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CU Buffs’ Eduardo Herrera wins Pac-12 cross country crown

Men and women both place second at conference meet

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UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — Colorado senior Eduardo Herrera entered the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships on Friday as one of the favorites and did not disappoint, winning his first individual conference title in 22 minutes, 30.9 seconds on the 8-kilometer course at Chambers Creek Park.

“This is annually one of the best, if not the best, cross country conference in the country,” head coach Mark Wetmore said. “It’s hard to win as a team and it’s hard to win it as an individual. I think we had a long dry spell before (Joe) Klecker won a year ago. So to have Lalo win it this year is rewarding. He had the best training of his life since we all got shut down in March. He did very good work alone, which distance winners have to do and it paid off today.”

Herrera came into the meet with a second and third-place finish from his two previous races, leading the Buffs in both. Friday’s race was no different as he led the ninth-ranked Buffaloes to a second-place team finish through cold, windy and rainy conditions. CU recorded 60 points behind No. 4 Stanford’s 28.

The men ran after the No. 6 Colorado women also recorded a runner-up finish behind Stanford. The No. 5 Cardinal defeated CU 30-50 for its second title in as many years.

This is the first time Herrera has finished in the top-10 at the conference meet, improving from 13th at the 2019 championship. The biggest change for him in the last year, according to his post-race interview, is his mentality.

“I want to go out and potentially get a professional contract and run pro,” he said. “I think that just kind of changed my mentality in terms of training and just trying to be the best I can for my team. I know they’re working hard for me and I’m doing the same in return.”

Like the men, the women finished exactly where they were projected to on paper. Stanford put four in the top 10 and had its final scorer place 12th overall to record 20 points. The Buffs also did well, placing three in the top-10 and all five of its scorers in the top 20 for 50 points. It was a tight race between the Cardinal and Buffaloes the entire way, but in the end, the scale tipped in favor of Stanford.

Washington, the third-highest ranked team in the polls at 12th, finished third with 85 points and Oregon State, which is 24th in the national rankings, was fourth with 100 points.

Leading the way for the women was senior Rachel McArthur, who ended up fifth in 19:22.10 on the 6-kilometer course. While Washington’s Haley Herberg ran away from the field from the start and would go on to win in 19:02.50, the chase pack stayed back and McArthur stayed back with that group until a few pulled away to try to reel in Herberg.

The NCAA Championship Selection Show is Sunday, March 7, at 11 a.m. MT, and will be streamed on NCAA.com. The field will be made up of 31 teams.

2020 PAC-12 CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Chambers Creek Park (University Place, Wash.)

Men’s 8k Team Results:
1. Stanford 28; 2. Colorado 60; 3. Washington 66; 4. Oregon 139; 5. UCLA 164; 6. Washington State 171; 7. California 177; 8. Arizona 201; 9. Arizona State 238

Men’s 8k Individual Results (top 10)
1. Eduardo Herrera, CU, 22:30.9; 2. Charles Hicks, SU, 22:41.6; 3. Jackson Mestler, UO, 22:54.7; 4. Cole Sprout, SU, 22:57.9; 5. Alek Parsons, SU, 22:59.0; 6. Victor Ortiz-Rivera, UA, 22:59.8; 7. Isaac Green, UW, 23:00.6; 8. Ky Robinson, SU, 23:03.9; 9. Callum Bolger, SU, 23:04.6; 10. Luke Houser, UW, 23:04.6

Other CU Finisher:
11. Alec Hornecker, 23:04.9; 13. Austin Vancil, 23:15.3; 16. Ethan Powell, 23:23.0; 19. Hunter Appleton, 23:30.8; 23. Paxton Smith, 23:35.3; 24. Jace Aschbrenner, 23:36.1; 40. Josh Torres, 24:19.6; 43. Caleb Niednagel, 24:37.8

Women’s 6k Team Results:
1. Stanford 30; 2. Colorado 50; 3. Washington 85; 4. Oregon State 100; 5. Utah 165; 6. Washington State 165; 7. California 192; 8. Arizona 201; 9. Arizona State 261; 10. UCLA 297.

Women’s 6k Individual Results (top 10):
1. Haley Herberg, UW, 19:02.50; 2. Ella Donaghu, SU, 19:09.00; 3. Zofia Dudek, SU, 19:14.90; 4. Julia Heymach, SU, 19:21.90; 5. Rachel McArthur, CU 19:22.10; 6. Poppy Tank, UU, 19:33.80; 7. Kaylee Mitchell, OSU, 19:39.40; 8. Abby Nichols, CU, 19:40.30; 9. Jessica Lawson, SU, 19:41.90; 10. Madie Boreman, CU, 19:48.60.

Other CU Finishers:
11. Micaela Degenero, 19:50.20; 16. Emily Covert, 20:01.50; 18. Elizabeth Constien, 20:04.90; 24. Camille Jackson, 20:13.30; 25. Annie Hill, 20:17.20; 30; Kaitlyn Barthell, 20:23.20; 44. Whitney Valenti, 20:57.10