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CROSS COUNTRY 2022 regular season season news and results (Teams at Nuttycombe (in Madison) Fri., 10/14 and Riverside Sat., 10/25)


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I usually start and maintain one thread each season to report on and discuss all regular season results and other news about one of CU's most storied sports programs, the men's and women's cross country teams. As usual, this thread will be used for the regular season only, and then, gods willing, I'll create separate threads for the Pac 12 and NCAA Championships. (which are scheduled to be in L.A. this season Friday, October 28th.)

Figured I'd start this thread now, as today the team released its schedule for the coming season (see below tweet and link). Note that cross country and track and field are the sports that, at least based on my experience, are most likely to have adjustments to their schedules even after the season begins. (As noted above, Pac 12's this year are in L.A., while NCAA regionals are in Albuquerque and Championships in Stillwater.)

Best wishes to the men's and women's teams!

Link to schedule - https://cubuffs.com/sports/cross-country/schedule/2022

Link to roster - https://cubuffs.com/sports/cross-country/roster
Looks like the teams started their formal training period today, with their 1st official races (at South Campus) ~16 days away!

Preview article for the season (where the women have been ranked #3 and men #5 in the coaches' preseason poll) AND Friday morning's home races, where the women are scheduled to begin at 7:15 AM MT and men at 7:45 AM.

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2022/8/31/cross-country-colorado-ranked-top-five-ahead-of-home-return.aspx

BOULDER — The University of Colorado cross country men and women's programs both are ranked in the top-five in the NCAA, the USTFCCCA announced Wednesday afternoon with the men's team ranked fifth and the women's third.

This is the 19th time for both programs to be ranked inside the top-five at the start of the season.

The rankings come just days before the Buffaloes return to Boulder after a six-year hiatus from hosting a meet. The squads will compete against Colorado Christian University Friday morning at the Buffalo Ranch Cross Country Course at the CU South Campus.

The women's race will start at the CU South Campus at 7:15 a.m. followed by the men's race at 7:45 a.m. The women will run three laps on the 1,800-meter course (5,400m total), while the men will race four laps (7,200m total).

CU is returning a women's squad that finished on the podium last year in fourth and a men's squad that finished eighth at the NCAAs. For the women, All-American Emily Covert is the only returner from the NCAA scoring team and is joined only by Hannah Miniutti from the seven competitors. The men return Andrew Kent, Austin Vancil, Brendan Fraser and Charlie Sweeney from their NCAA team.

The women added a pair of transfers in Ella Baran from Johns Hopkins and Bailey Hertenstein from Indiana that should be in the front mix, while the men's squad added Wisconsin transfer Seth Hirsch.

Both teams also have a plethora of redshirt freshmen that will be fighting for a position in the top seven. There are 10 men entering their second season in the Wetmore program, all of which will be wearing their first CU jersey this weekend.

Everyone that can run will run for the Buffaloes this Friday, with most using this as a strong pacing opportunity and rust-buster. With such a new team, this meet will serve as a time trial with the top runners pacing the team in search of who will be the seventh through 12th runners in upcoming meets.

Both defending national champions lead the ranking with NAU leading the men and N.C. State on the women's side. New Mexico is second on the women's side, while Oklahoma State, Stanford and BYU are ranked 2-4.

Very similar to the Coaches' poll, but also wanted to note a running website I follow, thestridereport.com, have the women ranked #4 and men #5. (Actually viewing the articles require a premium ($) subscription.)

Article after today's time trials.

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2022/9/2/cross-country-buffs-exceed-expectations-in-opening-race.aspx

BOULDER — The University of Colorado cross country teams exceeded expectations early Friday morning, running well and posting 24 of the top 26 marks in the Colorado Open.

The morning began with the women's 5.4k, completing three 1,800-meter loops. The CU women took early command facing one another and Colorado Christian. Transfers Bailey Hertenstein and Ella Baran were among the top runners, grouped up with Kaitlyn Barthell and Carley Bennett in the front pack along with India Johnson who competed unattached.

