CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Colorado cross country program saw action in its first major meet of the season here at the Virginia Invitational Saturday morning as the men finished 12th with 318 points in the 8K and the women finished ninth with 253 points in the 5K.
Coming into today, the men’s team was ranked seventh and the women’s team was ranked fifth in the USTFCCCA Coaches Poll. Each of the races featured at least eight of the top-15 teams in the nation.
The men’s 8K started the morning off at 6:45 a.m. MT. The Buffs were led by junior Austin Vancil who finished 24th overall with a time of 23:44.3. Vancil made his move a quarter of the way into the race, moving up 82 places as he reached the 3000-meter mark. At the halfway point, he moved into 26th place and kept a consistent pace for the remainder of the race.
Paul Stafford was the next Colorado athlete to cross the finish line placing 39th overall in 23:55.4. The other two Buffs to finish in the top-100 were Noah Hibbard who came in 74th (24:12.6) and James Overberg who came in 76th (24:13.4). Caleb Niednagel rounded out the scoring five for Colorado placing 106th (24:28.4).
In the women’s 5K, the Buffaloes had more success highlighted by Emily Covert. Covert came in fifth place with a time of 16:25.9. She was at the front of the pack the entire race and was a major reason why Colorado cracked the top-10. Following Covert was freshman Karrie Baloga who placed 21st in 16:47.1. Baloga turned heads with her performance at the Colorado time trials a few weeks ago and she impressed again this morning.
Northern Arizona took the title in the men’s race with 71 points while also taking the women’s title with 48 points.
Colorado will return to Boulder before a quick turnaround to Columbia, Mo. where it will compete in the Gans Creek Classic on Friday, September 29th.
MEN’S SCORING: 1. Northern Arizona 71; 2. BYU 101; 3. North Carolina 157; 4. Syracuse 167; 5. Villanova 169; 6. Air Force 189; 7. Virginia 214; 8. Butler 259; 9. Stanford 275; 10. Eastern Kentucky 284; 11. Wake Forest 288; 12. Colorado 318; 13. Iowa State 336; 14. Michigan 344; 15. Princeton 353; 16. Utah State 364; 17. Washington 376; 18. Duke 454; 19. Navy 468; 20. Charlotte 468; 21….