The start of the 2013 University of Colorado track and field season will once again kick off with the Buffs hosting the Potts Indoor Invitational, January 18-19, at Balch Fieldhouse. The complete schedule is available at CUBuffs.com. It will be CU's only home meet during the indoor season but CU will also host a pair of outdoor meets, the Jerry Quiller Classic, March 15-16, and the Colorado Invitational, April 12-13.
Below is a preview of things to come during the 2013 season.
Colorado continues to be one of the top distance programs in the country under the direction of head coach Mark Wetmore and associate head coach Heather Burroughs. The men's team is fresh off of a third-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championship and won its second straight Pac-12 title in 2012.
The men return two decorated athletes in seniors Joe Bosshard and Richard Medina. Bosshard redshirted the entire 2012 season, while Medina has only outdoor eligibility remaining. Bosshard is a five-time All-American, twice in cross country, twice in the 10k and once in the 5k. Medina returns for his sixth year after receiving a medical hardship last spring. He was a 2012 outdoor 5k All-American as well as a 2011 All-American in cross country. Both should make a big impact for the Buffs this season.
They aren't the only two, as the Buffs had three All-Americans on the cross country course last fall: junior Jake Hurysz, sophomore Blake Theroux and senior Aric Van Halen. Van Halen has also recorded All-American honors on the track. Last season he was 10th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase finals at NCAAs.
The depth runs very deep for the men. Hugh Dowdy and Martin Medina have scored for the Buffs at the conference level. Dowdy was fourth in the steeplechase at Pac-12s, while Medina placed eighth in the 10k at the same meet. This past fall Pierce Murphy recorded All-Pac-12 honors on the cross country course and will be one to watch.
CU's women have the nation's top 1-2 punch in the steeplechase, returning a pair of Olympians in seniors Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp. Coburn redshirted the entire 2012 season to prepare for the Olympic Games where she would place ninth in the finals as the top American, and Kipp competed in the prelims. Coburn won the 2011 NCAA steeplechase title and Kipp took the crown in 2012. They are not just steeplechasers. Coburn is one of CU's top milers and will be one of the best collegiate runners this season. Kipp has been very successful in the longer distances during the indoor season, typically leaning towards the 3k or 5k.
There are several other women who will look to help CU in the team score. Senior Camille Logan has scored in the 10k, but has also shown talent in the 1,500. Redshirt freshman Rachel Baptista did well for CU during the 2011 cross country season and should add some points for the Buffs.
Coaches Wetmore and Burroughs have a talented group of middle distance runners as well. Matthew Biegner, a senior, has been improving as his career advances. He currently ranks ninth on CU's indoor 800-meter run performers list. Bieger placed sixth for the Buffs at the MPSF Championships in the 800 last season and just missed scoring at the Pac-12 Championships with a ninth-place finish. Sophomore Connor Winter will be in the mix as well and looks to play in important part in CU's success in the middle distances. Hurysz will be able to do double-duty, running both distance and middle distances. Freshman Joe Mitchem will join the group and should be in the mix come conference meet time.
The women also look quite strong in the middle distances. Senior Elizabeth Tremblay will once again lead CU as she ranks second on CU's indoor 800-meter performers list and is third on the outdoor 800 list. Senior Staci Foster will be looking to contribute to the team; she scored for the Buffs two years ago at the indoor conference meet. Sophomore Catrina McAlister has been showing steady improvement and looks to add points to the Buffs' score this year. Colorado also has a pair of newcomers that should make an immediate impact. Freshman Carrie Verdon was a decorated miler out of high school and sophomore Jenny DeSouchet, a transfer from Columbia University, also had a solid high school background. Both won several state championships and will be valuable additions.
Assistant coach Lindsey Malone is in her sixth year at the helm of the combined events and jumps program and has a very talented and experienced group of athletes this year. The men's side has a pair of juniors to lead the way. Jason DeWitt and Brock Emory have each redshirted a season and in their fourth year at CU look to make an impact in the team scores. DeWitt was very close to scoring points for CU in 2012 as he was 11th at MSPFs and 13th at Pac-12s. Sophomore Mark Jones focused last season on the high jump and earned a spot quickly in CU's record books. Indoors, he ranks fifth all time and in the outdoor book, he is seventh.
