With one meet under their collective belt, the men and women of CSU track and field now turn their attention to Greeley and the Tom Benich Classic.
The team’s second meet of the season should be much like the first for both teams as it serves more as a tune-up for more competitive future meets. There is one thing, however, that everyone involved hopes to be better.
“Better weather would be nice,” said head coach Del Hessel. “It’s the traditional coaches dilemma – nice weather for practice or nice weather for meets.”
The meet is set to start at 9:30 a.m. with the men’s weight throw, while track events begin at 12 p.m. with the women’s 5,000-meter run.
Current weather reports call for rain and wind, which does not bode well for those planning on competing, but they plan to do so regardless of what Mother Nature brings.
“We’re looking to get some qualifying marks running with the wind,” said assistant coach Tom Flood. “This is also another opportunity for a lot of athletes to get another race under their belts before going to Arizona where there are going to be some big-name schools and athletes.”
On the men’s side, those looking to put up regional qualifying marks, Flood said, are freshmen sprinters Justin Hazzard and Mike Horton in the 110-meter high hurdles, junior John Woods in the 100 and 200 and senior Chris Riggs in the 200.
For the women hopes are high for Katrice Thomas who looks to post a pair of regional qualifying marks in the 200 and 400.
In the distance and middle-distance events, Hessel said he plans on putting some athletes out of position before getting too event-specific; at the same time, however, he added that other will run in their major event to get them ready for the challenges they will face in Arizona.
“It’s important that we prepare for Arizona, but at the same time we can’t look to peak too soon,” Hessel said. “This will be a good tune-up meet for us. The competition will be comparable to what we faced last week. It’s a good meet, but nothing we need to focus on.”
Though facing mediocre competition, Hessel said the team will not take it easy Saturday.
“We don’t want to minimize the importance of this meet in any way,” Hessel said. “We need to get our work done and get ready for future meets.”
The Traveling Ram
While the entire team got in its first meet at home last weekend, there was one lone Ram who took a trip to Palo Alto, Calif., to compete in the men’s 10,000 at the Stanford Invitational.
Junior Dylan Olchin posted a personal best 29 minutes, 24.7 seconds while finishing third in his heat.
“It was a good race, but it could have been better,” Olchin said. “I was put in the slow heat and led for about 16 (of 25) laps.”
Hessel agreed saying Olchin’s performance was just a sign of things to come for the junior.
“He showed a lot of tenacity in taking the lead and holding it,” Hessel said. “That’s a tough situation to be in, but I think it will pay huge dividends later this season.”
The Rams are hoping that competing in poor weather does the same for them.