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Races thread - Cross Country at 2019 NCAA Mountain Regional (Salt Lake City, Utah; Friday, Nov. 15th; #8 Women- 11:00 AM MT start; #3 Men- Noon MT)

AztecBuff

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The Buff teams try to punch their tickets this Friday to the NCAA Championships with races at the Mountain Regions in Salt Lake City, UT (hosted by Utah). The women start their 6K race at 11:00 AM, while the men go up to 10K (from 8K) for the 1st time this season in their's, scheduled to start at noon MT. Best wishes to the women's and men's teams!

Hope they accomplish all the goals for Regionals, which I always assume is (1- of course) qualify for Nationals while (2) minimizing effort so that all the team members have as much left in the tank as possible for the NCAA Championships (which are only 8 days after regional) and (3) not have any injuries or illnesses going into the races or picking up any new ones.

My random notes-
  • 9 regional races will determine which 31 teams for each gender get selected for the Championships.
    • The top 2 finishing teams in each of the regions are the 18 auto-qualifiers.
    • The remaining 13 teams are "At-large" selections. Unlike the team sport selection process most of us are familiar with (with their selection committees), the at-large teams in cross country are selected almost totally on a mathematical calculation based on how many wins the next highest regional finishers have accumulated over the 18 auto-qualifiers, and any other teams that have earned at-large berths earlier in the process (with a few exceptions). (The wins over other all ready selected teams are called "Kolas points".)
    • The at-large calculation has quite a few rules. For those interested, here's what looks to me like a couple decent descriptions of the process and rules - http://www.ustfccca.org/meets-results/ncaa-championship-qualifying-criteria and https://www.thestridereport.com/understanding-kolas .
I'd guess it's been quite a few years since the men or women haven't finished in the Top 3. But just to give minimal requirements to advance this year- I believe 4th place finishes for either team will be enough to keep their qualifying totally"in their own hands" rather than having to have "help" from other schools in the involved mathematical process which is NCAA cross country qualifying. With the men ranked #2 in the region (although #3 BYU is considered very close in quality), and the women #3 (although probably very close in quality to #2 Utah and #4 New Mexico), a 4th place finish should be attainable for both teams with even just "decent" days. Should add with the strength of the Mountain region, most predictions I see have the women's-side having 6 teams coming out of the Mountain Region, so even a slightly lower than 4th finish won't be a killer for them. Only 4 men's teams are supposed to advance, but with their points, even if the men fell to 5th, I'd think with the # of Kolas points they'll probably have they might still make it.
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Regionals’ Links -

Host's (Utah) Regional's homepage - https://utahutes.com/sports/2019/10/7/2019-ncaa-mountain-region-championships.aspx

List of individual entries by team - Don't see a nice sorted list (By team) right now, but the race results available through links in the ”Live results” link below look to include preliminary entries (in name order). Looks like there are around 10 potential CU male runners and 9 women listed, of which only 7 for each gender can actually race on Friday.

Live Video (Only available for those with a premium ($) subscription to Flotrack/ Flosports) - https://www.flotrack.org/live/8860-2019-di-ncaa-mountain-xc-regional?utm_campaign=14063incaamountainx&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=ncaa.com&utm_content=website&rtid=14063&coverage_id=6255664

Live results - http://www.runnercard.com/results3/meet?meetId=7fb22a04-ad49-4268-b0be-a51baa339a20
 
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AztecBuff

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The official Mountain Regional preview has now been released-

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2019/11/12/cross-country-mountain-region-championships-next-for-cu-xc-teams.aspx

"
BOULDER — Colorado's cross country teams will travel to Salt Lake City for the NCAA Mountain Region Championship this Friday, November 15.

Utah will serve as this year's host at Rose Park Golf Course. The women's 6-kilometer race is scheduled first at 11 a.m. MT, while the men's 10k run is to follow at 12 p.m. MT. There will be a short awards ceremony following the conclusion of the races to honor the top-25 runners in each race with all-region honors.

The competition will be fierce at the meet. Five of the top 30 teams in the USTFCCCA Poll are in the men's race, while six of the top 30 will be competing in the women's field.

"It's a killer region," head coach Mark Wetmore said. "The top three teams in the country are in the men's race. Three or four of the top teams in the country are in the women's race. It's always a balancing act between getting through to the big race [NCAA's] without going too hard eight days prior. So we will all be tip-toeing, looking at each other, playing our cards close to our vests and trying to do the least."
...

Colorado has a tradition of doing well at this meet. The men have won it 21 times, while the women have taken home 15 titles, including five in the last six years.

Live scoring for the meet will be available at runnercard.com, while Flotrack will stream the event (a subscription is required).

The top two teams in each race automatically advance to nationals, while 13 other teams will be selected for at-large bids following all nine regional championships. The NCAA will announce those 13 teams during a selection show on Saturday, Nov. 16, starting at 3 p.m. MT. Fans can access the show at NCAA.com.

The NCAA Championship is Saturday, November 23, in Terre Haute, Ind., which has been the site for the event 12 of the last 16 years.
"
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Races notes - https://cubuffs.com/documents/2019/11/12//2019_XC_Regional_Notes.pdf

Note - At least as of now, weather looks like it's not supposed to be too bad (for the season) in SLC, as the 1st forecast I found shows Friday as being mostly cloudy, but with mild temperatures (H- 62 degrees, L- 36 degrees), relatively low (6 MPH) wind, and no precipitation anticipated.
 

AztecBuff

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Article on Buff senior leader, multiple-time All-American and, now, Pac 12 Champion Joe Klecker.

