Discussion in 'University of Colorado News and Olympic Sports' started by AztecBuff, Aug 5, 2016.
1st off, here is the media day press conference.
Higher quality version of the same press conference in the above post.
Article based on today's media day press conference- http://www.cubuffs.com/news/2016/8/5/cross-country-keeps-expectations-high-in-2106.aspx
Not that these things necessarily mean too much, but looks like the coaches have put VERY good work in in the recruiting trail this past year, as Flotrack has ranked both CU's incoming men's and women's distance running classes as #3 in the country. (Men and women are ranked separately. Flotrack never says exactly what the rankings are for, but I'd assume it's distance running/ cross country only as there are no non-distance runners noted.)- http://www.flotrack.org/ranking/1332-2016-ncaa-recruiting-class-rankings
Note- Even having top classes like the Buffs have doesn't insure much in the Pac 12, as Stanford has the #1 ranked men's and women's classes, and Oregon (based mainly on top Colorado (Air Academy) and national high school runner Katie Rainsberger joining the Ducks) has the #2 ranked women's class.
Also, looks like the cross country team members are back in Boulder and now have started their pre-season training -
They apparently have a new uni as well (black shorts only)
A couple running websites have articles out with a preview (Runnerspace) and preseason rankings and preview (Flotrack) of the upcoming cross country season. So far, both have things of interest regarding the CU Men, which are linked to below. As always with EVERY sport, pre-season rankings, ratings and opinions usually aren't worth much, so I'm not taking them very seriously . They are mainly good (at least for me) to get to know the names of some of the potential contributors for the Buffs (and the opposition) throughout the season leading up to and through the NCAA championships.
(Note- Runnerspace hasn't released its overall NCAA women's preview yet, while Flotrack has been SLOWLY (one or so teams per day) releasing its top 31 women's and men's teams. Since I'd expect the Buff women to be projected a #1 or 2 team, their page probably won't be released by Flotrack for another 4-5 days. I'll add another post with info on the women's articles when Flotrack releases their (CU women's) preseason ranking.)
Again, back to the men- In general, it looks like both Flotrack and Runnerspace are predicting that the Buff men's team unbeaten streak at the Pac 12 championships will end (probably at the hands of Oregon and/ or Stanford), while any kind of podium finish at NCAA's will be at least a minor upset. Hope the "experts" are proven wrong on both counts!
1) From http://ncaaxcchampionships.runnerspace.com/eprofile.php?event_id=509&do=news&news_id=433393 , the paragraph of Runnerspace's overall national NCAA D1 cross country preview related to the Buffs;
Colorado lost four multi-time all-americans that won two consecutive NCAA cross country championships. Without them the Buffaloes still have one of the best 1-2 punches in the country in senior Ben Saarel and sophomore John Dressel. Saarel was sick early in the year and Coach Wetmore had hoped to redshirt him but realized he needed him at the end of the year. Saarel had been 7th as a freshman and 8th as a junior but dropped to 31st last year. Dressel came into the season as one of the top high school seniors and finished 26th at the national meet. There are several freshman (Nathan Pixler among many others) and redshirt freshmen (Joe Klecker) as well as returnees (Zach Perrin, Ryan Forsyth, Paul Miller and Ryan Peterman) and transfers (Luke Sheesley) that could help the team challenge for a trophy but it will be very difficult for them to repeat as Pac-12 champions.
2) Flotrack, at http://www.flotrack.org/article/45445-saucony-flo50-xc-countdown-6-colorado-men , just released its analysis and preseason ranking of the Buff men, who they have ranked #6. This article is all about the Buffs, so rather than quote parts of it, I recommend anyone interested just go to the article.
Got lazy, so haven't updated this thread with the women's pre-season look and rankings as I said I was going to do in my prior post, so am doing some now. Also, there have been some miscellaneous individual and team rankings later I'll also note below.
(Of course, pre-season rankings in all sports are HIGHLY suspect, so should be used for "entertainment purposes" and "taken with a grain of salt" and "worth the paper they're printed on" (and any other phrases anyone wants to add).)
