If the start is any indication of how a season is going to finish, it’s going to be another great campaign for the University of Colorado cross country teams.
Colorado’s women won the Garnett 6,000-meter race at the Florida State Winter Classic on Friday morning, while the CU men placed third in the Garnett 8k race in their first races of the season.
While the competition might not have been what the Buffaloes are used to, there were several decent teams in the mix, including Pac-12 rival Stanford, which bested the men 67-98. On the women’s side, it was a narrow victory for CU against the Cardinal, with the Buffaloes earning the 72-77 win.
Individually Eduardo ‘Lalo’ Herrera led the men with a runner-up performance, crossing in 23:03.4. Rachel McArthur was the top woman, placing fifth overall (20:19.9).
In the women’s garnet race, it was clear from the start that it was going to be between No. 4 Stanford and No. 8 Colorado. From the first split, Stanford had a one-point lead over CU (82-83). The Cardinal increased it and halfway through the race, led 73-85.
But the Buffs overtook Stanford at the 4k split, 72-79, and was able to hang on for the victory over their conference rival. The two Pac-12 schools were the only teams to record scores under 100. The third-place team, Duke, scored 128 points, while Oklahoma State came in fourth with 181 and Iowa State was fifth with 189.
“We were a little better than I thought we would be,” Wetmore said. “This was a discovery weekend for everybody. We all have had our hassles and interruption, our shutdowns and restarts. There are four weeks to go. Both teams are hoping to improve, but there were some good races.”
A big reason for Colorado’s success was the outstanding racing of Rachel McArthur, who led for over 3k of the 6k race, although the pack was right on her tail as the women were running almost identical splits. She started in second, behind Amanda Vestri (Syracuse). By the midway point, McArthur overtook Vestri for first, which is where McArthur would stay until the final stretch of the race. In her final 1k split, she recorded a time of 3:21.9, while the four who finished ahead of her clocked in at 3:11.0 or better.
McArthur ended up fifth in 20:20.0 and held off Alabama’s Esther Gitahi who was right behind her (20:23.9). Stanford’s Ella Donaghu won in 20:07.0 and had the fastest closing split of 3:08.7.
The men’s team, who were ranked 13th heading into the race, put together a very consistent race, starting in third and staying there as a team the entire race. They finished in a tie for second with No. 6 Iowa State, as both teams scored 98 points. But after a head-to-head of the top-five scores, ISU was awarded the second-place finish, giving CU third. No. 12 Stanford came away with the team win as all five scorers finished in the top 30.
“For the personnel that we put on the line today, we had a better day than I expected,” head coach Mark Wetmore said. “We knew that Stanford would be very good, we knew that Iowa State would be very good. Honestly, I did not expect to tie them. I thought they would beat us a little more than this and they only beat us in the obscure system of the tiebreaker, and we have four-five weeks to go back to work and try to get better. All good runs for those guys. I’m very pleased. We are ahead of where we expected to be.
The day belonged to Eduardo Herrera, who had one of the best cross country races of his life for his second-place finish. He moved to the front of the pack from the start and continued his way up until he was in third overall, which is where he would stay until he made a move between the 5k and 6k splits, pushing him into second. From there, he would continue to push, maintaining his position for the outstanding finish. He finished a full 13 seconds ahead of FSU’s Adriaan Wildschutt. ISU’s Wesley Kiptoo won the race in 22:48.8.
Colorado had athletes race in the men’s and women’s gold races as well. The men’s gold 8k race was first and saw graduate transfer Ethan Powell take the win, crossing the line in 24:51.8. It was a good race for the law student, who came to CU after finishing his eligibility at Kansas State.
The women had their share of success in the gold race too, winning as a team and Madie Boreman won the individual title. As a team, CU recorded 22 points in the race to defeat the next full team, North Florida (76), which was easy to do with all five scorers coming placing in the top-eight. In fact, CU had six in the top-10 and eight in the top-15 of the gold race.
Florida State Winter Cross Country Classic
Tallahassee, Fla. (Apalachee Regional Park)
Garnett Men’s Race (8k)
Team Results (Top 10 of 20)
1. Stanford 67; 2. Iowa State 98; *3. Colorado 98; 4. Utah State 160; 5. Wake Forest 184; 6. Duke 190; 7. Florida State 196; 8. Syracuse 202; 9. Southern Utah 212; 10. CBU 246.
*Placed third after a tiebreaker
Individual Results (Top 10 Individuals of 142)
1. Wesley Kiptoo, Iowa State, 22:48.8; 2. Eduardo Herrera, Colorado, 23:03.4; 3. Adriaan Wildschutt, FSU, 23:16.7; 4. Zach Facioni, Wake Forest, 23:25.0; 5. Cole Sprout, Stanford, 23:31.6; 6. Charles Hicks, Stanford, 23:36.0; 7. Shea Foster, SE Louisiana, 23:40.6; 8. Alec Hornecker, Colorado, 23:45.6; 9. Karl Theissen, Tennessee, 23:47.1; 10. James Sugira, Eastern Kentucky, 23:48.6.
Individual Results (CU Athletes Only)
21. Hunter Appleton, 24:01.9; 28. Austin Vancil, 24:11.4; 44. Paxton Smith, 24:23.2; 53. Jace Aschbrenner, 24:30.1; 86. Caleb Neidnagel, 25:05.2
Gold Men’s Race CU Individuals (8k)
1. Ethan Powell, 24:51.8; 8. Jake Derouin, 25:13.1; 41. Josh Torres, 26:19.4; 49. Shaw Powell, 26:51.1
Garnet Women’s Race (6k)
Team Results (Top 10 of 18)
1. Colorado 72; 2. Stanford 77; 3. Duke 128; 4. Oklahoma State 181; 5. Iowa State 189; 6. West Virginia 200; 7. Liberty 207; 8. Notre Dame 209; 9. Utah State 235; 10. Tennessee 264.
Individual Results (Top 10 Individuals of 126)
1. Ella Donaghu, Stanford, 20:07.0; 2. Cailie Logue, Iowa State, 20:09.1; 3. Zofia Dudek, Stanford, 20:09.1; 4. Taylor Roe, Oklahoma State, 20:10.0; 5. Rachel McArthur, Colorado, 20:19.9; 6. Esther Gitahi, Alabama, 20:23.9; 7. Amanda Vestri, Syracuse, 20:25.7; 8. Ceili McCabe, West Virginia, 20:31.2; 9. Sydney Seymour, Tennessee, 20:33.4; 10. Julia Heymach, Stanford, 20:36.4.
Individual Results (CU Athletes Only)
12. Michaela Degenero, 20:38.8; 17. Emily Covert, 20:41.2; 18. Elizabeth Constien, 20:42.3; 24. Abby Nichols, 20:52.7; 39. Kaitlyn Barthell, 21:12.1; 40. Annie Hill, 21:13.2.
Gold Women’s Race (6k)
1. Colorado 22; 2. North Florida 76; 3. Youngstown State 107; 4. New Orleans 126; 5. Jacksonville 134; 6. Nicholls State 145; 7. Tennessee-Martin 154; 8. Tennessee Tech 196
CU Individual Results
1. Madie Boreman, 21:05.1; 4. Whitney Valenti, 21:23.0; 6. Camille Jackston, 21:37.2; 7. Kyla Christopher-Moody, 21:47.2; 8. Carley Bennett, 21:47.4; 10. Alisa Meraz-Fishbein, 21:52.6; 12. Tiya Chamberlin, 21:54.8; 15. Sarah O’Sullivan. 22:01.0; 19. Olivia Brooks, 22:12.0.