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NCAA finals, then Olympic Trials for CU Buffs’ Sage Hurta

Senior one of three Buffs competing in women’s 1,500

TERRE HAUTE, IN - NOVEMBER 23: Colorado head coach Mark Wetmore (R) speaks to Colorado senior Sage Hurta (L) before the womenÕs NCAA cross country championships at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on November 23, 2019, in Terre Haute, Indiana. (Photo by Daniel Petty/The Denver Post)
TERRE HAUTE, IN – NOVEMBER 23: Colorado head coach Mark Wetmore (R) speaks to Colorado senior Sage Hurta (L) before the womenÕs NCAA cross country championships at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on November 23, 2019, in Terre Haute, Indiana. (Photo by Daniel Petty/The Denver Post)
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Sage Hurta is set to represent the University of Colorado at one of her sport’s biggest stages in the 800 meter run.

However, she still has business to attend to with the Buffaloes in the 1,500.

The record-setting, NCAA champion Hurta will be one of the leading runners at this week’s NCAA championships for an impressive assortment of Buffs athletes from the women’s side of the track and field program.

Later this month, Hurta will vie for an Olympic bid in the 800 at the US Track and Field Olympic Trials. On Thursday, though, Hurta will be one of three CU runners — along with Micaela Degenero and Rachel McArthur — looking to advance out of the 1,500 semifinals and into Saturday’s championship heat.

“(My career) has kind of surpassed my expectations. Obviously it’s always a dream to have your name up there next to everyone I looked up to going into the program,” Hurta said. “To have been able to put together a really solid cross country career at CU, and then over the last few years I’ve come around on the track to find my specialty in the 800 and 15 (hundred), it’s been really great.

“Obviously there’s things I’d like to change, or have done more, while at CU. But I’ve had plenty of success and lots of fond memories.

A win by Hurta in the 1,500 would be the third national championship of her career, though her first on the outdoor circuit. Hurta was part of CU’s NCAA champion indoor medley relay team in 2017, and in March she won the indoor title in the mile. At the NCAA West Preliminaries last week, Hurta finished fourth overall in the 1,500 with a time of 4 minutes, 12.01 seconds. She was followed my Degenero in fifth place (4:12.36) and McArthur in eighth (4:13.25).

“It was a pleasant surprise, but only because it felt a little greedy,” CU head coach Mark Wetmore said. “Each one of them seemed to have the qualifications to advance. But it also seemed a little like hubris to ask for three out of 12 to make it through. But they did, and they all deserved it.”

During the outdoor season, Hurta has broken her own school record in the 800, posting a 2:00.62 at the GCU Antelope Invitational in early April that tied for the 10th-best mark in the event in NCAA history. She won the Pac-12 championship last month in the 800, posting a mark of 2:01.53, and a strong showing in Eugene this week would give Hurta strong momentum going into the stretch run of her Olympic Trials training.

The Trials also will be held in Eugene beginning June 18.

“There are definitely a lot of different feelings going into this next week,” Hurta said. “Definitely coming to the end of my career as a Buff is bittersweet. But I’m really lucky to have two teammates in the same event with me, so I kind of have people to share that experience with. I’m definitely eager to just to get out there to race and compete well.”