COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Colorado senior Jenny Barringer won the individual crown at the 2009 Big 12 Cross Country Championship on Saturday morning, while the CU men’s and women’s teams each took second place.
The No. 3 ranked CU women’s team record 52 points while the fourth-ranked CU men’s team recorded 56 points. No. 14 Texas Tech won the women’s title with 38 points and No. 3 Oklahoma State was the men’s winner with 24; both for the second straight year. This also marked the second consecutive year the Buffalo men were second as they finished behind OSU in 2008. The women improved from last year’s fifth-place finish.
Barringer took off from the gun, running up the first of many hills, and never looked back as she captured her first conference cross country title.
“She was cruising and had a huge smile on her face,” Colorado Head Coach Mark Wetmore said. “It was an easy run for her and she was having fun the whole way. She had a lot of family and friends here supporting her and she put on a good show.
“We are happy she finally had the opportunity to win this. She would have had one or two other good opportunities to win this had it not been for one of the greatest cross country runners in the history of the NCAA, Sally Kipyego of Texas Tech. This one was hers today and I could tell that she really enjoyed it.”
Barringer had been the runner-up the previous three tries in 2005, 06 and 07. The Oviedo, Fla., native redshirted the 2008 season. Barringer became the first Buff to win the title since 2005 when Christine Bolf was the Big 12 Champion and she was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. She is the ninth overall female to win the honor.
“This took me five years,” Barringer said. “It took me three years of college to get to the Olympics (3,000-meter steeplechase), and five years of cross country to get to the Big 12 Championship. It means a lot and it means a lot that I came back with a really strong team. This is absolutely the most fun race I’ve had in college so far. It was a really fun day.”
In total, this is just her fourth Big 12 individual title. She has won three on the track (two steeplechase and one indoor mile).
Barringer ran the 6-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 27.46 seconds. At the midway point of the race, she had a full 15 second lead on the chase pack, which included CU freshman Allie McLaughlin. The course, despite being held on a golf course, was very challenging with all of the hills, as well as the muddy conditions from the rain from the past few days in Missouri.
“The course is really hard, it’s really hilly, it’s a mess of turns and hills and mud,” Barringer said. “Actually, that’s perfect for a cross country runner. I felt like the course really suited me as long as I kind of settled in and didn’t go out too hard. I tried to settle in during the last 2K. I just had a lot of fun; it was really, really fun.”
McLaughlin also had an exciting race for the Buffaloes. She was in the front pack for the entire race and with 300 meters remaining; she passed Iowa State’s Lisa Koll, who had been considered one of Barringer’s top competitors for the individual title. McLaughlin recorded a mark of 21:13.36 and Koll was third at 21:17.45. With the finish, McLaughlin became the first Buff to be honored as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year since Barringer earned the honor in 2005.
“We expect Allie will be very high up in any race she enters,” Wetmore said. “We were a little concerned about this race because she seemed to have a little relapse of a cold that she had had for 10 days to two weeks. But she executed her race plan excellently and let the race unfold without fighting it and found herself contending for second up the big hill. We are very proud of her.”
Junior Laura Thweatt was the third CU harrier to cross the finish and recorded a 12th-place finish, which is the best conference finish in her career. She ran the course in 21:52.84. Freshman Laura Tremblay took 15th with a time of 22:06.39. In doing so, both earned their first All-Big 12 honor as the top 15 are named to the team.
Sophomore Emma Coburn rounded out CU’s score with a 22nd-place finish (22:20.36). She improved from a 27th-place finish in 2008.
Texas Tech’s top individual was Lillian Badaru, who came in fourth. Her teammates followed in fifth, seventh, ninth and 13th to earn the win over the Buffs.
“We knew that the Texas Tech women’s team was vastly underrated,” Wetmore said. “They had not raced in any of the big venues. They ran an excellent race today and we were not going to beat them today.”
On the men’s side, the top four finishers were Cowboys as OSU got all five of its scorers across the finish in the top 14. Colorado had all five scorers finish in the top 15.
The first Buffalo to cross the line was senior Kenyon Neuman. He was seventh with a time of 25:10.33 on the 8k course. Christian Thompson, who led the Buffs at pre-nats, earned his first top-10 finish by placing ninth (25:18.83). He was 29th in 2008.
