BOULDER – The University of Colorado cross country program travels to University Place, Wash., this Friday to compete in its final Pac-12 Cross Country Championship before the Buffaloes depart for the Big 12 in 2024.
Championship day will start with the men’s 8K race at 11:10 a.m. MT followed by the women’s 6K at 12:10 p.m. MT. The University of Washington is hosting the meet at Chambers Creek Regional Park.
On the men’s side, Colorado leads the Pac-12 while being ranked ninth in the USTFCCCA Coaches Poll. The top threat to the Buffs are the Stanford Cardinal who come in at No. 25 in the rankings.
Earlier this season, the Cardinal placed ninth at the Virginia Invitational while Colorado placed 12th. The Buffs, however, got their payback at Nuttycombe with a seventh-place finish as Stanford came in 20th. If Stanford’s second-best scorer from the Virginia Invitational runs on Friday then the race should be a lot more interesting.
Four of 10 Buffs who competed at last year’s Pac-12 Championships have returned to race for the title this year. Out of those four, Austin Vancil and Isaiah Givens are the leaders of the group as they were the top-two finishers for Colorado at Nuttycombe.
Givens, the redshirt freshman, has surprised a lot of people with his vast improvement throughout the year. In the 8K at the Virginia Invitational he was the sixth Buff to cross the finish line with a time of 24:33.8. At Nuttycombe he shaved just about 40 seconds off his 8K time and was Colorado’s top runner.
Noah Hibbard, James Overberg and Paul Stafford are also looking to turn heads in Washington, expecting to round out the scoring five for the Buffs. The remaining competitors for the black and gold are Hunter Appleton, Jake Derouin, Caleb Niednagel, Grady Rauba and Charlie Welch.
Other teams to look out for in the men’s 8K Friday morning are Oregon and Washington.
The Colorado women’s team looks to win its third consecutive Pac-12 Cross Country Championship this year, however they are faced with a very tough path to do so. The Pac-12 has six ranked teams in the USTFCCCA Coaches Poll, four of which are ranked higher than the Buffs.
No. 5 Stanford is the favorite to win the women’s title followed by No. 9 Oregon State and No. 14 Oregon. The other Pac-12 teams in the NCAA rankings include No. 19 Washington, No. 20 Colorado and No. 21…