NCAA Championships Team Previews: Colorado Men

NCAA Championships Team Previews: Colorado Men

Over the years, Mark Wetmore's Colorado Buffaloes have developed a reputation for peaking at the right time, for running their best when it counts the most. It appears they did it again this year when scoring an upset victory over Stanford to win their first-ever Pac-12 title.

But is that reputation earned? In each of the last four years, the Buffs's finishing position at the NCAA Championships was equal to or lower than their poll position entering the meet. Even this year's Pac-12 win wasn't that big an upset, as Stanford was only two positions higher in the last pre-meet national poll (and the Cardinal was significantly weakened by Ben Johnson's DNF).

Where did this reputation for masterful peaking come from? It would probably be their last two national championships, in 2004 and 2006. In 2004, the Buffs were ranked #4 coming into the meet and won in a big upset. What added even more to the legend was their 2006 win over what everyone thought was an unbeatable Wisconsin team. The Buffs were eighth at halfway and still trailed the Badgers with 2 km to go, but stormed to a convincing victory.

So are the Buffaloes destined to beat all expectations next Monday? Hardly. However, they are led by a smart and crafty coach, one who knows what to do to get the best out of everyone. They're a dangerous team, one with long odds to win but quite capable of getting on the podium as a top-four team.

Despite all the teamwork and planning training and everything else we do, on race day a cross country team is still the sum of its parts, no more and no less. Who are those parts?

The top two all year have been Andy Wacker (senior, Pinehurst NC) and Richard Medina* (senior, Grand Junction CO). Wacker was runner-up at the Pre-National Invitational and 6th at the Pac-12 Championships, while Medina was fourth at Pre-Nats and 3rd at the Pac-12. Both are capable of finishing in the top twenty or so on Monday, and even the top ten is not out of reach.

*If ESPN's Chris Berman covered cross country, I think he'd go with Richard "Funky Cold" Medina, for all you Tone-Loc fans out there.

Freshman sensation Ammar Moussa (Arcadia CA) has only run three college races, but they've been good: 19th at Pre-Nats, 15th at the Pac-12, and 17th at the Mountain regional. Finishing near Moussa at these meets has been Christian Thompson (senior, Candor NY) – 21st at Pre-Nats, 13th at the Pac-12, and 12th at the Mountain regional. I figure these two as finishing in the top fifty at the NCAA meet.

The big question mark for Colorado is Joe Bosshard (junior, Crested Butte CO). He has run only one race all season, the Pac-12 Championships, where he finished ninth. That's less than you'd expect from a guy who was 8th in the 10,000 meters at last spring's NCAA Championships, and 26th at last fall's NCAA cross country championships. Coach Wetmore sat him for regionals, so obviously something is not quite right. If he can run with Wacker and Medina on Monday, then the Buffs are going places.

The other two runners figuring to run for Colorado on Monday are Martin Medina (junior, Grand Junction CO) and Blake Theroux (redshirt freshman, Chesapeake VA). Both have been solid throughout the season, but the Buffs are in trouble if either of these end up as a top-five scoring runner.

Katelyn Tuohy Shatters Mary Cain's National High School Record For 5K

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North Rockland High School, New York, sophomore Katelyn Tuohy ran the fastest 5K ever for a high school girl — indoors or outdoors — today with her winning time of 15:37.12 at the VA Showcase in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Christian Coleman Crushes 60m World Record In His Season Opener

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Today, in his first meet of the year, Christian Coleman set the bar for his season incredibly high and put the world on notice. 

Vincent Crisp Runs Fastest Collegiate Time Ever For 600 Yards

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Texas Tech junior Vincent Crisp posted the fastest indoor collegiate mark of all time over 600 yards on Friday. Competing at the Texas Tech Red Raider Invitational in Lubbock, Texas, Crisp ran 1:08.16 and held off TCU’s Derrick Mokaleng, who ran 1:08.18.

Michael Saruni Runs World-Best In Indoor 600m

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On Friday night, Michael Saruni continued his hot start to 2018. The UTEP sophomore ran a world-best time of 1:14.79 in the 600m at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational in Albuquerque.  

Austin, Texas, Chasing History With Olympic Trials Bid

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Austin, Texas, has hosted the NCAA track and field championships and currently stages one of the largest track meets of the calendar, the Texas Relays. The city has a robust road racing scene, bolstered by the presence of elite athletes and high-level training groups. But Austin has never hosted a USA track and field championship event — not for any distance on the roads, cross country or track and field. And certainly not the Olympic Trials. 

Justin Gatlin Switches Coaches After Investigation Uncovers Doping Scandal

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Justin Gatlin has officially begun his career after Dennis Mitchell. Reuters reported on Friday that Gatlin is being coached by Brooks Johnson in Orlando, Florida. Gatlin fired Mitchell in December after Mitchell was implicated in a doping sting facilitated by the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph. 

Robert Kigen, Felix Kandie Headline Napoli City Half Marathon

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Nobert Kigen and Felix Kandie of Kenya headline a men’s pro field aiming for a sub-60 minute performance at the fifth Napoli City Half Marathon in Naples, Italy.

Olympians, Top Collegians Clash At Larry Wieczorek Invitational

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The Larry Wieczorek Invitational this Friday and Saturday at the University of Iowa has it all: top professional athletes like Fred Kerley, Olympic champions and world record holders like Aries Merritt, and defending NCAA champions like Mikiah Brisco of LSU. 

Centro Passing On Indoors In 2018

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Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz is skipping the indoor season and instead will race outdoors in Australia. 

20 Events You Cannot Miss at The VA Showcase!

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The 2017 VA Showcase saw 11 U.S. No. 1 performances, two national records, and its alumni went on to win a staggering 33 indoor national titles. Needless to say, it was the greatest regular season meet of all time.