 

AztecBuff

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Looks like the women should be fine, as they finish 4th in spite of resting their assumed #2 racer (Scholl), as well as my favorite wildcard for Nationals (Boreman). Hope they are all healthy. (Like Scholl this year, Sage Hurta had a disappointing Pac 12's last season and was rested for Regionals. Hurta in 2018 then came back very strong to earn All-American status while being one of the five scorers on the Buffs' Championship team. Hopefully history will repeat itself.)


 

AztecBuff

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And the men's race is off.

With the Buff men not having the depth of the women (the men's top 5 are considered much stronger than their 6 & 7), but considered more of a challenger for a national championship, I could see them under-performing a little today vs. their #2 ranking as they try to conserve a little energy as they race the longer 10K distance for the 1st time this year before a quick turnaround with Nationals only 8 days away.

Will also be interesting if they dare rest any of their top 5, with freshman star Harrison being the most likely if they decide to do that.
 

AztecBuff

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Assuming the 1K splits are accurate, it looks like it is a couple seniors who may be getting rested today, Buff #2 senior leader Dressel, along with the big (veteran) surprise so far this season Hornicker. (Again, with news always at a premium in these sports, hopefully they are being rested, and not having any health issues.)
 
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AztecBuff

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Taking back one thing- I would have sworn I just saw Dressel on the stream, so as often happens, there may be an issue with the live splits.
 

AztecBuff

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At the finish, the Buff men are preliminarily showing as back a bit in still a VERY safe 3rd place, but it looks like the the Buffs' 1st finisher (5th overall) Dressel's chip never seemed to record, so they actually either finished a close 2nd or 3rd ahead of or behind BYU. (#1 ranked NAU lived up to their ranking with an easy win.)

It does look like Hornicker was rested, so hopefully he'll be ready for a strong effort at nationals. Props to redshirt frosh Gabe Fendel, who took over as the 5th finisher today, and finished a solid 17th.
 

AztecBuff

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Don't know if there's been anything changed in the last minute, but the last women's regional race, The West, has just completed. Per Flotrack's Kolas show, the Buff women are showing as the 4th (of 13) at large teams in based on the (Kolas) point system used. Therefore, they look to be very solidly into the Championships!
 

AztecBuff

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Article on today's races. (Hope Ms. Scholl's injury is minor so that she's ready, at minimum, for track season.) -

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2019/11/15/cross-country-men-finish-second-at-regionals-women-place-fourth.aspx

"
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The University of Colorado men's cross country team recorded a second-place finish on Friday afternoon at the NCAA Mountain Region Championship to earn their 28th straight trip to the NCAA Championships, coming up on Nov. 23, in Terre Haute, Ind.

The CU women finished fourth in their race and will have to wait to see if they have advanced. The NCAA announces the 31-team field on Saturday, Nov. 16.

The top two teams in each race receive an automatic berth, but Colorado Head Coach Mark Wetmore is quite optimistic the women will be joining the men in Terre Haute next Saturday.

"I'd be surprised if we don't advance," he said.

THE MEN'S RACE: With the top three teams in the nation racing against each other, No. 1 Northern Arizona, No. 2 BYU and No. 3 Colorado, it was going to be a race to the finish.

NAU placed all five of its scorers in the top nine, which included the first three finishers, to win the meet with 21 points. BYU and CU battled it out for second place and after the completion of the 10-kilometer race, the Buffs edged the Cougars, 53-56. This was the second meeting between the two teams as they raced against each other at NCAA Pre-Nationals where BYU defeated CU by two points (81-83).

The top three teams were in a league of their own as they were the only teams to finish with less than 100 points. Utah State placed fourth with 106 points.

"I was happy with the men," Wetmore said "Nobody had a real bad day."
...

THE WOMEN'S RACE:
The Buffs, who were ranked eighth nationally, ended up fourth behind No. 3 BYU (70), No. 10 New Mexico (83) and No. 15 Air Force (107). CU's 113 points helped it defeat No. 9 Utah (116), which had edged them twice this season.

In this stacked region, the Buffs' main goal was to advance to the NCAA Championship and given the points CU has collected this season, the Buffs should move on.
...

Missing from the results was senior Tabor Scholl. She suffered an injury during the race and was unable to finish.

"We're lucky," Wetmore said. "We have Annie, Rachel, Holly. Karina had a good day. Someone had to fill in when someone else went down. It was not a brilliant day for any of them but this is a hard race for us every year in the aspect that we kind of come in looking beyond it which is kind of dangerous. Now we have to rest up, focus up and get Tabor's injury well."

New Mexico's Weini Kelati won the individual title in 18:58.7, almost a full minute in front of her teammate, Ednuh Kurgat (19:55.9).

ALL-REGION: The top 25 individuals in each race were named to the All-Mountain Region Team. CU placed five men and three women on the team. Those men are: John Dressel, Kashon Harrison, Joe Klecker, Eduardo Herrera and Gabe Fendel. The women are: Sage Hurta, Rachel McArthur and Holly Bent.

NCAA SELECTION SHOW: The NCAA will announce the additional 13 teams for the NCAA Championships during a selection show on Saturday, Nov. 16. The show will be streamed online at NCAA.com starting at 3 p.m.

UP NEXT: The NCAA Championships are Saturday, November 23, in Terre Haute, Ind., at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. The women's race is first at 9:15 a.m. MT, while the men will race at 10:15 a.m. MT. More information is available at NCAA.com.
...
"
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Full results -
Women's - https://cubuffs.com/documents/2019/11/15//Womens_6K_Regional.PDF
Men's - https://cubuffs.com/documents/2019/11/15//Mens_10K_Regional.PDF

As noted above, looks like the formal announcement of the at-large teams will be announced "during a selection show on Saturday, Nov. 16. The show will be streamed online at NCAA.com starting at 3 p.m." (As I've mentioned, due to the mathematical nature of the cross country selection process, the women should be easily in based on teams they beat during the season.)
 
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