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University of Colorado cross country runner Andy Wacker raced his way to the “CU Independent” Athlete of the Week honors.
Wacker placed second overall in the 2011 NCAA Pre-National Invitational on Sunday, Oct. 16. The then-ranked No. 8 men’s team also took the team title. In the latest rankings, Colorado is No. 6.
The 5-foot-11-inch senior finished the 8-kilometer course in 23 minutes, 58 seconds. He was just three seconds behind the first-place finisher.
“Andy had a great summer of training and his work is paying off,” CU Coach Mark Wetmore said in a news release.
Even though Wacker has been preparing for this season since May, he still makes time for academics. He finished earning his bachelor’s degree in evolutionary biology and integrative physiology during the summer.
This fall, he is working on a master’s degree in integrated physiology.
Wacker could boast about his personal performance in and out of cross country, but he’s more concerned with how his team competes.
“First of all, the most important thing for me is the team,” Wacker said. “So it’s nice to see that our team won an invitational because we haven’t won a big invitational like that in a while. It just means a lot.”
CU senior Richard Medina finished right behind Wacker in fourth place. Medina said he is proud of Wacker and also pointed to the team’s strong group dynamic as the key to their early success this season.
Wacker believes that having such strong support from his teammates gives the Buffs a competitive edge.
“It’s nice because we can work together, and it’s a lot more intimidating if you have two guys right in the front,” Wacker said. “You’re passing somebody and you’ve both got the same uniform.”
The Buffs don’t have much time to sit back and celebrate. Their next competition is the inaugural Pac-12 Championship on Saturday, Oct. 29 in Tempe, Ariz.
“There’s a team championship out there to win and we’re ready to do it,” Wacker said.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Marlee Horn at email@example.com.