This writer first became conscious of Dani Jones with her fine 1,500m PB at the PreClassic in the 1,500m win in the national race. Her fifth in Des Moines, Iowa at the US champs showed some real guts and fire. While watching her in the NCAA champs, I was emotionally drawn to her mother talking to the big screen showing Dani up front with Weini Kalati, Jessica Hull and Alicia Munson among others.
At 400 meters to go, Weini Kalati had made a sizable break in the NCAA Women’s Division 1 Cross Country Championships. The race had been hotly contested over 5500 of the 6000 meters. But, even with Dani Jones’ mother watching the big feed, cajoling her daughter to kick, it did not look the maternal dreams were going to become a reality.
Then, it happened.
The tradition of Colorado doing well at the NCAA cross country is long and proud. The instagrams from Kara Goucher and Jenny Simpson included below attest to the loyalty and affection of the alums toward their team. Dani Jones and her team mates felt that this week as the pressures built. Jones handled it well in her final XC race for the Buffaloes.
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#rp @karagoucher I absolutely loved running in the #ncaaxc Championships. All four years that I ran were such an amazing experience. In 2000 it all came together for me and my team and we walked away as team champs and I won the individual title. The first of many titles for The University of Colorado. But us women got it started!! Good luck to everyone running! And let’s #gobuffs!! I believe in all of you!!
About 300 meters to go, Dani Jones regained that 1,500 meter leg speed, (4:07.34 for 1,500m in National 1,500m at 2018 Pre Classic). So did training with Jenny Simpson, the U.S. finest global finisher over 1,500 meters since 2011. Jones started to move, and move she did. After not gaining on Kalati for a courple minutes, Jones’ muscle memory returned. Jones swept by Kalati, putting 2.5 seconds by the finish.
The 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championships are in the books, and your women’s champions are Dani Jones & the amazing Colorado Buffaloes.
Full recap and analysis of the Burrffs’ amazing 65-point performance here: https://t.co/pPD3RNrHE0
— LetsRun.com (@letsrundotcom)November 18, 2018
Dani Jones won the NCAA Division 1 Cross County title in 19:42.8, with Weini Kalati (New Mexico) in second in 19:45.8, and Jessica Hull (Oregon) in third in 19:50.4. Dani lead her Colorado team to an upset over Northern Arizona, 65-103, with Oregon in 160 points.
After the race, an ecstatic Dani Jones gave credit where credit is due. In an interview with Letsrun, Dani noted that Coaches Wetmore and Burroughs had reminded her to keep her cool, regain her energy and make a final move. Dani Jones let that 1,500m speed do the talking, and in a bit of snow, some wind and a below freezing temperature, the 2015 grad of Desert Vista HIgh School in Phoenix, and senior at Colorado, lead her team to victory, and took the individual victory in Madison, Wisconsin, on a proper cross country course in proper Midwestern weather.
To enjoy the results, please go to: https://www.tfrrs.org/results/xc/15036/NCAA_DI_Cross_Country_Championships#104707
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Shoulder to shoulder we will fight, fight, fight! â€¢ Woke up this morning and it wasn’t a dream. We’re national champions! THANK YOU CU and coaches, teammates and friends, trainers/therapists, and family. We are blessed beyond belief and overwhelmed with the amount of support we receive. 4 years in the making! We did it. PC: @danielpetty