TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Colorado entered the weekend as the overwhelming favourites and Mark Wetmore’s side held its head to win the 2014 NCAA National Cross Country Championships men’s title in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday.
And they did it in style as well, as their top three runners — Ammar Moussa (5th), Ben Saarel (7th) and Blake Theroux (9th) — all finished in the top 10 of the 10-kilometers race.
Before the championships, Wetmore said he doesn’t think his squad was “an unbeatable team,” but maybe he was just playing mind games.
The Buffaloes tallied a team total score of 65 points, which was the lowest winning standings since Wisconsin took home the 2005 crown with 37 points.
So what did he say after such a dominant performance.
“This is probably our best team ever,” Wetmore said. “Again, I had the team that came here with Jorge [Torres] who won and the team that followed it and great other individuals who were followed by good teams but not winners.
“Certainly, this is the best third, fourth and fifth we’ve ever had and certainly I think it’s the best team score that we’ve ever had. So, they are real good and they belong in the pantheon.
“It’s is hard to be the favorites, it’s so hard to have the attention. It’s so hard for nine or ten 21-year-old men to keep their egos in check and they really did it.
“They were talking each other up the whole time. I think any one of would have sacrificed his day to have a bad day if it would have meant six good days for his teammates. So, that’s the biggest feeling I have. Pride, not for me but pride for them.”
It was the first time Wetmore was winning back-to-back titles in his lengthy spell in charge at Colorado, who was claiming its fifth NCAA men’s title.
“Repeating is special,” Wetmore was quoted as saying after the win.
“It’s new. I’ve been at CU 20-something years and we’ve had a lot of big moments.
“Sometimes people ask me what’s the biggest moment and I can’t answer. It’s always fun to do something you haven’t done before.”
Second place went to Stanford with 98 points and Portland was third with 175 points.
The individual 10k title was won by defending champion Edward Cheserek, a sophomore from Oregon in 30:19.4. He also led home senior teammate Eric Jenkins, as the pair grabbed “the first 1-2 finish for any program in 25 years.”
MEN’S TEAM TOP-10 10K RESULTS (of 31 teams):
1. Colorado, 65; 2. Stanford, 98; 3. Portland, 175; 4. Northern Arizona, 188; 5. Syracuse, 206; 6. Oregon, 221; 7. Villanova, 230; 8. Iona, 270; 9. Oklahoma State, 296; 10. Wisconsin, 335
MEN’S TOP-10 INDIVIDUAL FINISHERS:
1. Edward Cheserek, UO, 30:19.4; 2. Eric Jenkins, UO, 30:23.2; 3. Futsum Zienasellassie, Northern Arizona, 30:25.3; 4. Maksim Korolev; Stanford, 30:29.5; 5. Ammar Moussa, CU, 32:39.6; 6. Stanley Kebenei, 30:30.1; 7. Ben Saarel, CU, 30:30.7; 8. John Mascari; Indiana State, 30:31.3; 9. Blake Theroux, CU, 30:31.7; 10. Malachy Schrobilgen, Wisconsin, 30:32.6.