Hertenstein picked up the pace in the final third of the race, winning in 18:59.8, 11 seconds ahead of a trio of women with Johnson, Barthell and Baran. Bennett rounded out the top-five finishers in 19:16.5.

Redshirt freshman Whitney Valenti ran well to finish seventh in 19:39.7, followed by Hannah Miniutti in eighth separated back by 18 seconds. Anna Shults and Alisa Meraz-Fishbein finished out the top 10 in ninth and 10th, respectfully.

"Well, what we wanted to know today was not the front of the team, but from fifth and sixth back," said head coach Mark Wetmore. "So that was certainly determined in both races. There were some surprises along the way. Carley Bennett had a wonderful race. Our two new people from transfers, Bailey Hertenstein and Ella Baran looked really good for their first attempts at altitude."

Only one true freshman raced for the women, Caroline Mehlhorn who competed unattached and finished 11th overall in 20:27.1.

The men's 7,200-meter race was much more of a pack race with the first loop of four crossing in 5:30 with 20 or more men. The top group finally broke open the race in the third loop as a CU cluster of six men picked up the pace. Redshirt freshman Lukas Haug was the first Buff across, encouraged on by teammates looking to keep the tradition of allowing a newcomer to win the race. Haug crossed just a few feet ahead of five CU men in 21:47.3. The next five Buffaloes crossed less than a second behind with Noah Hibbard, Charlie Sweeney, Austin Vancil, Andrew Kent and Hunter Appleton all finishing virtually shoulder-to-shoulder. Appleton was technically the sixth runner, crossing in 21:47.8.

"In the men's race, there were some surprises in that front group," said Wetmore. "Some people I expected maybe to be in there that we're not. Lukas is a very pleasant surprise. Hunter has had a good summer and had his best cross race for us so far. So as I said, there are always surprises but we got what we needed, which is to know how the team shakes out after the top four or five."

Coach Wetmore's research goal was for the back half of the runners, and the men gave coach a tougher task to separate out with seven more men coming in after the top pack. Brendan Fraser was eighth in 21:56.2, followed by Grady Rauba, Seth Hirsch and Ethan Powell all less than 20 seconds behind the front group. James Overberg, Charlie Welch and Jake Derouin rounded out the top-14 runners with Powell finishing 23 seconds behind the leaders.

The youth showed well for the CU men with five men in the top 14 in their first year of cross country competition.

"Noah Hibbard has yet to be kind of a penetrator for us in cross country but he was with that front group," said Wetmore. "Alex Baca, I thought he had a good summer and then he looked pretty good today. He and Lukas are freshmen. Academically they were freshmen a year ago but they're athletic freshmen this year. So to be up among the top six or seven or eight is very encouraging."

The Buffaloes will continue their early training the next three weeks before heading to the Cowboy Jamboree at Oklahoma State. Colorado will look to run well and study the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater as it is the site of the NCAA Championships in November.

Full results - https://cubuffs.com/documents/2022/9/2/CU_Open_Results.pdf

Assume an upcoming preview will also provide this, but since I was looking anyways, thought I'd provide a few links for this Saturday's races:

Host (Oklahoma State) races' homepage - https://okstate.com/sports/2015/8/20/jamboree.aspx

Their races' info page - https://okstate.com/documents/2021/6/23/2022_Cowboy_Jamboree_Meet_Information.pdf

Live results (No info (list of entries, teams, etc.) available as I type this.) - https://live.athletic.net/meets/18214/xc-scoreboard

(At least per a BYU preview I found, sounds like there's no video coverage planned.)
Preview for Saturday's races now out. (Note that, due to expected hot weather, looks like they've moved the collegiate races up a bit, and have combined the fields (by gender) with invitational races which were originally scheduled to be raced separately later in the morning (which I assume could mean some CONGESTED trails).) -

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2022/9/21/cross-country-buffaloes-set-for-cowboy-jamboree.aspx

BOULDER — The University of Colorado cross country program will head to Stillwater, Okla., this Saturday to compete in the Cowboy Jamboree.

