Kaitlyn Benner and Erin Clark got their outdoor track seasons off to a great start on Friday night with solid performances at the Stanford Invitational as both recorded NCAA regional qualifying times in their respective events.
Benner, who was racing in her first outdoor meet since the 2016 NCAA Championship, had a spectacular showing in the 5,000-meter run as she clocked a personal best of 15 minutes, 47.23 seconds, improving on her previous PR of 15:56.52. Her time placed third overall in the invitational section of the race as Benner was just five seconds behind the winner, Oregon’s Lillie Burdon (15:42.65).
She also moved up to fifth on CU’s all-time performer list with what is currently the third fastest in the NCAA this spring.
Benner was very happy with her race. “I mostly just wanted to race and not worry about time. It was fun!”
Clark started her final season for the Buffs with a great performance in the 10,000-meter run, which was the second to last event of the night. She had a very solid performance to earn a ninth-place finish in the second section of the event, coming away with a time of 33:56.01, which was the third fastest 10k time in her career.
Clark was not far off the pace of the winner, SMU’s Hannah Miller, who crossed the finish in 33:45.35. The top three in the race finished under 33:50, while the following six had times under 33:57.