LOUISVILLE, Ky, Sporting Alert – No. 1 teams New Mexico and Colorado will look to complete the season on a winning note when they hunt the women’s and men’s NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday (21).
Live Streaming from this final cross country meet of the season will be on NCAA.com with live and real-time team scores and results being provided by PrimeTiming.com. The women’s race will go off at Noon, while the men get going at 1:00 p.m.
LOOKING FOR THREE IN A ROW
On the men’s side, Colorado goes in search of a three-peat in Louisville, Kentucky, having won in 2013 and 2014 and the defending champions are fit and healthy heading into the battle.
The Buffaloes, who had 11 of the 12 first place votes in the last rankings, enter this weekend’s national championships as the favourites for the men’s title.
But with the likes of Syracuse, Stanford, the improving Oklahoma State, Michigan and BYU, all blessed with great talents, head CU’s coach Mark Wetmore remains cautious.
“I would say it’s fair that we are the (men’s) favorites, but I don’t think we are the prohibitive favorites,” Wetmore said.
“I think Syracuse is very good and Stanford is very, very good. Either one of those teams could beat us if they have a good day and we’re a little off.
“And there’s always some team that I don’t mention that has a great weekend, somebody that I overlook, that’s fired up.”
No. 2 Syracuse, which received the other first place vote, has been very impressive as well this season after winning the Wisconsin Adidas Invite and followed that up with the ACC and Northeast crowns.
Although they were beaten by a surging Washington side in the race for the West Regional crown, Stanford is expected to be fully rested and ready for this weekend, with Midwest and Big 12 champion Oklahoma State confident about challenging for the national crown as well.
HARD TO STOP THESE LADIES
Meanwhile, New Mexico is the overwhelming favourite to lift the women’s title, despite suffering a rare defeat to No. 2 Colorado at the NCAA Cross Country Mountain Regional in the last outing.
But it was evident the top-ranked Lobos clearly weren’t interested in pushing for a victory, as the intent was to secure a top two slot while saving as much energy as possible for the main event.
In fact, coach Joe Franklin opted to rest a few of his key runners with the intentions of having them fresh for Saturday.
“We told them specifically do not get on your toes, don’t sprint,” Franklin said on New Mexico’s official website at www.golobos.com.
“Save that for Saturday. Do not sprint, do not push, just enjoy the day.”
Colorado coach Wetmore believes his team will be one of the challengers for the women’s title, but even he knows it will take something extraordinary to beat this well-rounded No. 1 New Mexico setup.
“If I’m not mistaken, New Mexico held out two of their top seven runners (at regionals),” Wetmore said.
“Four of them ran quite easily side by side, talking, and another one ran fairly hard. They’re a very good team. They would have to have something go wrong for anyone to beat them.”
Arkansas, Providence, Oregon, Virginia, Oklahoma State and Michigan, among others, will all be gearing for top five spots and the Buffs want to be in that mix.
“If our women execute correctly and have a decent day, they’re second to fourth, something in there,” Wetmore said.