BOULDER ó University of Colorado senior Jenny Barringer broke yet another record as she set a Buffalo Ranch Cross Country Course 5.8-kilometer record of 19 minutes, 25 seconds, at the 24th Annual Rocky Mountain Shootout on Saturday.
Not to be outdone on the men’s side, Colorado senior Kenyon Neuman won the men’s 8k race. He finished the course in 24:51 to tie the 11th best time in course history. CU took home top team honors in both genders as well to mark the 11th straight year both won the team title. The women won with 15 points while the men recorded 16 points.
Barringer’s time broke the previous record held by Kara Grgas-Wheeler who ran the course in 19:38 in 2000 at both the Rocky Mountain Shootout and the Big 12 Championship. Barringer also became only the second female to ever finish the race in less than 20 minutes.
As she did many times on the track, Barringer had to start out strong from the gun and take the race into her own hands. It didn’t take her long to get a lead on the pack and then it was a race against the clock.
“A couple of days ago I sat down with my coaches and we decided that I was going to go for the course record,” Barringer explained. “That was a tall order because it’s a really difficult course record, Kara is a real incredible athlete and she was incredible when she was here. I knew it was going to take a formidable effort. I was really happy to get out here and do it. I started out hard from the gun because that was what I had to if I was going after the record. Then, I brought it in strong so I’m really happy with how it went.”
This was also Barringer’s final race in Boulder as a Buff. She returned to Colorado after an outstanding track and field season where she set six collegiate and seven CU records as well as the American record in the steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships where she placed fifth overall.
“There were definitely some sentimental parts to the race,” Barringer said. “Knowing that I’m running on our home course and wearing our school uniform, and this is the last time a lot of people in Boulder will be able to see me race. It was exciting to get the green light from my coaches to be able to go after the course record. Every time I headed west, I’d get this beautiful view of the Flatirons on a nice, sunny day. It was a picture-perfect capstone to my training and career here in Boulder.”
Colorado Head Coach Mark Wetmore was very happy with the performance by Barringer and noted this was her first cross country race in almost two years since she redshirted the 2008 season.
“It wasn’t our original plan to have her run hard the whole way, but I started thinking if I tell her to run 92 percent, and she runs 19:50, she’s going to be really mad at me,” he said. “We just said go out and have fun and run on the edge, and this is what happens.
“She’s taken very nice progression steps over the last couple of years. She hasn’t really hammered anything yet; we control her well with training and a heart rate monitor. We have reason to believe she’ll get better.”
The women’s race started off the day and the No. 21 ranked Buffs looked much better than their ranking with many harriers making huge improvements in their times. True freshman Allie McLaughlin ran the course like an elder would and finished with the eighth best time in course history at 20:22. In doing so, she became the second fastest freshman to finish the very challenging course. Sara (Gorton) Slattery finished in 20:07 in 2000 and was also a true freshman.
“It felt really good,” McLaughlin said. “Coach Wetmore had me try something a little different than what I’m used to and not booking it out the first mile and then dying during the last stretch. I really tried to slow down on that first mile and I felt I did a good job. I felt really good at the end, like I had a lot of strength. Once I learn the style, I’ll be able to go a lot faster.”
Wetmore was very pleased with McLaughlin’s race as it was such a strong debut for a freshman, but he was also not surprised that she did so well.
“Our observation of Allie in her recruiting process is she tended to be a little impetuous,” Wetmore said. “So we’re trying to hold her back and assigning her to stay with teammates, but they can tell between their respirations and her respirations in practice that she has a couple of sprints in her.”
Sophomore Emma Coburn and senior Emily Hanenburg placed third and fourth, respectively, in the team scoring. Coburn crossed the finish in 20:57, cutting 15 seconds from her 2008 mark of 22:13. Hanenburg finished in 21:22 and shaved 30 second off her personal course record of 21:52, which she set in 2008. Hanenburg was fifth individual to finish the race as CU’s Laura Tremblay was fourth with a time of 21:01 but was racing unattached in the meet.
