SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — The second-ranked University of Colorado men’s cross country team soundly defeated No. 3 Stanford 49-82 at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships en route to their second straight conference title on Saturday morning at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course.
The Buffs placed three runners in the top 10 and had all five scorers finish in the top 13. The sixth and seventh runners also finished in the top 18. All seven of CU’s harriers came in before Stanford’s fourth crossed the finish in 20th overall.
Blake Theroux led CU with a seventh-place finish and was closely followed by Jake Hurysz and Hugh Dowdy who took eighth and ninth-place, respectively. Theroux clocked a time of 23 minute, 40 seconds. Hurysz finished in 23:41 and Dowdy’s time was 23:42.
“Blake keeps getting better every race,” coach Mark Wetmore said. “The days of him being an unknown runner are almost gone. But our goal today was to win the team title and maybe we sacrificed an individual position here or there to make sure we didn’t make any team mistakes.”
CU again showed great depth, which it has done all year. Aric Van Halen had his best race of the season, placing 12th overall as CU’s No. 4 runner. He finished in 23:46 and Pierce Murphy was the Buffs final scorer, taking 13th (23:49).
Making the Buffs back-to-back titles even more exciting is the fact the men did not return a single scorer from the 2011 squad which also defeated Stanford (46-53). The Buffs graduated three seniors from last year’s team and the other two runners have not competed yet this season.
“Back-to-back champs feels pretty good,” Theroux said after the race. “It means a lot to us especially since we didn’t return a lot of guys from last year’s team.”
The Buffs stayed in the front of the race and never backed down. As the race developed, it was clear that the Buffs were sticking together and would easily take the championship as the fourth and fifth runners for the competition fell behind.
This is the first time the Buffs have won back-to-back conference titles since their stretch of 12 Big 12 titles from 1996-2007.
Arizona’s Lawi Lalang won his second straight individual title (22:49) by outsprinting his teammate Stephan Sambu (22:50) in the final stretch.
The women’s team, which was ranked 21st heading into the weekend, placed fifth overall behind some of the top ranked teams in the country. They recorded 124 points and were led by Shalaya Kipp’s 11th-place finish (20:36). Kipp was the only scorer CU returned from the 2011 championship team. She was fourth at the conference last year, but dropped a few spots this year which could be largely due to the fact she ran a long track season until the middle of August with the Olympics.
“With the variables with the summer and the last couple of weeks of training, I was happy with today.” Kipp said. “You always want to be higher up than the previous time, but I was satisfied today.”
Teammate Carrie Verdon also had a very nice day, turning in a 16th-place performance with a time of 20:41. Kipp was very proud of the freshman’s first Pac-12 performance.
“That was awesome,” Kipp said. “I could hear them cheering for Carrie behind me and I knew she was having a great day and that just made me excited.”
Rachel Viger and Liz Tremblay also had excellent days for the Buffs. Viger took 27th overall as CU’s No. 3 runner (21:05) and Tremblay was 31st overall (21:16). Jana Stolting rounded out CU’s score as the fifth runner. She was 41st overall in 21:38.
“Honestly the five who scored for us ran well,” Wetmore said. “It was a big race for Carrie Verdon, Rachel Viger and Liz Tremblay. We needed to be fifth in this meet because in two weeks who you beat during the season begins to matter. We were a little closer to some of the big four than we expected to be.”
No. 3 Oregon defeated fifth-rated Arizona to win the women’s title 47-69. Fourth-ranked Stanford placed third (82) and No. 6 Washington was fourth (92). Stanford’s Kathy Kroeger won the race in 20:06.
“Winning again would have been great, but being realistic heading into the race we knew that we had some unfortunately injuries and sicknesses so that probably was not going to happen,” Kipp said. “There were certain teams we wanted to beat today and we did that so I think we are happy overall.”
The morning was very breezy, with winds northeast at 16 miles per hour. The women’s race started with a temperature of 68 and the men’s race started a little higher at 73.
The Pac-12 Championships will be rebroadcast on the Pac-12 Network Nov. 5-8. Check your local listings for the channel and time.
The Buffs will be back in action at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Nov. 9 in Fort Collins, Colo.
2012 PAC-12 CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP
Robinson Ranch Golf Course (Santa Clarita, Calif.)
Men’s 8k Team Results
1. Colorado , 49; 2. Stanford 82; 3. Oregon, 105; 4. Arizona State, 109; 5. UCLA, 113; 6. Washington, 119; 7. Arizona, 166; 8. Washington State, 200; 9. California, 234.
Men’s 8k Individual Results (top 10 Individuals)
1. Lawi Lalang, UA, 22:49; 2. Stephen Sambu, UA, 22:50; Trevor Dunbar, OU, 23:28; 4. Parker Stinson, UO, 23:28; 5. Lane Werley, UCLA, 23:33; 6. Joe Rosa, SU, 23:35; 7. Blake Theroux, CU, 23:40; 8. Jake Hurysz, 23:41; 923:42. Hugh Dowdy, CU, 23:42; 10. Benjamin Johnson, SU, 23:45.
Other CU Finishers:
12. Aric Van Halen, 23:46; 13. Martin Medina, 23:49; 14. Pierce Murphy, 23:50; 18. Morgan Pearson, 24:04; 21. Connor Winter, 24:11; 36. Matt Biegner, 24:26; 41. Jonny Stevens, 24:33.
Women’s 6k Team Results
1. Oregon, 47; 2. Arizona, 69; 3. Stanford, 82; 4. Washington, 92; 5. Colorado, 124; 6. UCLA, 172, 7. Utah, 200; 8. California, 209; 9. Arizona State, 210; 10. USC, 295; 11. Oregon State, 305; 12. Washington State, 308.
Women’s 6k Individual Results (top 10 Individuals)
1. Kathy Kroeger, SU, 20:06; 2. Jordan Hasay, UO, 20:10; 3. Elvin Kibet, UA, 20:11; 4. Alexi Pappas, UO, 20:12; 5. Allie Woodward, UO, 20:16; 6. Amanda Mergaert, UU, 20:22; 7. Jennifer Bergman, UA, 20:25; 8. Shelby Houlihan, ASU, 20:26; 9. Kelsey Santisteban, Cal, 20:30; 10. Aisling Cuffe, SU, 20:32.
Other CU Finishers:
11. Shalaya Kipp, 20:36; 16. Carrie Verdon, 20:41; 27. Rachel Viger, 21:05; 31. Liz Tremblay, 21:16; 41. Jana Stolting, 21:38; 42. Camille Logan, 21:39; 63. Diana George, 22:10; 64. Courtney Bouchet, 22:11; 70. Catrina McAlister, 22:23
Pac-12 Championships Results (pdf, 185K)