore Mackenzie Caldwell qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 10,000 meters Friday morning in the West preliminaries in Lawrence, Kan.

In the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, Erin Clark and Val Constien, both sophomores, also qualified for the Buffaloes. A fifth CU runner — sophomore Adam Peterman — also punched his ticket to nationals with a ninth-place run in the men’s steeplechase.

Murphy finished third in the men’s 10K preliminary to earn a repeat trip to the national championships. He clocked a time of 29:51.24. Edward Cheserek of Oregon recorded the top time of 29:45.41.

Last year, Murphy earned All-America honors in the 10K, finishing fifth in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 29:15.18.

Caldwell finished eighth in the women’s 10K preliminary to punch her ticket to the championships in Eugene, Ore. She posted a time of 34:25.58. Dominique Scott of Arkansas led the way in the preliminary in 34:20.35.

“Mackenzie was a pleasant surprise in the women’s 10K,” Colorado head coach Mark Wetmore said. “We felt she had an outside chance, but she actually looked very controlled. Pierce ran a businesslike race to get through in the men’s 10k. I think he even had a gear or two unused.”

The top 12 in both the men’s and women’s 10K qualified for the championships, which will be held June 8-11 in Eugene, Ore.

Clark qualified fourth in the steeplechase, in 10:02.92, and Constien qualified ninth in 10:09.89. The top three from each heat plus the next best three times qualified. Clark earned second-team All-America honors in the steeplechase in last year’s NCAA finals.

“Erin and Val were perfect in the steeple,” Wetmore said. “Each calm and patient in her respective heat. Erin was probably expected to advance, but Val was another was another happy surprise.”

Severe weather delayed the meet for hours before Peterman was able to run. He took fourth in his section in 8:47.90 and ninth overall, bumping senior Connor Winter out of nationals. Winter had the final qualifying spot prior to the third heat.

“One of the disappointments was Connor,” Wetmore said. “He was great for six laps, but struggled the last 400 meters. He needed a bit of a miracle from the following heat, but didn’t get it. He said his legs were just flat. That’s probably my fault. But his teammate and event mate Adam was excellent. After a long delay, he ran his second fastest time.”

Senior Abrianna Torres, in the high jump, and freshman Elissa Mann, in the 800, just missed qualifying for Eugene. Torres tied for 11th at 5 feet, 9 3/4 inches, but because of tiebreakers she dropped to 17th. Mann ran a time of 2:06.97, good enough for third in her section but just 13th overall — one position shy of qualifying.

Today is final day of the preliminary round.


Rock Chalk Park (University of Kansas)

Lawrence, Kan.

Track Events

Women’s 10,000 (semifinals): 1. Dominque Scott, Ark, 34:20.35. 8. Mackenzie Caldwell, 34:25.58; 31. Carrie Verdon, 36:01.04.

Men’s 10,000 (semifinals): 1. Edward Cheserek, Oregon, 29:45.41. 2. Pierce Murphy, 29:50.77; 22. Ammar Moussa, 30:13.72.

Women’s 400 (Quarterfinal): 1. Courtney Okolo, Texas, 51.06. 29. Eileen Gehring, 55.26

Women’s 800 (Quarterfinal): 1. Shea Collinsworth, BYU, 2:04.82. 13. Elissa Mann, 2:06.97

Men’s 400 hurdles (Quarterfinal): 1. Sean Pille, Neb., 50.72. 25. Jaron Thomas, 52.45

Women’s Steeplechase (Quarterfinal): 1. Courtney Frerichs, New Mexico, 9:51.48. 4. Erin Clark, 10:02.92; 9. Val Constien, 10:09.89

Men’s Steeplechase (Quarterfinal): 1. Benard Keter, TTU, 8:39.92. 9. Adam Peterman, 8:47.90; 14. Connor Winter, 8:51. 82

Field Events

Men’s Hammer (first round): 1. Nick Miller, Okla. St., 252-4. 35. Brady Rutt, 191-10/58.48

Women’s High Jump (first round): 1. Chelsie Decoud, Texas St., 5-10.75. 17. Abrianna Torres, 5-9.25

Women’s Long Jump (first round): 1. Jahisha Thomas, Iowa, 20-3. Abrianna Torres, 18-10.75/5.76 – placing not yet available