The Colorado State men’s cross country team finished in ninth place overall at the NCAA Cross Country Championships for the second season in a row. For this years’ iteration, the championships were held at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country course.
Cole Rockhold, CSU’s five-time All-American runner, was forced to miss the event this year after going down with an injury two weeks prior to the event. Despite his loss, the team once again tallied a top-10 finish behind senior Eric Hamer’s performance.
He’s just got nerves of steel. Every time he lines up he gives his best performance and today was the best of all of them.Art Siemers
At the championships, the Rams scored 309 points compared to 318 points in their 2017 season; however, both seasons finished with CSU in ninth place. Hamer earned All-American honors with a time of 29:38:2 and 18th place in the 10k. Hamer’s finish was the seventh best by any Ram in the program’s history.
“He’s just got nerves of steel. Every time he lines up he gives his best performance and today was the best of all of them,” coach Art Siemers said.
Fellow senior Carson Hume finished 41st with a time of 30:00:0, which was one place shy of qualifying for an All-American accolade as well.
Along with Hamer and Hume in the top 100, junior Forrest Barton was the third-ranked scorer and finished 87th with a time of 30:32:9. Sophomore Jacob Brueckman was the next ranked scorer with a time of 30:48:4 and finishing in 118th, just behind was freshman Maximilliano Martinez finishing in 121st place with a time of 30:49:9.
During the race, the top-five scorers for CSU had a strong finish in the final 4k of the championship competition. Barton was in 157th place after the first mile, but he made ground by surpassing 41 spots and he reaching an 87th place position. Brueckman and Martinez covered ground as well by 23 and 24 spots, respectively.
The teams’ finishes beat out No. 10 Boise State, No. 11 North Carolina State and No. 12 Wyoming.
“Our goal is to keep getting better each year and not take a step back, so there was a lot of pressure on them to back up that ninth-place finish from last year, but the guys just stepped up,” Siemers said.
The Rams that improved were Hamer who finished 90th, Hume who was 111th and redshirt senior Trent Powell who finished 175th at last season’s NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Hamer’s All-American finish this year was the first of his collegiate career and bested all other Rams’ athletes outside of Jefferson Abbey in 2015 with a 13th-place finish.
Jess Boxrud can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jessica_boxrud.