Feb 062003
Authors: Luke Cornish

Track Team Looks To Make it Three In A Row

By Luke Cornish

The CSU track team is looking to win their third consecutive meet in the third week of the season when they travel to Air Force Saturday.

The Rams will take on Air Force, Colorado and Texas Christian in the Air Force Quadrangular. Even though the team is coming off two successful meets, head coach Del Hessel is under no illusions about the tough challenge that lies ahead.

“Air Force, CU and Texas Christian are all very tough teams,” Hessel said. “TCU is one of the finest sprinting teams in the United States.”

Hessel is still confident that his team can perform well and believes that this team has more potential than any other during his tenure at CSU.

“We have good depth on both the men’s and the women’s team,” Hessel said. “This might be the best team we’ve ever assembled.”

Hessel knows that it will be hard for the runners to qualify for the NCAA championship this weekend, and is looking to the next meet at Iowa State to put his runners through.

“It’s hard to qualify because of the altitude and the facilities,” Hessel said. “It will be easier for the throwers than the runners this weekend.”

Drew Loftin had a successful outing in Wyoming last Saturday, winning both the weight throw and the shot put and qualifying for the NCAA championship. However, throwing coach Brian Bedard hopes that he will do even better at this meet.

“I challenged him to get the school record, which he’ll hopefully get this weekend,” Bedard said.

The throwing coach believes that this is an important meet for the throwing events because the altitude doesn’t help the runners but it can help his throwers.

“It’s important for us to throw well from a national point of view, I might have (the athletes) only throw in one event instead of two,” Bedard said.

Two Rams have now been honored by the Mountain West Conference in the past two weeks with sophomore Jacob Benson being named Men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Week after he broke a 35-year-old school record in the triple jump with his distance of 49 feet, 10 1/2 inches at Wyoming on Saturday.

For the women, junior Loree Smith was named the conference Athlete of the Week last week for winning both the shot put and the weight throw at the Air Force Invitational, in the first meet of the season. Smith provisionally qualified for the NCAA championship in both events and was just 3 1/2 inches off the school record of 53-8 1/2 in the shot put.

The men are defending Mountain West champions and Hessel hopes that his team will be able to repeat and exceed the success of last year’s team.

“We’d like to defend our men’s championship,” Hessel said. “We’d also like to go undefeated. I don’t think any team has ever done that.”

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