BOULDER — The University of Colorado track and field team is prepped for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Indoor Track & Field Championships Friday and Saturday, February 28-March 1, in Seattle, Wash.
The University of Washington will host the championships at Dempsey Indoor, the site of many of the nation’s top indoor meets. Admission is free.
CU is sending a strong group of men and women this year. As usual, the Buffs have some of the top distance runners, not only in the conference, but in the nation. True freshman Ben Saarel ranks second in the league in the 3,000 after running the second best time by a Buff a couple of weeks ago (7:52.61) and his time ranks sixth in the NCAA. Blake Theroux is fourth in the conference (7:54.76) and 12th in the country.
A couple other Buffs are listed in the MPSF’s top 10. Jake Hurysz is eighth after running 7:59.89 and Connor Winter is 10th (8:02.70).
The men’s 5k is another strong area for CU. Joe Bosshard recorded the fourth fastest time in the league this season at 13:43.21, the ninth fastest in the NCAA and Pierce Murphy ranks sixth in the MPSF (13:56.37).
On the women’s side, Shalaya Kipp has the highest ranking for the Buffs at third in the 5k with a time of 16:00.15. She is currently ranked 14th in the NCAA. Abby Levene is fifth in the league in the 5k (16:03.94) and Carrie Verdon has the best time for CU in the 3k at 9:18.11, which is sixth in the league.
Eileen Gehring is the top female sprinter for the Buffs. She will more than likely race in the 400 (54.69) and 200-meter (24.66) dashes and ranks eighth and 23rd, respectively, in the league. Gehring should also be a part of the 4x400-meter relay. Lindsy Mattson is another strong 400 (55.14) runner for the Buffs as she is 11th in the league.
On the men’s side, Shaw Gifford has the best times for CU in the 60 (6.78) and 200 (21.60), ranking fifth and sixth, respectively in the MPSF. Jaron Thomas is 10th in the MPSF standings in the 60-hurdles (8.18).
The Buffs have three combined event athletes listed in the top 10 of the conference as well. Jason DeWitt, CU’s only heptathlete, is 10th after recording a score of 5,021 earlier this season. Brittany Lewis and Abrianna Torres are third and seventh, respectively, in the pentathlon. Lewis put together a score of 3,738 and Torres recorded 3,613 points this season.
The Buffs are also high on the list in the MPSF in the high jump. Junior Mark Jones and Kelsey English are CU’s top athletes in the event. Jones ranks 15th in the NCAA and is second in the league with a mark of 7-2.25, while English is third in the conference after recording a personal record of 5-10.75.
The throwers will be led by Alex Kizirian and Emily Hunsucker and both will be competing in the weight throw. Kizirian is second in the league and ranks 15th in the NCAA with his school record of 68-4.50. Hunsucker is eighth in the conference with a PR of 57-9.
The first event of the meet is the women’s weight throw on Friday at 12 p.m. (PT). The pentathlon will start at 12:15 p.m. and the heptathlon will begin at 2 p.m. The first prelims on the track, the women’s 60-meter hurdles, will start at 4:30 p.m. Saturday’s events will start at 10:30 a.m. with the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles, women’s shot put and women’s high jump. The championship is set to conclude at 2:40 p.m. with the men’s 4x400-meter relay.
Live stats can be found at http://www.gohuskies.com/fls/30200/trackresults/022814/index.htm. Flotrack will also be streaming the meet live but a subscription is required.
The Buffs are competing in the MPSF for indoor track and field as the Pac-12 Conference does not sponsor an indoor track and field championship. In total, 11 of the 12 Pac-12 schools are members of the MPSF for the indoor championships (only Oregon State), although USC is only a member on the women’s side. The Buffs are joined by several other western schools as there are 17 schools in the MPSF.
After the league meet, the NCAA will announce the field for the NCAA Indoor Championships, which are set for March 14-15. The University of New Mexico will host the meet in Albuquerque, N.M. at the Albuquerque Convention Center.