BOULDER - The University of Colorado cross country teams are ready to defend their titles at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships on Saturday, October 27 at the Robinson Ranch Golf Course in Santa Clarita, Calif. Admission is free to the public.
The women will start the day at 10:40 a.m. MT with the 6-kilometer run and the men will run the 8k at 11:40 a.m. A short awards presentation will follow at 12:45 p.m.
Colorado's teams are both ranked in the USTFCCCA Coaches Poll heading into the championships. The men are currently ranked second overall; their highest ranking since 2007, and the women are ranked 21st.
Both CU teams won the inaugural Pac-12 titles in 2011, which were the first two Pac-12 Championships in any sport. The men defeated Stanford 46-53 and the women topped Washington 50-73.
Defending their titles won't be easy. Although the men are ranked second in the nation, Stanford is third. Oregon is also a top-10 team at eighth. No. 15 UCLA is the fourth and last Pac-12 men's team ranked in the poll. On the women's side there are six teams ranked in the top 30. Oregon is the top team at third, Stanford is fourth, Arizona is fifth and Washington weighs in at sixth. Behind the 21st ranked Buffs is No. 24 UCLA.
The CU men have been led this season by junior transfer Jake Hurysz. Hurysz started the season by winning the Rocky Mountain Shootout with the fourth fastest time in course history and followed it up with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Pre-National Invitational.
The men have a lot of depth again this season, most of which are underclassmen. Sophomore Blake Theroux has been CU's No. 2 runner this season; placing second at the Rocky Mountain Shootout and 11th at pre-nats. Senior Martin Medina was third at the shootout and then took 23rd at pre-nats as CU's No. 5 runner. Sophomore Hugh Dowdy was the third harrier for the Buffs at pre-nats, finishing 12th. Redshirt freshman Pierce Murphy has been the No. 4 harrier in both meets this season for CU. He was fourth at the shootout and took 22nd at pre-nats.
The Buffs won pre-nats in dominate style. They recorded 79 points in the win to defeat then-No. 3 BYU by 55 points. CU finished 4-11-12-22-23 to record its team score, but also had the 27th and 35th-place finishers. CU would have defeated BYU even without its 22nd and 23rd place finishers since the sixth and seventh runners finished so high.
The depth goes even further for the Buffs with senior Aric Van Halen was 27th at pre-nats and redshirt freshman Connor Winter placed 35th.
The women are led by junior and two-time All-American Shalaya Kipp. Kipp ran her first race since the Olympic Games at pre-nats, placing 21st overall. The women tied for seventh at the meet.
Freshman Carrie Verdon has been a great addition to CU's varsity squad. She won the shootout and placed 37th at pre-nationals. Sophomore Jana Stolting, who is also in her first season for CU, has been the third scorer in both meets for the Buffs. She was 55th at pre-nats after placing seventh at the shootout.
Juniors Rachel Viger and Camille Logan, along with senior Courtney Bouchet have also scored this year for the Buffs. Viger was 66th at pre-nats, Logan placed 113th and Bouchet took 94th overall. Senior Lara Darco was a scorer for CU last season and made her season debut with a 107th-place finish at pre-nats as CU's seventh runner.
The championships will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network Nov. 5-8. Please check your local listings for the channel and time.
Following the conference championships, both rosters will be cut to seven over the next couple of weeks before the NCAA Mountain Region Championships, November 9, in Fort Collins, Colo., and the NCAA Championships, November 17, in Louisville, Ky.
2012 PAC-12 CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday, October 27
Robinson Ranch Golf Course (Santa Clarita, Calif.)
10:40 a.m. (MST) Women's 6k
11:40 a.m. (MST) Men's 8k
12:45 p.m. (MST) Awards Ceremony