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CU Buffs sweep Pac-12 cross country championships

Abby Nichols wins individual crown

The Colorado men's and women's cross country team celebrating winning the team titles at the Pac-12 cross country championships on Friday in Salt Lake City. (Pac-12 Conference)
The Colorado men’s and women’s cross country team celebrating winning the team titles at the Pac-12 cross country championships on Friday in Salt Lake City. (Pac-12 Conference)

The University of Colorado cross country teams swept the men’s and women’s team titles on Friday at the Regional Athletic Complete in Salt Lake City at the 2021 Pac-12 Conference Championships.

It was the fourth sweep for the Buffs since joining the league in 2011.

“Right now we’re telling them to enjoy it, have fun and back to work tomorrow,” head coach Mark Wetmore said.

This is the eighth Pac-12 team title for the third-rated CU men as they defeated No. 4 Stanford, 39-52. They previously won six straight titles (2011-2016) and then the 2019 championship. The No. 4 CU women have now won five championships in the Pac-12 as they defeated No. 8 Utah, 24-52. Before today, they won titles in 2011 and then three straight from 2015-17.

Not to be outdone, Abby Nichols took home the individual crown in the women’s race, becoming the second CU female to win a Pac-12 cross country title. Dani Jones is the only other female to win an individual Pac-12 title and did it twice (2017 and 18).

“I believe Abby’s establishing herself as one of the best runners in the country,” said Wetmore. “She was savvy again this time, patient and had another nice win. We’re proud of her.”

Nichols crossed the finish line in 20 minutes and 25.4 seconds to win her second straight race and become an individual conference champion.

In the men’s race, Eduardo Herrera was in a race for the title in the final kilometer with Stanford’s Charles Hicks, the 2020 runner-up, and Oregon’s Cooper Teare. Unfortunately for Herrera, when the latter two made a move, he was unable to match and Hicks would go on to win the race (23:34.9). Herrera almost caught Teare (23:44.1) in the end, finishing a little less than two seconds behind the Duck (23:45.7) for third.

But scoring the least amount of points is the ultimate goal. Although Herrera would have loved to add another title to his list of honors, he and his teammates have had their sights set on bringing the Pac-12 trophy back to Boulder after Stanford had won it in 2020.

“I couldn’t have asked for better,” Wetmore said. “They were smart and patient. They got up early, which you kind of have to do in a good race. Then they kept the pressure on. The attrition happens and it often does, and at the end, they’re on the podium.”

The Buffaloes continue the postseason at the NCAA Mountain Region Championship, which will take them back to the state of Utah in two weeks on Nov. 12.

Regional Athletic Complex (Salt Lake City Utah)

Men’s 8k team results: 1. Colorado 39; 2. Stanford 52; 3. Washington 68; 4. Oregon 72; 5. Washington State 146; 6. UCLA 190; 7. Arizona State 205 205; 8. California 208; DNF. Arizona.

Men’s 8k individual results (top 10): 1. Charles Hicks, SU, 23:34.9; 2. Cooper Teare, OU, 23:44.1; 3. Eduardo Herrera, CU, 23.45.7; 4. Ky Robinson, SU, 23:47.4; 5. Aaron Bienefeld, UO, 23:49.3; 6. Austin Vancil, CU, 23:52.9; 7. Andrew Kent, CU, 23:54.1; 8. Cole Sprout, SU, 23:57.9; 9. Brian Fay, UW, 24:00.7; 10. Kieran Lumb, UW, 24:09.8.

Other CU finishers: 11. Charlie Sweeney, 24:11.9; 12. Brendan Fraser, 24:12.6; 13. Stephen Jones, 24:13.8; 17. Alec Hornecker, 24:22.1; 21. Ethan Powell, 24:41.1; 23. Noah Hibbard, 24:47.3; 29. Paxton Smith, 25:03.3.

Women’s 6k team results: 1. Colorado 24; 2. Utah 52; 3. Oregon 92; 4. Washington 107; 5. Stanford 120; 6. Oregon State 156; 7. Washington State 179; 8. UCLA 230; 9. California 265; 10. Arizona State 299; 11. USC 332; 12. Arizona 343.

Women’s 6k individual results (top 10): 1. Abby Nichols, CU, 20:25.4; 2. Emily Covert, CU, 20:36.7; 3. Emily Venters, UU, 20:40.7; 4. India Johnson, CU, 20:49.5; 5. Rachel McArthur, CU, 20:50.9; 6. Kaylee Mitchell, OSU, 20:51.7; 7. Cara Woolnough, UU, 20:55.0; 8. Haley Herberg, UW, 21:00.00; 10. Zofia Dudek, SU, 21:03.7.

Other CU Finishers: 11. Hannah Miniutti, 21:04.9; 17. Madie Boreman, 21:17.9; 18. Elizabeth Constien, 21:19.2; 24. Micaela DeGenero, 21:31.6; 28. Annie Hill; 21:40.0; 54. Kaitlyn Barthell 22:28.7.

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