The cancellation of Friday’s events due to poor weather made for a long and demanding final day at the NCAA outdoor track and field West Preliminaries on Saturday.
On the plus side for the Colorado Buffaloes, the athletes that advanced on Saturday will have ample opportunity to recover and regroup before the NCAA championships begin on June 9 in Eugene, Oregon.
Led by another standout meet from the Buffs’ women distance runners, CU advanced a total of seven athletes in four events during the final day of the preliminaries in College Station, Texas. The day was highlighted by a trio of women’s runners — Sage Hurta, Micaela Degenero, and Rachel McArthur — all placing within the top eight of the 1,500-meter run.
CU also advanced Eriana Henderson and Mead High School graduate Abbey Glynn in the women’s 400 hurdles, while Madie Boreman reached the NCAA finals in the women’s steeplechase for the first time since she was the national runner-up as a freshman in 2017. Ohio State transfer Abby Nichols also capped an impressive week by advancing in the women’s 5,000.
Hurta, the reigning one-mile indoor national champion, cruised to a win in the second heat of the 1,500, with her time of 4 minutes, 12.01 seconds ranking fourth overall. Degenero placed fourth in a fast opening heat and finished fifth overall at 4:12.36. The Buffs will be well-represented in the women’s 1,500 in Eugene after McArthur finished eighth overall with a personal-best time of 4:13.25.
Due to injuries and the cancellation of the 2020 season, Boreman had not reached the NCAA finals since her runner-up showing in 2017, but the senior punched her ticket on Saturday by placing eighth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:50.97).
Glynn, the freshman from Longmont, posted a personal-best time to advance in the women’s 400 hurdles. Glynn placed ninth overall with a time of 58.02 seconds while Henderson, a senior, was just a fraction behind, finishing 10th at 58.05.
Nichols already advanced to the national championships in the 10,000 on Thursday, and on Saturday she added a title berth in the 5,000 by winning the second heat and finishing second overall at 15:58.03.
“The women had a great weekend all the way around,” CU head coach Mark Wetmore said in a statement. “Everybody either made it through or ran better than their ranking. Eriana came in ranked 11th so had a good day to make it through but Abbey was a big excitement also getting through. Then Abby Nichols doubling back and running great, very good 5k/10k double for her. So yeah, the women had an excellent weekend.”
If there was any disappointment for the Buffs on Saturday, it was the overall showing in the men’s 5,000, as well as a frustrating fate in the men’s 1,600 relay. In the 5,000, Eduardo Herrera just missed advancing to the national championships, finishing 15th overall. Alec Hornecker finished 24th and John Dressel placed 30th. Dressel already advanced to the NCAA finals in the 10,000 on Wednesday.
In the men’s 1,600 relay, the team of Tyler Williams, Aaron McCoy, Ian Gilmore, and Ronald Sayles finished 12th overall with a time of 3:06.04. That mark was the second-best in the event in CU history, yet because the Buffs finished fifth in their heat, they were unable to secure an automatic berth in Eugene. Instead, CU fell .94 seconds behind Arkansas for the final at-large spot, while a Baylor team that finished just behind the Buffs (3:06.06) nabbed an automatic finals bid.
McCoy also finished 21st in the men’s 400 meter hurdles. Henderson and Glynn also had an opportunity to advance in the women’s 1,600 relay alongside teammates Tamia Badal and Jaida Drame, but the quartet finished 17th.
NCAA West Preliminaries
College Station, Texas
Colorado Saturday men’s results
400 hurdles — 21. Aaron McCoy, 53.26.
4 x 400 relay — 12. Colorado (Tyler Williams, Aaron McCoy, Ian Gilmore, Ronald Sayles), 3:06.04.
5,000 — 15. Eduardo Herrera, 14:01.69; 24. Alec Hornecker, 14:16.43; 30. John Dressel, 14:25.30.
Colorado Saturday women’s results
1,500 — 4. Sage Hurta, 4:12.01*; 5. Micaela Degenero, 4:12.36*; 8. Rachel McArthur, 4:13.25*.
3,000 steeplechase — 8. Madie Boreman, 9:50.97*; 36. Alisa Meraz-Fishbein, 10:37.07.
400 hurdles — 9. Abbey Glynn, 58.02*; 10. Eriana Henderson, 58.05*.
5,000 — 2. Abby Nichols, 15:58.03*; 28. Annie Hill, 16:39.13; 31. Kaitlyn Barthell, 16:43.76.
4 x 400 relay — 17. Colorado (Glynn, Henderson, Tamia Badal, Jaida Drame), 3:38.42.
*Qualified for NCAA Championships