The Buffs enter their first meet against Division I competition with both teams ranked in the top-five. The women enter the meet ranked third in the USTFCCCA Coaches Poll, while the men are tabbed at five.

Due to warm temperatures, both the college and invitational races will be run at the same time and moved up. The women's 6K race will start things off at 6:45 a.m. MT, followed by the men's 8K race at 7:30 a.m. MT. The Buffs will have a stacked field against them with teams such as BYU, NAU and Stanford coming to preview the 2022 NCAA Championship course. In total, eight of the top-10 teams on the men's side will be in the race while six of the women's top-10 will compete.

The women's squad is led by grad transfer Bailey Hertenstein. The junior won the Colorado Open at the beginning of September by 11 seconds over teammates Kaitlyn Bartell, Ella Baran and Carley Bennett. Returning All-American Emily Covert did not compete in the race but is set to make her season debut in Stillwater to help bolster the women's top-seven.

Whitney Valenti and Hannah Miniutti will also be strong contenders for the Buffs' top runners. CU will send 14 total women with Karina Andersen, Bella Longo, Alisa Meraz-Fishbein, Elle Orie, Elliot Pribramsky, Rylee Robinson and Anna Shults also racing for the black and gold.

The men's squad will send a much larger group of 21 to compete. Colorado was led by redshirt freshman Lukas Haug at the Colorado Open, who led a large pack of men across the line that included Noah Hibbard, Charlie Sweeney, Andrew Kent and Hunter Appleton. Austin Vancil competed unattached at the Colorado Open but is registered attached for this weekend's race after finishing fourth at the Colorado Open.

The CU men bring in a young squad that features 15 freshmen or sophomores. Jace Aschbrenner, Alex Baca, Jake Derouin, Zack Gacnik, Ben Greene, Haug, Caleb Niednagel, James Overberg, Shaw Powell, Grady Rauba, Tyler Scholl and Charlie Welch are all freshmen competing in their first major meet for the Buffs.

The race will not be streamed, but live results can be found here.
Article on the transfers helping to lead (with of course all the current and former Buff freshmen) the Buffs into the season, starting with tomorrow's big race.

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2022/9/23/cross-country-transfers-look-to-continue-a-new-legacy.aspx

BOULDER – With the offseason additions of Bailey Hertenstein and Ella Baran, the University of Colorado cross country program hopes to continue its trend of having successful transfers come in and elevate the program.

Last year, CU saw amazing production from Ohio State transfer, Abby Nichols and Michigan transfer, Micaela DeGenero. Nichols became a three-time Pac-12 champion after placing first in the 5,000 meters, 6,000 meters (XC), and 10,000 meters while DeGenero became the NCAA champion in the mile. Additionally, Hertenstein and Baran's teammate India Johnson, a Notre Dame transfer, was an All-American doubling in the 5,000 and 10,000.

Colorado's newest additions, Hertenstein and Baran, are excited to see if they can match the transfer success of late.

After last season concluded, Hertenstein made the decision to leave Indiana and spend her final year of eligibility with Colorado.

"When I was looking for my next home, I really wanted to focus on team culture," Hertenstein said. "I just didn't really feel like I fit in where I was, so I wanted to make sure that the next home I chose was going to actually be like my closest family."

"In our first home meet, even though it was like a time trial, I was just really proud to be wearing that uniform because I was surrounded by girls that I really love and girls that really love me," she added.

Hertenstein, a Florida native, has also expressed her excitement to be able to work with another Florida native and CU legend, Jenny Simpson.

"It's inspiring, honestly. It gives you something to look up to and something to keep you going and be motivated."

She has only been in Boulder for a few months, but Hertenstein has already made her presence felt by finishing the 5.4k in 18:59.8 which ranked first at the Colorado Open.