Junior Allison Sawyer completed the Buffs’ score by placing fifth in the team scoring (seventh overall) with a time of 21:38, also a personal best. Sophomore Katie Cumming was the sixth Buff to finish the race. She ran a mark of 21:43 to surpass her previous PR of 22:33.
Barringer was very pleased with the performance from all of her teammates.
“I’ve gotten a sneak peak at Allie's (McLaughlin) fitness and her abilities, so I’m very excited about her performance,” Barringer said. “I’m not surprised at all that she raced so well today. She’s been doing great in practice and great on every single assignment she’s been given so far.
“I was impressed with some of the other women on the team as well. I was excited to see Emma (Coburn) do as well as she did. She raced the steeplechase at NCAA’s last year and it’s really taken a lot both in fitness and mentally as an athlete for her. Emily Hanenburg, this is her last year as a collegian like me, so it’s exciting to see her rounding out the team as well.”
Despite being ranked No. 21 in the most recent USTFCCCA rankings, the Buffs are excited about making some waves as their season kicks into high gear.
“We’re going to come back as a team,” Barringer said. “We’ll be one of the most improved teams in the country in the last year. We’re going to make a run for the podium. I’m really excited; I would not have come back if this was just going to be all about me. This is about the team and I’m really excited to see the effort this team will make to try to make the podium at the NCAA’s.”
“We’re ranked 21st and I think the big reason we’re ranked is partly because of Jenny coming back,” McLaughlin added. “I don’t think anyone knows what’s coming; we’re going to keep training and take each race step-by-step.”
The No. 6 Colorado men’s team looked just as strong as the women. Neuman’s 11th fastest time at Buffalo Ranch Course was followed-up by a strong performance from senior Jordan Kyle at 24:57, which is the 17th best time ever run on the course. Kyle was not wearing a CU jersey, so his points didn’t count for the Buffs in the team title, but it was a very good performance just the same. Neuman and Kyle will look to be a strong 1-2 for the Buffs as the season progresses.
“I think we looked really good, we don’t even have all of our best guys running,” Neuman said. “Everyone’s doing a good job of making sure they stay healthy and stay fit. It was good to run with everyone and have such a dominating performance.”
Neuman was in the front of the pack from the very beginning, as were Kyle and junior Matt Tebo. This victory was his first Rocky Mountain Shootout title and the second first-place collegiate win of his career.
“I was definitely looking to win it,” Neuman said. “There are three guys on our team, maybe more, that could challenge for it so I knew it’d be hard. I wanted to make sure I was relaxed through the first three miles or so and I think I did a good job of that. Two of my teammates kicked out a little faster than I expected. I was just trying to be cautious and stay relaxed.”
Tebo finished third overall (second in the team scoring) with a time of 25:01. That mark ties for 19th in course history. This is the best race Tebo has had at the Buffalo Ranch Course and he improved by 42 seconds. He ran 25:43 his freshman year and then three seconds slower (25:48) his sophomore season. Tebo accredits the improvement to an extra year of training.
“Mark’s program is built on years and years of solid work; then finally one day after feeling like crap for two years, you have a good race,” he said.
Tebo was happy with his ability to finish the race strong and hold off those closing in on him.
“Nobody blew by me in the past 400 meters, which is always a struggle for me,” he said.
Junior Richard Medina was the third Buff to score and finished fourth over with a time of 25:01. Sophomore Christian Thompson took fifth (fourth in team scoring) at 25:16 and sophomore Andy Wacker rounded out the team score by placing eight overall (sixth in team scoring) with a time of 25:50.
With all said and done, the men’s team looks to be in good shape this season. Last year they finished a disappointing 12th at the NCAA Championship, which motivated them to work harder in the offseason.
“I think we’re a lot better off,” Tebo said. “Last summer, we didn’t have anyone out here training. I was at home the entire summer. We were all out here this summer training and good run after good run started to happen.”
