Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Alissa Noe at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @crazysportgirl1.
For the second straight time this season, the University of Colorado cross country program swept the competition, first in last week’s Pac-12 Championships and now in the NCAA Mountain Region competition. The No. 1 men’s team won, unsurprisingly, by a large margin while the No. 2 women’s team upset No. 1 New Mexico to steal the title last Friday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Colorado’s performance marked the second year in a row that the men and women swept the regional competition after the women defeated New Mexico last year and the men took down Northern Arizona.
The women ran strong on Friday with six finishers in the top 25, led by sophomore Kaitlyn Benner (20:55.86 time) and junior Erin Clark (20:56.06), who finished second and third, respectively. Without their high placements, the women would not have stunned the top-ranked Lobos, who only placed second by one point, 49-50.
It came as no surprise when the men, who have sat at the top of the national rankings all season, decimated the competition by 10 points in their final race before nationals. Despite the increased distance for the men from eight kilometers earlier in the season to 10 kilometers at regionals, Colorado placed five runners in the top 20, with seniors Pierce Murphy (30:06.14 time) and Morgan Pearson (30:06.36) leading the way at the seventh and eighth spots.
Next, the Buffs will face competition in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, Nov. 21 in the hopes of capping off their incredible season with another sweep of the National Championships. While the men are the outright favorites, the women may need to step up their game to edge out New Mexico and the rest of the competition yet again.