Re the Women's team overall:
1) Runnerspace's preview paragraph about the Buffs. (From http://ncaaxcchampionships.runnerspace.com/eprofile.php?event_id=509&do=news&news_id=433636 . Their general tone is that the Buffs are favorites to be fighting it out with defending champion New Mexico)-
here are two very strong teams coming into this year. New Mexico and Colorado seem to be prepared for a tremendous battle at the NCAA meet. Both teams run very well at big meets and under coach Franklin (New Mexico) and coach Wetmore (Colorado) strategically control their energy expenditure during the season in order to peak for the biggest meets, conference and NCAA championships. Unless there are big changes in their line-ups, health issues, or unforeseen transfers that other top teams could benefit from we will likely see a procession and build-up to a great match-up at the NCAA meet between these two top teams. As we have seen in the past though health has played a big part.
The Buffaloes came into this season as a favorite with the bulk of their top runners returning. Senior Erin Clark was 11th last year (31st in 2014), junior Kaitlyn Benner was 16th, sophomore Dani Jones was 49th and junior Melanie Nun was 65th as Colorado returned four of their top five. Sophomore Val Constien was 136th and senior Carrie Verdon was 146th. Vernon had been dealing with injuries and had made her comeback last season and continued her development through the track season. If Colorado can make big improvements are keep a tight pack they can catch New Mexico which is possible with Mark Wetmore as their head coach. Annie Kelly redshirted last year after running 28th at Pre-Nationals, 19th and Pac-12s and 16th at regionals in 2014. Maddie Boreman is a freshman from Texas that was fourth at Nike XC Nationals. Makena Morley may be a sophomore this year or have to sit out after transfering from Montana where she was Big Sky champion, 8th in the Mountain region and 97th at the NCAA meet. Coach Wetmore has a large group of other transfers, redshirt freshmenn and true freshmen that could develop into contributors this season.
2) Flotrack.com has the Buffs ranked #1 in their estimates. The full article describing them can be found at http://www.flotrack.org/article/45642-saucony-flo50-xc-countdown-1-colorado-women . (Interestingly, they only had New Mexico ranked at #5, which seems low to my (admittedly VERY uneducated) eye.)
Re some other miscellaneous rankings-
Flotrack also, published pre-season Top 25 individual rankings for NCAA Division 1 men's (http://www.flotrack.org/ranking/135...for-history-begins-this-fall/2016-08-29/div-i ) and women's ( http://www.flotrack.org/ranking/135...y-favorite-heading-into-2016/2016-08-29/div-i ) rankings. In those rankings, Buffs Ben Saarel is ranked #7 and John Dressel #19 for the men, and Erin Clark #10 and Kaitlyn Benner #14 for the women.
They also, for the men, did a Top 17 list of top potential red-shirt freshmen who could help this year looking to be mainly based on their track times ( http://www.flotrack.org/ranking/1415-2016-redshirt-freshmen-xc-rankings ), and Buff Joe Klecker is #1 on that list.
There has only been one official Coaches' (USTFCCCA) Poll issued so far, and it looks to be a pre-season (8/30) one. In that, the Buff men are ranked #5 (http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/cross-country-men/d1 , behind, in order, defending champ Syracuse, Oregon, Northern Arizona and Stanford) and women #2 (http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/cross-country-women/d1 , behind only New Mexico).
Finally, A little scheduling trivia (in case anyone else has (like me) no life and has wondered). I was curious why the Buffs (and most if not all other programs), participated in their 1st races around September 2nd, but then aren't formally racing again until early October. I now have read somewhere the reason for those early races is that NCAA (???) rules require a team race a formal race within (I believe it was) ~28 days after they start their formal training, so need to race in early September to be compliant. (The Buffs at least raced most of their top runners in Fort Collins in the races on September 2nd, albeit in what was probably just a hard team training pace for them. Many other of the top teams didn't race any of their top runners in their races around the country.)
Separate names with a comma.