Written by  in Front PageSports on Oct 2, 2011 4:37 / comments

The Colorado cross-country team looks fit for a winning season.

On Saturday morning at the Rocky Mountain Shootout, Colorado senior Richard Medina and sophomore Shalaya Kipp battled hills and heat to take first in their respective races, leading the Buffs to the men’s and women’s overall team victories.

The Shootout, hosted at Buffalo Ranch on CU’s South Campus in Boulder, featured a 5.8k race for women and an 8k race for men.

Kipp started out fast in the women’s race and continued to build her lead, finishing far ahead of the pack in 20:29. Her time was the 10th-fastest in course history, tied with teammate junior Laura Tremblay, who ran the same time last year.

Kipp said she didn’t realize how wide her gap on the rest of the competition was until the race was over.

“It didn’t feel like I had a huge lead because there were fast girls behind me,” Kipp said.

While second and third place went to unattached runners Kristen McGlynn and Rachel Gioscia-Ryan, CU freshman Rachel Baptista came in fourth. Though she was running unattached, she will race with the Buffs later this season.

The second CU jersey to cross the line was junior Lara Darco in fifth place with a time of 21:15, followed by sophomore Camille Logan (21:19) and senior Katie Cumming (21:26) in sixth and seventh, respectively. Sophomore Diana George also scored for the Buffs, finishing 11th with a time of 22:17.

Four other CU women finished in the top 20 including sophomore Staci Foster, junior Courtney Bouchet, junior Liz Tremblay and sophomore Kelly King.

Kipp said she was thrilled to see seven or eight girls finish as fast as the top four from last year, and Darco said her team’s depth helps everyone run faster.

“We got to run it together,” Darco said. “We have a great group. It’s wonderful … to always be pulling each other when someone has a bad day and someone has a good day.”

Head Coach Mark Wetmore said he wasn’t completely satisfied with the performance of the women’s team but that he knows they will improve with more rest.

“Frankly, I would say the women were a little behind what coach Burroughs and I were shooting for,” Wetmore said. “I think we need to rest more.”

Nevertheless, the Colorado women claimed the team title, earning 16 points (1-2-3-4-6) to defeat runner-up Wyoming with 49. In third place was Air Force, followed by Northern Colorado and Nebraska-Omaha.

In the men’s 8k race, fifth-year senior Richard Medina ran the 4th-fastest time in course history in 25:29. He trailed teammate senior Andy Wacker at the beginning of the race, overtaking him about 3.5 miles in to claim the title.

Wacker finished second in 25:00, running the 22nd-fastest time in course history.

“I’m not really satisfied or dissatisfied,” Wacker said. “We’re all battling it out as equals, so you never know who’s going to be the top guy.”

Medina, who redshirted last season and has not run the Rocky Mountain Shootout course in years, said he felt blessed to have had the chance to run it to a victory.

“I was really looking forward to this race after this big block of training,” Medina said. “Today I wanted to put a really hard effort in the middle … instead of just leaving it down to the last little bit.”

The men’s team also showed its depth by finishing ten runners in the top 20. The third finisher for CU was senior Christian Thompson, who ran the course in 25:20. In fourth place with a time of 25:32 was junior Martin Medina, the winner’s younger brother.

The men’s combined performances were good enough for the team title. Placing 1-2-3-4-5, they earned 15 points, ahead of runner-up Wyoming had 52 points. Air Force and Northern Colorado placed third and fourth, respectively.

Wetmore said he was pleased with the effort he saw from the men’s side.

“It was a very, very nice run for Richard … [especially because] he’s inexperienced on this course,” Wetmore said. “Andy was a little bit impetuous. But his training has been great and he’s just bursting to race because he hasn’t raced since June, and I think he was just a little optimistic earlier.”

The CU men are currently ranked 7th in the national polls, while the women are ranked 4th.

Both teams will race next on Oct. 16 at the NCAA Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Indiana. There, they will get a chance to test run the course that will later serve as the NCAA Championship course in November.

Photo credit:  CU Independent/Lee Pruitt

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Caryn Maconi at Caryn.maconi@colorado.edu.