LUBBOCK, Texas. – The Colorado cross country program didn’t perform up to its expectations at the NCAA Mountain Regionals here Friday morning, however the Buffs should still have enough to their resume to qualify for the NCAA National Championships.
The women’s team placed fourth with 131 points while the men’s team placed sixth with 169 points.
The women’s 6K race started the morning and the Buffs placed fourth out of 20 teams. Ella Baran led the way as she was the first Buff to cross the finish line with a time of 19:47.5. Baran made big jumps after the two-mile mark, moving up 15 spots to an 11th-place finish.
Colorado sat in third for the majority of the race with Emily Covert being the leading runner. She began to slowly fall behind at the 4.5K mark, but she was still able to have a solid outing, finishing 20th in 20:07.4.
The next pair of runners to score for Colorado were Karrie Baloga and Katie Doucette. They placed 29th and 30th as they both recorded a time of 20:24.2. Rounding out the scoring-five for the Buffs was Samree Dishon with a 41st-place finish.
In the men’s 10K, Colorado placed sixth out of 17 teams. After a fast start, the Buffs began to fall slightly, sitting in eighth through the first three miles. They managed to make their way back up two spots to sixth where they stayed for the remainder of the race.
Austin Vancil was Colorado’s leading runner yet again, being the first Buff to cross the finish line for the third time this season. Vancil didn’t fall out of the top-15 until the 8K mark where he moved down to 19th. He placed 20th in 29:29.8 and was just about five seconds ahead of the next Buff.
Following Vancil was Isaiah Givens in 30th (30:04.5) and Paul Stafford in 32nd (30:10.2). In the final stretch, Noah Hibbard made his way up seven spots to 40th-place and Caleb Niednagel moved up three spots to 47th. The five scorers for Colorado were unable to combine for a top-five team finish, instead placing sixth 34 points behind Montana State.
In each race, Northern Arizona took first place and BYU took second. Both teams now officially qualify for nationals. NAU scored 30 points in the women’s race and 36 in the men’s while BYU scored 59 points in the women’s race and 89 in the men’s.
The 2023 DI men’s and women’s cross country selection show will air on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m….