There have been several near-misses. And certainly Ryan Forsyth has made his mark with the Colorado cross country team during his time in Boulder.
Yet the national championships at the end of the outdoor track and field season is an event that has always eluded Forsyth. At least until now. This week, Forsyth will make his NCAA outdoor championships debut in his final race for the Buffaloes, competing alongside teammate John Dressel in the 10,000-meter run during the meet’s opening day on Wednesday.
“This is something I’ve been working towards for five years,” said Forsyth, a fifth-year senior. “I’ve made the regional meet for four years and I haven’t been successful at that. After five years of a lot more training — after the volume, after the speed, after the races and practice—I’m really happy to see that pay off and I’m excited to run against the best, because that’s what we do here at CU.”
While Forsyth has fallen just shy of reaching the NCAA outdoor finals previously, he earned All-American honors last fall after finishing 11th at the NCAA cross country championships. He competed at the cross country nationals two previous times and served as an alternate for CU as a redshirt freshman in 2015.
He finally ended his NCAA outdoor finals drought at the West Preliminaries, finishing 12th in the 10,000 with a personal-best time of 29 minutes, 3.07 seconds. Dressel placed ninth and also notched a PR at 29:00.98.
“It’s uncharted territory,” Forsyth said. “I don’t know what will happen, but I’m confident that I’ll be ready. To be honest, I haven’t felt very nervous. (Coach Mark) Wetmore just prepares us so well. After cross country this year, after numerous Pac-12 meets, I know I’m prepared both mentally and physically. I know I’ll be ready to go.”
Forsyth, Dressel, and Eduardo Herrera will be the only men among the 13 athletes CU will take to Austin, Texas. Dressel, a fourth-year junior who missed last year’s outdoor season due to an injury, also will compete in the 5,000-meter run Friday. Herrera will make his national championship debut in the 1,500 after posting a time of 3:41.35 at the West Prelims that not only topped his previous personal best by two seconds, but counts as the fifth-best mark in the event in CU history.
For Forsyth, the opportunity to run alongside a four-year teammate in Dressel during his final event in a CU uniform will be yet another moment to savor.
“We train together every day. We hang out together every day,” Forsyth said. “It’s so much easier to be successful when you have a training partner who pushes you every day. The level that we’ve both reached, I don’t think we’d be there if we didn’t have each other. When you’re racing, having someone next to you that you’re just as invested in, that makes you push that much harder. When you care about your teammates’ success as much as your own, it gives you another reason to push.”