The women's team has a great deal of depth, starting with three seniors: Brianne Beemer, Alyssa Frank and Holly Odneal. Beemer has seen a great deal of success for the Buffs; she was third at MPSFs in the pentathlon and took fourth at Pac-12s in the heptathlon. Junior Genny Mayden led CU in the heptathlon at Pac-12s last season by placing third overall and sophomore Brittany Lewis added points to the team score at MSPFs in the pentathlon with a seventh-place finish.
Frank advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary Championships last season in the high jump and tied for fourth at Pac-12s. Sophomore Kelsey English was just out of scoring for CU in the high jump at 11th and also competed at the preliminary championships.
Assistant coach Drew Morano is in his fourth season at the helm of the Buffalo sprinters. Two-time All-American Joe Morris will enter his senior season as the top sprinter. He also owns the CU record in the 60-meter dash. Morris scored for the Buffs at MSPFs in the 60, 200 and the 4x400-meter relay and also picked up points at the Pac-12 Championships in the 100 and 200. His teammates senior Kyle MacIntosh, juniors Tyler Baker, Blake Berens, Shaw Gifford and Blake Reimer and Erik Gayton will help the event area pick up additional points for the team.
The women are young, but very talented. Sophomore Eileen Gehring made an immediate impact on the team, setting the CU outdoor 400-meter record in 54.21 second. She is right on the cusp of picking up points for CU. Joining Gehring in the sprints are fellow sophomores Lindsy Mattson and Bridget Sweeney, along with junior Lindsey Hubbard. Freshman Mia Holland will also be in the mix for the Buffs.
Two-time Olympian and two-time U.S. Discus Champion Casey Malone will lead the Buff throwers for the 13th season. His men's team is small, but the quality of his team will speak volumes. Senior Cameron Hutchins has been making large strides and is on the verge of scoring for the Buffs in a competitive throwing conference as he took 11th in the hammer throw at Pac-12s. Junior Alex Kizirian had a breakout season in 2012 and now ranks second all-time for the Buffs in the weight throw. He earned a sixth-place finish in the event at the MPSF Championships and also picked up points for the Buffs outdoors in the hammer throw, also sixth. Brady Rutt, a sophomore, led the Buffs last season in the discus, placing fifth for CU in the event at Pac-12s. Senior Brian Owens will rejoin the team during the outdoor season in the javelin.
The women will be led by senior Emily Hunsucker, who is the second best CU performer in the hammer throw and the fourth best CU performer in the weight throw. Juniors Kajsa Bank and Kellie Lind and sophomore Sophie Hallam-Eames will add a lot of depth to the women's side.
THE MEET SCHEDULE
CU officially kicks off the indoor season at the Potts Indoor Invitational and will stay on the Front Range for most of the indoor season. A group of athletes will compete at a pair of meets at the University of Washington and some will compete at the New Mexico Classic.
Washington will host the 2013 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in Seattle, Wash., February 22-23. The following weekend CU will send athletes to a variety of last chance meets to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championship, March 8-9, in Fayetteville, Ark.
As soon as the indoor season is over, the Buffs will switch gears to the outdoor campaign, hosting their first of two meets at Potts Field, CU will host the Jerry Quiller Classic, formerly known as the Potts Invitational, March 15-16. The second home meet is the Colorado Invitational, set for April 12-13.
As usual, CU will compete at several meets along the Front Range in Fort Collins, Colo. and at the Air Force Academy. The Buffs won't just stay regional as several athletes will have the opportunity to compete at a pair of meets at Stanford and the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays.
USC will host the Pac-12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The combined events portion of the meet will be contested May 4-5, while all other event areas will compete May 11-12. Texas will host the NCAA West Preliminary Championships, May 23-25, at Mike A. Myers Stadium. The 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championship is June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore. and the U.S. Track & Field Championships will be June 19-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.