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With the CU men’s cross-country team moving up in the national coaches’ polls this week and basketball and ski seasons just around the corner, the CUI sports staff addressed these three varsity sports in this week’s mailbag.
1) I heard the CU men’s cross-country team won Pre-Nationals last weekend. Does that mean they have a good chance of winning the NCAA Championships?
The CU men’s cross-country team won Pre-Nationals by a wide margin last weekend, beating out second-place Brigham Young University, at the time ranked No. 3, by 55 points. Some of the teams Colorado will face at November’s national championships, however, did not race Pre-Nationals because they were running at the Stanford Invitational on the same weekend. The University of Wisconsin, Stanford University (currently ranked No. 3) and Oklahoma State University (currently ranked No. 1), were all absent from Pre-Nats but will threaten Colorado’s chances at the national titlle. The Buffs did move from seventh place to second in the USTFCCCA national coaches’ poll this week though, meaning they do have a decent chance of taking victory on the national stage later this fall.
2) Didn’t the men’s basketball team lose some significant graduating seniors last year? Who is going to replace them?
The men’s basketball team did lose some talent after last season with the graduation of standout players point guard Nate Tomlinson, forward Austin Dufault and guard Carlon Brown. With a year of experience under their belts, sophomores Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie are perhaps the two most likely candidates to replace Tomlinson at the point guard position. Dinwiddie has a significant height advantage, but Booker came off the bench last season as a six-man and did not disappoint. The team also has one of its best-ever freshman recruiting classes. Xavier Johnson and Eli Stalzer are a pair of teammates from Mater Dei High School in Brea, Calif., the No. 2-ranked high school team in the nation last year. In Johnson and Stalzer’s four-year high school career, the Mater Dei team’s record was 129-9 (93.5). Stalzer also earned First Team All-Conference honors as a high school junior. Josh Scott, a 6’10″ forward from Monument, Colo., scored a state-high 799 points as a high school senior, averaging 28.5 points per game. This combination of experienced returners and new young talent should prove a more than adequate replacement for the graduating seniors.
3) The CU ski team almost won the national championship last year but barely missed out against the University of Vermont and the University of Utah. What are the Buffs’ chances to take home an NCAA title this year?
The Buffs return sophomore Nordic skier Rune Oedegaard, who took victory five times last season. Oedegaard did not ski to his potential at the NCAA Championship last year though, earning fifth and seventh in his events. Senior alpine skier Khyla Burrows will provide leadership on the women’s side this season, having recorded seven top-20 results in the giant slalom so far in her collegiate career. The Buffs women will struggle without graduated alpine skier Erika Ghent, who helped CU to its 2011 national championship and was named to the 2011 All-RMISA First Team. But the Buffs have a history of 18 national championships, the most of any of CU’s varsity sports, so a national title is always in the cards. The Buffs have until early March to prepare for NCAAs, and they just may bring home that 19th trophy.
Have a question to ask the CU Independent Sports Staff? Tweet your question to @cuindependent or email it to Tips@cuindependent.com and we’ll address it in the next CUI sports mailbag!
Contact CU Independent Sports Editors Caryn Maconi and Ryan Sterner at Caryn.firstname.lastname@example.org and Ryan.email@example.com.