After two great performances at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Friday, the Colorado men’s and women’s cross country teams held their ground in the final USTFCCCA Poll, with the women No. 1 and the men No. 2.
This is the third straight week the CU women have been ranked first. It is also the second week the Buffs are the unanimous No. 1 with all 12 first-place votes (360 points). North Carolina State is ranked second (343), Providence is third (335), Stanford is fourth (315) and Michigan is fifth (314), heading into the final race. The Buffs are one of six Pac-12 teams ranked. The other teams, besides Stanford, are: Washington (seventh), Oregon (12th), Utah (27th) and UCLA (30th).
The women recorded 35 points to stampede past the competition at regionals. The next closest team was reigning NCAA Champion New Mexico, which recorded a score of 109 points for second. The Buffs placed all five scorers in the top 10 and were led by Makena Morely (fourth), Kaitlyn Benner (sixth), Erin Clark (seventh), Mackenzie Caldwell (eighth) and Tabor Scholl (10th).
The men’s team is ranked second for the second straight week with 344 points. Northern Arizona remained the top rated men’s team and also picked up all 12 first-place votes (360 points). Stanford moved up to third with 329 points, and BYU dropped one spot to fourth (321). Syracuse rounded out the top five (320). The Buffs lead a strong group of Pac-12 men’s teams in the rankings. Besides CU and SU, the conference has four other teams ranked. UCLA is 10th, Oregon is 13th, Washington State is 18th and California is 26th.
Colorado placed second at regionals to earn a spot at NCAAs, finishing behind No. 1 Northern Arizona (60-76). The Buffs ran a smart race to finish just in front of third-ranked BYU, which recorded 79 points. Joe Klecker was the top performer for CU, finishing third overall. He was followed by John Dressel (fifth), Zach Perrin (16th), Ben Saarel (25th) and Ryan Forsyth (27th).
The NCAA Championships are Saturday. The women’s race is set for a 9 a.m. start, with the men following at 10 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow.