CU cross country picks up multiple conference honors following Pac-12 sweep

After winning the individual 2021 Pac-12 Conference cross country title on Oct. 29, Colorado’s Abby Nichols has been named the Pac-12 Women’s Athlete of the Year.

In addition, freshman Hannah Miniutti was named the Pac-12 Women’s Freshman of the Year as the highest finishing true freshman in the race.

Colorado Head Coach Mark Wetmore was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for leading the men and the women to the team championships as well as the Buffaloes swept the event for the fourth time in 11 years.

These are the 12th and 13th Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors, respectively, for Wetmore, and are the 33rd and 34th times, respectively, he has been named the conference coach of the year.

Nichols won the 6-kilometer women’s race on October 29, at the Regional Athletic Complex in Salt Lake City in 20:25.4, which was 11 seconds faster than the runner-up, her teammate Emily Covert, who finished in 20:36.7.

Earlier this week Nichols was named the USTFCCCA Co-National Women’s Athlete of the Week for her strong performance.

Miniutti crossed the finish 12th overall in 21:04.9 and was CU’s fifth scorer to give the Buffaloes a score of 24 points, the fifth-lowest score in the conference meet since its inception in 1986.

All five of CU’s scorers earned a spot on one of the two All-Pac-12 teams. Nichols and Covert, along with India Johnson and Rachel McArthur, were selected to the first team. Johnson finished fourth, while McArthur was fifth. Miniutti’s finish earned her a spot on the second team.

The men recorded 39 points to win their eighth Pac-12 title and were led by Eduardo Herrera’s third-place finish. Herrera, along with Austin Vancil and Andrew Kent, were named to the first team. Vancil placed sixth overall and Kent finished seventh.

The men also had three on the second team. Charlie Sweeney finished 11th, Brendan Fraser placed 12th and Stephen Jones was 13th.

All-Pac-12 teams are determined by an athlete’s placing at the Pac-12 Championship. First team members include the first through seventh place finishers, while those who place eighth through 14th earn a position on the second team.

The NCAA Mountain Region Championships are up next for Colorado at Timpanogos Golf Club in Provo, Utah, on Nov. 12. The women’s 6k race is scheduled for 11 a.m. and the men’s 10k race is set for noon.