The women's DMR relay (distance medley relay) won their first national championship title in a dramatic fashion Friday night, March 10, at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas.
The DMR team of Tabor Scholl, Elissa Mann, Sage Hurta and Dani Jones broke the Buffs' record previously set in 2011. This DMR is also the first to advance head coach Mark Wetmore to the NCAA championships in his 25-plus years at CU.
The relay kicked off with with Scholl running 1,200 meters, who stayed in the middle of the field but got pushed back a little bit by other teams right before she passed the baton to Mann for her 400-meter run. Hurta ran a strong 800 meters holding steady before handing off the final leg to Jones, who closed out the relay with an incredible finish.
In the last 200 meters, Jones sprinted from third place past both Pac-12 foes Oregon and Stanford to cross the finish line .02 seconds ahead of the Stanford team to finish with a time of 11:00.34.
Wetmore said of the win, "Well, we honestly hoped to bring them here, and maybe finish in the top eight and earn a point or two and get some some All-American honors for some young folks.
"But, every woman ran what we were hoping for or a little better. The first three kept Dani close enough to the lead of the race that she could do what she does best, which is run smart and patient . . . Coming off the turn it was three Pac-12 schools with Dani in third, but she found another gear. Big win for us."
Sophomore Dani Jones turned in yet another incredible race on Saturday, March 11, winning the national title for the 3,000-meter race at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Jones clocked a 9:09.20 and took home her second national championship title of the weekend—as shown from Friday's final leg of the DMR, she has a lethal kick to the end of her races, and the 3,000 was no different.
Jones started off steady, settling into her pace and staying within the middle of the pack for most of the race. But with about 400 meters left, she started pushing her way into third, passing up Missouri's Karissa Schweizer (who won the 5,000 the day before) to win the title.
Olympic gold medalist Jenny (Barringer) Simpson was the last Buff to win the 3,000-meter indoor national title in 2009 when she clocked an 8:42.03, which is also the NCAA meet record. This win also makrs the first time a Colorado track athlete has won two Indoor Championship titles in the same year.
"Dani Jones was brilliant," head coach Mark Wetmore said of the win.
"She put herself in position and, just like [Friday] night, closed hard over the last 30 or 40 meters [of] the final turn for an unexpected and really exciting win."
The University of Colorado ski team finished second at the 64th annual NCAA Skiing Championship in Franconia, New Hampshire, which concluded on Saturday, March 11.
"Well it was a little surprise [to finish second] because we were sort of hanging on in third place," head coach Richard Rokos said.
Though CU went into the two Nordic freestyle races 42 points behind the defending national champion University of Denver, they managed to pull past them with 525 points to Denver's 524. University of Utah came in first place, overcoming both the Buffs and Pioneers with 541½ total points.
Ultimately, it was junior Petra Hyncicova's win in the15-kilometer freestyle race that pushed the Buffs ahead of Denver and into second place.
Hyncicova said, "I knew that I would win, because I was just so confident going into the last loop and I had so much energy left. When I saw [my teammates] cheering for me, saying, 'Be smart, be smart, be behind the girl,' I knew that I would wait for the last uphill and then I would try to take off, and I did it."
The 2017 wins mark the fifth time in school history that CU skiers have claimed four titles in the same NCAA championships.