“It’s a whole different team this year,” Neuman said. “I came in hurt last year and didn’t even run this race. I was training and it was hard because I’m not used to struggling to hang with some of the guys I was struggling to hang with. Richard (Medina) had some things that were bugging him and came in a little late. We just weren’t in great shape and had a lot of injury stuff. OSU (Oklahoma State) was really good and they’re good this year, but we have a tough team. I feel pretty confident, I’m happy with the team we have.”
Overall Wetmore was pleased with the performance on the course today.
“I’m very happy with the way the men ran,” he said. “Twenty-five minutes is a real hard run on this course, only a handful of guys have done it. Again, they’re really just in the foundational phase of their training. Even the guys behind them had pretty nice times. Some of it can be attributed to a pretty nice day; I’ve seen it hotter out here.”
The next meet on Colorado’s schedule is the Fort Hays Invite in Hays, Kan. on Saturday, October 10. After that meet, the varsity squad will really test their abilities against some of the best in the country at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Meet on October 17 before heading to the Big 12 Championship on Saturday, October 31 in Columbia, Mo.
24th Annual Rocky Mountain Shootout
MEN’S 8K DIVISION I TEAM SCORES
1.Colorado, 16; 2. Wyoming, 53; 3. Northern Colorado, 85; 4. Air Force, 91.
MEN’S 8K NON-DIVISION I TEAM SCORES
1. Garden City CC, 34; 2. Metro State, 37; 3. Black Hills State, 67; 4. Gillette College, 148; 5. South Dakota Mines, 151; 6. Rocky Mountain College, 173; 7. Colorado Christian, 185; 8. Montana State Billings, 196; 9. Regis, 242; 10. Denver Club, 295.
WOMEN’S 5.8K DIVISION I TEAM SCORES
1.Colorado, 15; 2. Wyoming, 56; 3. Northern Colorado, 77; 4. Air Force, 82.
WOMEN’S 5.8K NON-DIVISION I TEAM SCORES
1. Mesa State, 33; 2. Metro State, 62; 3. Black Hills State, 79; 4. Montana State Billings, 110; 5. Regis, 119; 6. Rocky Mountain College, 177; 7. Gillette College, 178; 8. CSU Pueblo, 234; 9. Denver Club, 255; 10. Colorado Christian, 262; 11. GCCC, 280.
MEN’S FINISHERS (Top 15):
1. Kenyon Neuman, CU, 24:51; 2. Jordan Kyle, UNA, 24:57; 3. Matthew Tebo, CU, 25:01; 4. Richard Medina, CU, 25:09; 5. Christian Thompson, CU, 25:16; 6. Lee Troop, UNA, 25:27; 7. Greg Miller, WYO, 25:46; 8. Andrew Wacker, WYO, 25:50; 9. Gabe Proctor, GCCC, 25:51; 10. Cameron Clayton, CU, 25:59; 10. Mohamed Noor, GCCC, 25:59; 12. Martin Medina, CU, 26:00; 13. Bradley Croker, UNA, 26:06; 14. Jason Delaney, UNA, 26:06; 15. Aric Holmes, UNA, 26:25.
Other CU Finishers: 18. Aric Van Halen, 26:34; 41. Steven Kasica, 27:39; 59. Matthew Biegner, 28:08.
WOMEN’S FINISHERS (Top 15):
1. Jennifer Barringer, CU, 19:25; 2. Allison McLaughlin, CU, 20:22; 3. Emma Coburn, CU, 20:57; 4. Laura Tremblay, UNA, 21:01; 5. Emily Hanenburg, CU, 21:22; 6. Kelsey Jones, UNA, 21:36; 7. Allison Sawyer, CU, 21:38; 8. Alexis Skarda, MesSC, 21:43; 8. Catherine Cumming, CU, 21:43; 10. Shalaya Kipp, UNA, 21:50; 11. Lisa Thomas, UNA, 21:51; 12. Danielle Kehoe, MetSC, 21:59; 13. Wendy O’Lexey, BHS, 22:01; 14. Melody Fairchild, UNA, 22:17; Kelsey Follett, MesSC, 22:21.
Other CU Finishers: 51. Megan Burrell, 23:57; 55. Brooke Regan, 24:11.
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