This Saturday, the CSU Rams cross country teams will race in the Mountain Region Championships in one last effort to save their season. The race will be hosted in Fort Collins and will feature tough competition from teams like Texas Tech, Brigham Young, New Mexico and Colorado, among others.
Despite a rough season so far, the Rams still have hope in their last regular season race before postseason races. In the beginning of the season both teams ran well when they were close to home, finishing in first place in the first two races in the Wyoming Invitational and the Colorado State Classic, hosted in Fort Collins.
The hometown advantage may be a little less sure this weekend, as none of the runners have been on the course they are set to run before. The race will be held at the Collindale Golf Course, but if the CSU runners all race to the level that they expect of themselves then they will walk away from this weekend as winners.
“We want to make something of the season, we have one more chance for a good race,” said runner Allison Gohl. “We want to leave our hearts on the field.”
So far this season both the men’s and women’s teams have struggled to live up to their expectations. Last year, the women won both the conference and regional championships. Their success left them ranked No. 14 in the nation at the beginning of the season.
Since that time, a series of poor finishes has dropped the women to No. 9 in regional rankings. For the men, it’s a similar story. They fell back against tough competition in mid-season races against top teams in the country like Oregon and Northern Arizona. Their struggle has landed them at No. 10 in the Mountain Region.
“We haven’t had the year we want,” said head coach Bryan Berryhill. “But we can change all that in one race. It’s nice to have that race in Ft. Collins.”
In this weekend’s race the competition will be a challenge, as the team will be facing nationally ranked teams like No. 7 Northern Arizona and No. 11 BYU.
“We are in one of the top regions, it is always a challenge,” said junior Jeremy Freed. “But this is a challenge we are ready to face.”
The women will run at 11 a.m. in a 6-kilometer meet, and the men will run at 11:45 a.m. in their 10-kilometer race. The races will take place at Collindale Golf Course on the corner of Horsetooth and Lemay, east of Warren Park.
Cross country beat writer Scott Callahan can be reached at email@example.com.