“I wanted to improve on my finish from last year and I did that,” Thompson said. “I felt really good and it feels really nice to contribute to the team. I was really happy with this since this is one of the top conferences in the country; it was really nice to have the performance I had.”
Junior Richard Medina and sophomore Andy Wacker were 12th and 13th, respectively. Medina ran a time of 25:22.72 while Wacker ran a time of 25:25.03 to earn his first all-conference honor. Senior Jordan Kyle rounded out the men’s score with a 15th-place finish to record his second straight All-Big 12 honor.
“There isn’t any way for me to review the race plan and pretend that we could have won today,” Wetmore said. “Oklahoma State is an excellent team and nearly shut us out. We can run better than we did but we weren’t beating OSU on this course today.
“Christian has had two wonderful races in a row. He has trained soundly over the last 11 months. Andy Wacker had another good run and we had a nice showing from our two redshirt freshmen Joe Bosshard and Aric Van Halen. We are a good team and we can run a little better. We are looking forward to the regionals and NCAAs.”
The next meet for Colorado is the NCAA Mountain Region Championship on Saturday, November 14, in Albuquerque, N.M.
2009 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
A.L Gustin Golf Course (Columbia, Mo.)
MEN’S 8K TEAM SCORES
1. Oklahoma State, 24; 2. Colorado, 56; 3. Oklahoma, 75; 4. Iowa State, 107; 5. Texas, 132; 6. Texas A&M, 171; 7. Nebraska, 199; 8. Kansas, 237; 8. Missouri, 237; 10. Texas Tech, 278; 11. Baylor, 282; 12. Kansas State, 354.
MEN’S FINISHERS (Top 15):
1. Ryan Vail, OSU, 24:50.67; 2. John Kosgei, OSU, 24:52.26; 3. Colby Lowe, OSU, 24:55.25; 4. German Fernandez, OSU, 24:57.83; 5. Guor Marial, ISU, 25:04.82; 6. Kevin Schwab, OU, 25:08.32; 7. Kenyon Neuman, 25:10.33; 8. Hillary Bor, ISU, 25:18.52; 9. Christian Thompson, 25:18.83; 10. Bill Kogel, OU, 25:20.65; 11. Robert Sorrell, OU, 25:22.12; 12. Richard Medina, 25:22.72; 13. Andy Wacker, 25:25.03; 14. Girma Mecheso, OSU, 25:30.53; 15. Jordan Kyle, 25:31.90.
Other CU Finishers: 19. Joe Bosshard, 25:36.92; 21. Aric Van Halen,25:42.22; 32. Matt Tebo, 25:53.65; 54. Martin Medina, 26:25.14
WOMEN’S 6K TEAM SCORES
1. Texas Tech, 38; 2. Colorado, 52; 3. Iowa State, 85; 4. Nebraska, 143; 5. Kansas, 160; 6. Kansas State, 170; 7. Baylor, 174; 8. Texas, 210; 9. Missouri, 212; 10. Oklahoma State, 224; 11. Texas A&M, 243; 12. Oklahoma, 340.
Women’s Finishers (Top 15)
1. Jenny Barringer, 20:27.46; 2. Allie McLaughlin, 21:13.36; 3. Lisa Koll, ISU, 21:17.45; 4. Lillian Badaru, TTU, 21:22.35; 5. Purity Biwott, TTU, 21:34.83; 6. Beverly Ramos, KSU, 21:24.79; 7. Gladys Kipsang, TTU, 21:41.51; 8. Erin Bedell, BU, 21:44.91; 9. Caroline Karunde, TTU, 21:46.51; 10. Lauren Bonds, KU, 21:46.52; 11. Kaitie Vanatta, MU, 21:48.31; 12. Laura Thweatt, 21:52.84; 13. Winrose Karunde, TTU, 21:56.41’ 14. Sydney Messick, KSU, 21:59.60; 15. Laura Tremblay, 22:06.39.
Other CU Finishers: 22. Emma Coburn, 22:20.36; 29. Emily Hanenburg, 22:36.87; 33. Katie Cumming, 22:39.67; 44. Allison Sawyer, 23:00.77