Baran had a similar agenda to her new teammate when she decided to take her talents to Colorado after departing from Johns Hopkins.

Regarding why she chose CU, Baran said, "definitely the team environment and having a really ambitious group of women to work with side-by-side every day and just really focus on our own personal development growth."

"There have been challenges. I got covid two weeks after I moved here so while I was adjusting to being at 5,000 feet I also had that to deal with, but I feel like with any circumstance, there's always going to be an adjustment period. So overall I'm just really excited and happy to be here," she said.

Baran has dealt with adversity since joining Colorado, but with the help of her teammates and coaches she has settled into her new schedule.

"Lifting for two hours a week and running a sub-seven minute pace at elevation has been a huge shock to the system, but it has gotten a lot easier as I've adjusted to that sort of expectation and also really working with the people around me."

Despite facing a challenging transition from DIII to DI competition, Baran also impressed in the Colorado Open after placing fourth with a time of 19:11.2.

As the cross country season kicks off, the Buffs' newest additions will be a key part to continuing the cross country team's historic success.
Always hard to know how seriously teams take these early season races (did they back of their training for this at all?, Any potential key runners being held out du to a minor injury?, etc.), but looks like both the women and men underperformed off their rankings coming into the weekend. (Again, impossible to know if these results means much of anything based on way this sport is heavily weighted almost all on post-season (conference and NCAA Championships) results only. I'm most interested to see what the coach(es) say, if anything, in the post-races article(s) and/or interviews..)

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Article after today's racing-

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2022/9/24/cross-country-new-faces-step-up-for-buffaloes.aspx

STILLWATER, Okla. — The University of Colorado cross country program competed in its first major meet of the season here Saturday morning with the women finishing fourth with 155 points in the 6K and the men seventh with 183 point in the 8K at the Cowboy Jamboree.

The women, who are tied for third in the nation, were led by a pair of transfers and Emily Covert with top-20 finishes. Bailey Hertenstein led the way for Colorado placing 11th overall in 20:38.7, followed by Covert placing 16th in 20:45.8 and Ella Baran one place behind in 20:46.4.

On the men's side, the fifth-ranked Buffaloes finished seventh led by Andrew Kent with an eighth-place finish in 23:30.8. CU's biggest surprise was redshirt freshman James Overberg finishing third for the team and 40th overall in 24:01.8. True freshman Isaiah Givens was also a large surprise, finishing 47th overall unattached in 24:08.5.

The women's top-three was huge for Colorado. Following them were Kaitlyn Barthell in 58th (21:24.6), Gabrielle Orie in 60th (21:26.7) and Whitney Valenti in 83rd (21:42.2) to round out the scoring five.

"All three of those (top runners) are important runners for us," said head coach Mark Wetmore. "Each of them had a good race in slightly different ways. All three of them have a lot of improvement coming I'm confident. Behind them, we weren't very good. We need to get Hannah Miniutti around the course successfully, which didn't happen today. We have some people that did not have excellent summers and we're running out of time so they have some work to do in a hurry. We knew we weren't deep all along. If somebody asked me in August, I would have said, the women can be good but they're not deep. So after fifth or sixth, there's a big gap that won't get filled. We need everybody to be healthy and fit in six weeks."

The men were without one of their top runners in Austin Vancil, but with Kent paving the way and newcomers showing up big, the Buffs have a bright future to the young season. Charlie Sweeney was second for Colorado, finishing 37th in 23:59.0, followed by Overberg in 40th and Fraser in 42nd (24:05.2). Lukas Haug capped off the scoring five placing 57th in 24:12.3.

