RIVERDALE, Utah — University of Colorado senior Shalaya Kipp recorded her second straight runner-up finish at the NCAA Mountain Region Cross Country Championships on Friday, leading the No. 10 CU women’s team to a first-place finish and an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.
The top-ranked CU men also punched their ticket to the NCAA meet with a second-place finish, finishing just eight points behind Northern Arizona (61-69).
Kipp placed second at the 2012 regional meet, helping the Buffs to a third-place finish that season; but this year the women were able to take home the team crown over the No. 8 New Mexico Lobos (29-64). The score is the best CU has recorded at a regional meet since 1994 when they put together 26 points for the victory. This is also the 12th time CU has won this meet.
The CU women didn’t just win regionals; they dominated the race by placing all seven of their runners in the top 15. Kipp finished the 6-kilometer course in 20:31.0. She was just 1.7 seconds behind UNM’s Sammy Silva, who crossed the finish first in 20:29.3.
Just behind Kipp was sophomore Carrie Verdon, who was the fourth overall finisher in 20:39.3. CU’s freshman duo of Erin Clark and Melanie Nun were the fifth and sixth harriers, respectively. Clark crossed the finish in 20:39.4, just a spilt second behind Verdon, while Nun recorded a time of 20:44.3.
The final scorer for the Buffs was graduate student Abby Levene, She was 12th overall and finished in 20:51.9. The top five women were only separated by 20.9 seconds and all finished within 22.6 seconds of Silva.
The Buffs, like most teams at the meet, ran seven and those two remaining runners did very well. Senior Liz Tremblay earned her best finish ever at the regional meet, finishing 14th in 20:57.9, while redshirt sophomore Jenny DeSouchet, who ran in her first regional meet, came away with a 15th-place finish in 20:58.1.
All seven of CU’s runners were awarded all-region team honors following the meet as the top 25 runners garner that honor.
“The women ran very well today and we were very pleased with their performances,” assistant coach Billy Nelson said. “From the first scorer to our seventh runner, they did exactly what they needed to do and even exceeded our expectations.”
The CU men earned their fourth runner-up finish in five year at regionals with a score of 69 points, 10 more than the No. 11 New Mexico team which put together 79 points.
Sophomore Pierce Murphy led the Buffs with a fifth-place performance, his first time ever leading the team. He crossed the finish in 29:46.0. This time around the men were running a 10k course, compared to an 8k course in the three meets prior.
Freshman Ben Saarel was second for the Buffs and placed seventh overall in 29:46.4. The next two finishers were sophomore Connor Winter and junior Morgan Pearson. Winter came across 15th overall in 29:51.1 and Pearson was the 16th place finisher in 29:53.4. CU’s final scorer was junior Blake Theroux. He was 26th overall in 30:07.4. CU’s five scorers all crossed the finish within 21.4 seconds of each other.
“The men did what they needed to do to advance, which was to finish in the top two,” Nelson said. “They ran a very smart race today, but now it’s time to go back to work and prepare for nationals in just eight days.”
CU’s other two runners were sophomore Ammar Moussa and senior Dillon Shije. Moussa was 27th (30:08.4) and Shije was 75th (31:42.6).
The Buffs will head to Terre Haute, Ind. for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23. Indiana State will host the meet at the La Vern Gibson Championships Cross Country Course. This will be the CU women’s 21st appearance at the NCAA meet in the last 22 seasons and it’s the 22nd straight appearance for the men.
2013 NCAA MOUNTAIN REGION CHAMPIONSHIP
Scheiter’s Golf Course (Riverdale, Utah)
MEN’S 10K TEAM SCORES
1. Northern Arizona, 61; 2. Colorado, 69; 3. New Mexico, 79; 4. BYU, 109; 5. Air Force, 144; 6. Colorado State, 153; 7. Southern Utah, 195; 8. Wyoming, 226; 9. Montana State, 238; 10. UTEP, 252; 11. Utah State, 292; 12. Texas Tech, 292; 13. Utah Valley, 351; 14. Weber State, 398; 15. Idaho State, 439; 16. Montana, 453; 17. New Mexico State, 525.
MEN’S FINISHERS (Top 10):
1. Kennedy Kithuka, TTU, 29:23.6; 2. Anthony Rotich, UTEP, 29:39.5; 4. Futsum Zienasellassie, NAU, 29:45.2; 4. Jared Ward, BYU, 29:45.6; 5. Pierce Murphy, CU, 29:46.0; 6. Luke Caldwell, UNM, 29:46.1; 7. Ben Saarel, CU, 29:46.4; 8. Adam Bitchell, UNM, 29:47.2; 9. Matt McElroy, NAU, 29:48.8; 10. Josh Hardin, NAU, 29:49.0.
Other CU Finishers: 15. Connor Winter, 29:51.1; 16. Morgan Pearson, 29:53.4; 26. Blake Theroux, 30:07.4; 27. Ammar Moussa, 30:08.0; 75. Dillon Shije, 31:42.6.
WOMEN’S 6K TEAM SCORES
1. Colorado, 29; 2. New Mexico, 64; 3. BYU, 109; 4. Weber Statse, 160; 5. Air Force, 185; 6. Northern Arizona, 188; 7. Montana State, 209; 8. Utah, 214; 9. Neveda, 253; 10. Colorado State, 302; 11. Utah State, 318; 12. Southern Utah, 326; 13. Wyoming, 338; 14. Texas Tech 354; 15. Montana 397; 16. Idaho State, 432; 17. Northern Colorado, 447; 18. Utah Valley, 453; 19. New Mexico State, 20. UTEP, 640.
WOMEN’S FINISHERS (Top 25):
1. Sammy Silva, UMN, 20:29.3; 2. Shalaya Kipp, CU, 20:31.0; 3. Charlotte Arter, UNM, 20:34.8; 4. Carrie Verdon, CU, 20:39.3; 5. Erin Clark, CU, 20:39.4; 6. Melanie Nun, CU, 20:44.3; 7. Heather Dermorest, MSU, 20:44.7; 8. Summer Harper, WSU, 20:45.5; 9. Andrea Harrison, BYU, 20:47.1; 10. Rebekah Winterton, UU, 20:49.3.
Other CU Finishers: 12. Abby Levene, 20:51.9; 14. Liz Tremblay, 20:57.9; 15. Jenny DeSouchet, 20:58.1.