With cold, gusting winds reaching up to 50 mph, and temperatures in the mid-30s, the Rams men’s and women’s track teams went out and dominated the field.
On Saturday at CSU’s Jack Christensen Track and Field complex, the Rams hosted the Rob Upton Invitational, even though conditions were not ideal.
“It’s springtime in the Rockies,” said head coach Del Hessel with a grin. “You have to be ready to compete in wind, rain and snow.”
Though the conditions were less than ideal, the Rams did put on a show, placing athletes in the top three in almost every event they competed in.
“It was incredibly windy,” said junior Bill Michel, who ran the 1,500- and 800-meter events Saturday. “It threw the pace of the race off. In a meet like this you look for competitive effort, because you can’t base your performance on time.”
Another welcome sight from the Rams was the return of all-Mountain West Conference sprinter John Woods, who made the most of his first meet back to competition in almost a year by winning the men’s 100-meter dash with a time of 10.59 seconds, just edging out sophomore teammate and reigning MWC 60-meter champion Jake Simpson’s 10.6.
“It was a good first meet,” said Woods, a junior. “I’m about where I expected to be, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”
In another debut, freshman Justin Hazzard came out strong and held on to win the men’s 400 with a time of 49.61 and followed that performance up with a second place finish in the 110 hurdles, running a14.45.
In the 400 hurdles, senior Brian Williams battled the elements to finish first at 53.35, while junior Tom Waido followed in third with a 54.47, while senior Ben Marvin was the first of a slew of Rams to cross the line in the men’s 800 finishing third with a time of 1:56.76.
In one of the day’s final events, sophomore Josh Glaab blew away the rest of the field in the men’s 5,000 with a time of 15:11.72, nine seconds better than the next finisher. Senior Raegan Robb (15:24.72) and junior Paul DiGrappa (15:28.44) finished third and fourth, respectively.
The women proved to be equally dominant on the track, getting stellar performances all around.
Junior Zuzana Krajciova won the 400 intermediate hurdles with a time of 64.74, while sophomore sprinter Katrice Thomas ran away with the title in the 200 (24.79) and finished second in the 400 (56.45).
Senior Meg Larson ran a 4:44.25 to win the women’s 1,500 and followed that up with a third-place, 2:20.6 finish in the 800. Meanwhile junior Colleen Blair finished second in the 5,000 with a time of 18:10.63.
In the throwing events the Rams performed as strong as expected, with senior Drew Loftin winning the men’s hammer throw with a toss of 215 feet, 5 inches and following that with a second-place finish in the shot put (53-8 1/2).
The men’s discus saw the return of Olympian and former Ram Mattais Borrman, who won the event with a throw of 183-6, while senior Brian Trainor finished second at 171-2.
For the women it was senior Hannah Metzler who came out on top, winning the women’s shot put with a toss of 46-9 1/2, while teammate Keela Neimeyer followed at 46-0 3/4.
Meanwhile at the Rams’ indoor facility at the South College Fieldhouse, pole-vaulters Josh Horak and Christine Ahn won the men’s and women’s pole vault, recording heights of 15-6 and 12, respectively.
Also competing indoors was Jacob Benson, who cleared 6-10 to win the men’s high jump.
With the first meet of the outdoor season concluded, the Rams now focus on No. 2 in Greeley at the Tom Benich Classic on Saturday.