"The men were chaos," said Wetmore. "Andy was great. We have two or three people that should have been with him that weren't. We decided to hold out Austin who generally is our top runner in practice, but he has a little lower leg problem that we're trying to solve. Veteran guys like Charlie Sweeney and Brendan need to be higher than that. And then there were some real bright spots among young people. A whole bunch of redshirt freshmen did well. Isaiah, he did so well I never even saw him finish. He went by before I was expecting him. We may have to put a uniform on him in three weeks. Anyway, the young guys were good, and the old guys have some work to do. They could be better completely rested. They may need a better rest than they had in the last week, we worked hard on Sunday, we worked hard on Wednesday. We knew we were doing that."

The men had a number of athletes place in the top-100 overall with Wisconsin transfer Seth Hirsch just off the scoring at 63rd (24:14.6), followed by Noah Hibbard (69th | 24:18.2), Grady Rauba (77th | 24:23.1), Jace Aschbrenner (78th | 24:23.9), Hunter Appleton (96th | 24:38.2) and Charlie Welch (99th | 24:39.9).

Of the men finishing in the top-100, six were underclassmen including Givens.

"It was not a shock to see James up there," said Wetmore. "A pleasant surprise but not a shock. Isaiah surprised me once I saw the results. Grady Rauba was good. Lukas was good. Not far behind them, Alex was good. As I said those redshirt freshmen had a promising day."

Host school and co-No.3-ranked Oklahoma State took the women's team title with 69 points while No.4- ranked BYU took the men's title with 75 points.

"My takeaway from today is we know where we are," said Wetmore. "This first meet against real competition is when you find out who's been naughty and who's been nice. So now we know and we know what we need to solve and it's our task to get it solved in six or eight weeks."

Colorado returns to Boulder with 20 days of work ahead of them before splitting the team between the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, home to the 2024 NCAA Championships, and the Highlander Invitational in Los Angeles that will preview the 2022 Pac-12 Championship course.

Full results:
Women's - https://cubuffs.com/documents/2022/9/24/Cowboy_Jamboree_Womens6k.pdf
Men's - https://cubuffs.com/documents/2022/9/24/Cowboy_Jamboree_Mens8k.pdf
The last races of the regular season are coming up, with Nuttycombe, especially, being the biggest races to date.

A couple links now available for the Friday Madison races:

Live timing/ results
(Does already list the potential runners for each team from which the 7 in each gender will be racing in the main (Championship) races.) - https://live.pttiming.com/XC-PTT.html?mid=5222

Live Stream (Only available for those who have a premium ($) subscription to Runnerspace's Plus+ service.) - https://nuttycombe-invitational.runnerspace.com/eprofile.php?event_id=4311&do=videos&video_id=336906

From the live streaming link above, the race schedule is (converted to Mountain Time):

Women's 6k B Race 10:00 AM
Men's 8k B Race 10:40 AM
Women's 6k Championship 11:20 AM
Men's 8k Championship 12:00 PM


For the races at Riverside:

Meet info document
- https://gohighlanders.com/documents...nder_Cross_Country_Invitational_Meet_Info.pdf

Results - https://finishedresults.com/meets/3976

From the meet info document, races schedule is (times converted to Mountain Time):

9:00am: Men’s 8,000m Invitational
9:40am: Women’s 6000m Invitational
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Preview for this week's racies-

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2022/10/11/cross-country-buffaloes-split-weekend.aspx

BOULDER — The University of Colorado cross country program will send a pair of teams to the Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, Wisc., Friday morning, while another team will head to the Highlander Invitational in Riverside, Calif., Saturday.

The eighth-ranked men's squad will send 19 men to the Nuttycombe to face off against some of the nation's top teams, while the seventh-ranked women's team will send 13 women. CU will send seven men and seven women to Riverside to preview the Pac-12 Championships course.

For the men, Austin Vancil will join the squad after sitting out the Cowboy Jamboree. He will be an important addition to go along with some of the top runners like Andrew Kent, Charlie Sweeney, Brendan Fraser and Lukas Haug. James Overberg, who was third for the Buffs at the Jamboree will also be competing and look to get into the scoring mix.

