In the biggest race of the season, on cross country’s biggest stage, the running Rams of CSU men’s cross country failed to perform.
For the second consecutive year the team left the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., with a feeling of unfinished business and unmet expectations.
Though the Rams looked to finish in the top 15, they could only muster a 27th place finish, accumulating 592 points in the process.
“We’re real disappointed,” said junior Bill Michel, who finished 216th overall with a time of 32 minutes, 35.4 seconds on the 10-kilometer course. “We just stunk the place up.”
Running in his last race as a member of CSU cross county, senior Raegan Robb led the way for the team finishing 118th overall with a time of 31:17.
Following Robb were junior Austin Vigil (138th overall, 31:29.1), freshman Josh Glaab (140, 31:31.5), seniors Dylan Olchin (141, 31:31.5) and Ammon Larsen (209, 32:26.7), Michel and Freshman Matt Cainciulli (228, 32:56.8).
With all team members healthy and mentally ready to run, Michel said there was no concrete reason for the team’s lack-luster performance.
“We were ready mentally, but we just blew up,” Michel said. “We just didn’t run well and can’t say why.”
As for the race itself, it was Colorado senior Jorge Torres who took the men’s crown running a blistering 29:04.7 while becoming the second runner from the United States to win the race in a decade. Former CU runner Adam Goucher was the other, accomplishing the feat in 1998.
Stanford won the men’s overall team title placing four of its top five runners in the top 10 and crushing the competition by accumulating the lowest amount of points with 47.
Wisconsin finished a distant second with 107 points and Eastern Michigan finished third with 165 points on the strength of 2001 champion Boaz Cheboiywo’s seventh place finish.
The race was tight to the finish as Torres used a last minute kick to distance himself from South African Allistar Cragg of Arkansas, who finished second with a time of 29:06.
“I had the strength and courage to go out and do it,” Torres said. “I told myself no one was going to take it away from me.”
Stanford’s Grant Robison finished third in 29:36.9 and Australian Mark Tucker of Butler came in fourth at 29:37.5.
The women’s race was similar to last season, as defending champion Brigham Young took the team women’s title outdistancing Stanford 85-113.
Shalane Flanagan, a junior from North Carolina, won the women’s individual title by a large margin, finishing the 6k course at 19:36.
Yale’s Kate O’Neill finished a distant second with a time of 19:45.9 while Alicia Craig and Lauren Fleshman of Stanford finished third and fourth at 19:48 and 19:48.3, respectively.
Competing without her teammates for the first time this season, CSU junior Katie Yemm finished 196th with a time of 22:04.1.
Following the disappointing race, Michel said the Rams are turning their focus to the indoor track and field season where they look to defend their conference championship.
“It was a big disappointment, but we can’t dwell on it,” Michel said. “We’ve just got to move on and work harder for the indoor and outdoor seasons.”
For the Rams that time can’t come soon enough.