It’s one meet down and four to go for the Rams of CSU men’s and women’s track and field teams.
The teams’ travel to Laramie, Wyo., this weekend to compete in Saturday’s Robert Shine Invitational.
The Rams will be looking repeat last weekend’s success when, at the Air Force Invitational in Colorado Springs, both teams won the meet with 109 points for the men and 183 for the women.
Leading the way for the Rams in that victory was junior thrower Loree Smith, who was named the Mountain West Conference Athlete of the Week.
At Air Force, Smith won both the shot put and the weight throw events, qualifying for provisionally for the NCAA Indoor Championship meet in both events.
Smith threw a personal best 53-5 in the shot put, missing former Ram Liz Toman’s record of 53-8 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches while recording a toss of 63-2 1/4 in the weight throw.
“Loree is coming off an all-conference outdoor season and she has worked hard this off season to improve on last year,” said throws coach Brian Bedard.
Though 109 points was enough for the men’s team to win in Air Force, head coach Del Hessel said there are still several areas they could improve.
“We had two jumpers jump over seven feet at our intrasquad meet,” he said. “(At Air Force) we had one guy no height and even though Jacob (Benson) won, it was not his best meet. You hate to lose points like that.”
Hessel quickly added, however, that he is not overly concerned with team’s performance and believes it is heading in the right direction.
For the women the challenge will be improving upon a meet in which they outscored second place Wyoming by 92 points (183-71).
“We are really coming together,” said junior Katie Yemm, who is coming off an all-American 2002 outdoor season. “People are taking care of themselves and we’re working hard.”
The team will again look to Smith, senior Hannah Metzler and company to garner points in the field events, while sophomores Katrice Thomas (400 meters) and Becky Hammit (800 meters) take care of business on the track.
In the distance events, seniors Meg Larson and Jen Kintzley said they are prepared for the competition in Wyoming.
“I feel great,” Larson said after winning the 5,000-meter run at Air Force. “I have nothing to complain about.”
For the men, the majority of the team’s points should come from jumpers Benson and Tim Merz, throwers Jeremy Graff and Drew Loftin and pole vaulter Josh Horak in the field events.
On the track the Rams expect senior Brian Williams and a dinged Tom Waido to get some points in the hurdles while Joey Alzola, Paul Michel, Chris Clarke and Ben Marvin hope to add some support in the middle distance events.
The Rams’ biggest force on the track, however, should come from a solid distance team of Ammon Larsen; Dylan Olchin; Austin Vigil; Raegan Robb; Paul DiGrappa; Jason Galus; Josh Glaab and Matt Cianciulli, each of whom scored points for the Rams at the Air Force Invitational.
With so many weapons, there is no reason the Rams shouldn’t win Saturday’s meet just as they did at Air Force, Horak said.
“We are excited for what’s to come the next couple of meets leading up to conference,” he said. “I have no doubt we can win.”