The trio of Bailey Hertenstein, Emily Covert and Ella Baran all finished in the top-20 at the Cowboy Jamboree and will look to push the pace for Colorado. Kaitlyn Barthell and Gabrielle Orie rounded out the scoring for Colorado in September and are looking strong for the final meet before the conference championships. CU will also hope to have Hannah Miniutti up with the pack after struggling to come back from injury earlier in the season.

Nuttycombe will feature a plethora of strong teams, including 22 ranked teams on the men's side and 23 on the women's. Eight of the nation's top men's teams will be in competition except No. 4 Oklahoma State and No. 7 Wake Forest, while the women have all of the top-10 except No.3 Oklahoma State and No.6 Alabama.

The squad heading to California consists of all freshmen and sophomores in eligibility that will bring back important information on the course. Carley Bennett is one of the leads for the women along with Anna Shults and Alisa Meraz-Fishbein, while the men will have Ben Greene, Caleb Niednagel and others ready to set the pace up front.

Friday's Nuttycombe will be streamed on Runnerspace with live results found here.
And, the races have begun.

Looks like the weather should be a pretty nice one for running, which can't generally be assumed for Madison this time of year. It's looking like it's 43 right now with a forecasted high of 47, with no precipitation right now and not too much chance (24%) forecasted through the end of the racing. Also "only" 10 MPH winds.

More on the races and the varsity records. (Note that I believe most years the Buffs have raced at the Pre-Nationals rather than Nuttycombe (they're usually the same weekend), which is probably one reason the women have only won once and the men never.):
Always hard to know what the objective is in races for each team, and hard to know what teams have tapered off more or less for the day, who might be dealing with or recovering from injuries, etc., but on the surface not a great overall result for the women today, as they are unofficially showing in 9th. IF this kind of result holds through the rest of the season the Buffs, who were ranked to be podium contenders during the pre-season, will be underdogs to finish in the top 10 now at the NCAA Championships. (Although most of the top teams are in Madison, at least another couple top teams are at the Pre-Nationals races.

In this one, the top 3 Buffs finished OK (although even the 3rd CU finisher finished behind the top SIX finishers for the top 2 schools (NC State and New Mexico). However, their 4th and 5th place finishers wouldn't have even been scorers for any of the other top 10 finishing schools.
Buff men finish 8th overall. Again, a little problem behind the top 2 or 3, although having a top finisher at 22nd would probably limit the chance of a podium finish at NCAA's. The positive I can see for the men is that the top 2 finishers were good news for the Buffs - Austin Vancil wasn't able to race the last time out, but led the Buffs today in 22nd, and transfer Seth Hirsch, who wasn't a scorer for CU last time out, was the 2nd Buff finisher today, 23rd overall, and less than 2 seconds behind Mr. Vancil.
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Both the Buff men and women (young and developing runners competed today for CU) finished 5th in Riverside. (Perennial D2 power Adams State, who I assume brought their "A" teams, earned dominating team wins in both races.)
Not much details here. Anyone know more?

The University of Colorado is conducting what it calls an “independent, comprehensive fact-finding inquiry” into practices at its legendary cross-country program.

The investigation into the Boulder-based program—which has produced multiple NCAA champions and eventual Olympians—comes following allegations by former athletes pertaining to body composition analysis, training methods, and overall culture.

The accusations center around CU’s two highly decorated coaches and the head dietitian on its athletic department staff. Head coach Mark Wetmore is currently in his 29th year at the university and his 27th at the helm of the program; associate head coach Heather Burroughs, a three-time cross-country All-American at CU who ran under Wetmore, is now in her 17th season on staff. Laura Anderson is a registered dietitian who has worked for the university since 2014 and was promoted to associate athletic director for performance nutrition in 2018.

Runner's World link
Looks like the teams started their formal training period today, with their 1st official races (at South Campus) ~16 days away!

I guess I didn’t think about other teams at the school getting to use the “football” meeting rooms, which makes sense. And makes the Champions Center an even greater resource than I’d considered. I look forward to the track & field season. Go Buffs!