BOULDER — Colorado Head Cross Country Coach Mark Wetmore has been bringing his teams to the NCAA meet since he took over the reins on November 6, 1995.
A few weeks later, his women’s team finished as the runner-up, while the men placed fourth. Fast-forward to March 2021. After a season unlike one before that saw half of the nation run in the fall, while the other half, including CU and the rest of the Pac-12, began racing after the calendar switched to the year 2021. Yet still, this is the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championship and Wetmore is returning to nationals with both the men’s and women’s teams, his 49th and 50th teams to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
While Wetmore has been a constant at these championships, this year the races will be held on the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Oklahoma for the first time in NCAA history as the Cowboys of Oklahoma State host the meet on March 15. In accordance with COVID-19 protocols, spectators will not be permitted to attend the NCAA Cross Country Championships
“Stillwater has a beautiful, purposeful, built course; hilly, difficult,” Wetmore said. “Good for us, particularly if the weather forecasted for Boulder works its way to Stillwater by Monday.”
The women’s race will be first and like they do all season, they will run a 6-kilometer course. The gun will sound at 10:50 a.m. MT. The men will follow with a 10k race, moving up from their 8k run, with an 11:40 a.m. MT start. Both races will be televised live on ESPNU and the ESPN App with coverage beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The Buffaloes are also known as being a top-10 program and this year is no different. The women enter nationals as the No. 6 team in the USTFCCCA Poll, while the men are ranked eighth.
“We’re going into the NCAAs ranked eighth for the men and sixth for the women and honestly those are pretty optimistic rankings for us,” Wetmore said. “We’ll have to run well to equal those. I like to go the NCAA and outrun our ranking but those are pretty fair.”
Racing has been limited this season. CU ran its first race in Tallahassee, Fla., the FSU Winter Cross Country Classic on Feb. 4, before competing at the Battle Born Collegiate Cross Country Challenge on Feb. 19 in Las Vegas. The women won at FSU, while the men ended up third there after losing the tie-breaker to Iowa State. At the Battle Born Challenge, the men placed third again, and this time the women were fifth.
The third time the Buffaloes toed the line was for the Pac-12 Championships on March 5, which saw CU record a runner-up finishes in the men’s and women’s races.
Colorado did have one Pac-12 Champion though as senior Eduardo Herrera became the second straight CU male to win the individual title, finishing in 22:30.9. He defeated the runner-up by 11 seconds and was named the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week for his performance.
Herrera has been running well all season, leading CU at every meet. He was second at the FSU Classic and placed third at the Battle Born Challenge. He seems to be refocused this season and when asked about NCAAs following his Pac-12 win, said, “I’m confident. I know I can give them a fight. I’m willing to do it. I’m not scared, but those guys are strong. Those guys are tough. They’re on a different level and I feel like I can give them a little challenge.”
He won’t have to do it on his own. Alec Hornecker has been a solid No. 2 for the Buffs this season and the duo are CU’s returning All-Americans. Finishing behind those two at conference were (in order): Austin Vancil, Ethan Powell, Hunter Appleton, Paxton Smith, Jace Aschbrenner, Josh Torres and Caleb Niednagel, although only eight will travel to Stillwater and only seven will race.
This season Rachel McArthur has led the Buffs in both races she’s competed in, placing fifth at the FSU Classic and Pac-12s. Abby Nichols was the top performer for CU at the Battle Born Challenge, where she placed eighth and she also took eighth at Pac-12s. Other scorers for the Buffs this season have been Madie Boreman, Micaela Degenero, Elizabeth Constien and Emily Covert. Others who could line-up at NCAAs for CU include Camille Jackson and Annie Hill.
The forecast for March 15 in Stillwater, Okla., is currently mostly sunny with a high of 63 degrees. But before race day, there is heavy rain/thunderstorms predicted for Saturday and Sunday.
2020 NCAA DIVISION I CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIP
Monday, March 15
Stillwater, Okla. (OSU Cross Country Course)
10:50 a.m. (MT) – Women’s 6k Race
11:40 a.m. (MT) – Men’s 10k Race
APP: ESPN APP
Beavers Set to Race at 2021 NCAA Cross Country National ChampionshipsCORVALLIS, Ore. – The 23rd-ranked Oregon State cross country team will run at the 2021 NCAA Cross Country National Championships on Monday, Mar. 15.
The event will take place in Stillwater, Okla. at the OSU Cross Country Course. Live coverage will begin at 9:30 am (PT) on ESPNU, followed by the women’s 6k race starting at 9:50 am.
Oregon State was selected as one of 31 teams to this year’s championships. A full list of participating teams can be found below.
Fans can watch the race on television on ESPNU or stream the race here. Live stats can be found here.
HISTORICALLY AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
This will be Oregon State’s second appearance at the NCAA championships, the last coming in 2018 when they finished 27th.
BEAVERS IN 2021
OSU last raced on Feb. 5 at the Oregon Cross Country Open, finishing in third-place with 48 points and beating host Oregon. Kaylee Mitchell took second with a time of 16:51.2 and Meagen Lowe claimed 10th in a time of 17:14.7.
The Beavers claimed the best program finish in the Pac-12 Championships on Mar. 5, taking fourth with 100 team points. Kaylee Mitchell was the top finisher for Oregon State as she finished seventh in a time of 19:39.4.
Greta Van Calcar
Haley Wolf (Alternate)
Full List of Women’s Team Qualifiers (Alphabetically, National Ranking)
Boise State (10)
Colorado State (RV)
Florida State (18)
Georgia Tech (15)
Iowa State (24)
Michigan State (7)
NC State (5)
New Mexico (3)
North Carolina (RV)
Northern Arizona (9)
Oklahoma State (22)
Ole Miss (26)
Oregon State (23)
San Francisco (27)
West Virginia (27)
Follow Us on Social
For more information on the Oregon State women’s cross country team, visit OSUBeavers.com or follow the team’s official Twitter account at Twitter.com/BeaverTFXC, on Facebook at Facebook.com/BeaverTFXC, or on Instagram at Instagram.com/BeaverTFXC.
Oregon State Athletics strives to Build Excellent Authentic Visonary Student-Athletes (Go BEAVS).