With only a few weeks remaining until May and the culmination of the outdoor track and field season, the men and women of CSU track and field are doing all they can to prepare for the stretch run.
The teams will compete in three meets this weekend, beginning today with the Glenn Morris Multi-Meet at Jack Christiansen track and the Drake Relays in Drake, Iowa.
For the Rams, the relay meet marks one of the largest outdoor track and field meets in the nation and with 25,000 expected to be in attendance, this year should be no different, said assistant coach John Carter.
“It’s more of a prestige meet for us,” Carter said. “Get CSU’s name out there and let people know who we are, that kind of thing.”
Though a recognition meet for the most part, the Drake Relays should provide a few Rams with the opportunity to achieve or better their NCAA regional-qualifying times.
Sophomore Paul Michel and senior Anya Sawyer look to put up qualifying marks in the men’s and women’s 1,500-meter runs, respectively, while sophomore Crystal Clark looks to do the same in the women’s 5,000.
Meanwhile senior Meg Larson looks to improve on her steeplechase time of 10 minutes, 26 seconds to better her place among the nation’s best.
Also competing for the Rams in Iowa are Sawyer, senior Mary Ridder, junior Katie Yemm and sophomore Becky Hammitt in the women’s distance medley, and hurdlers Mike Horton, Justin Hazzard, Brian Williams and Tom Waido, who plan to compete in several relay events.
Aside from giving some athletes qualifying opportunities, the meet also gives competitors a chance to try their hand at something new.
“We’ll be running a lot of relays to change things up a bit,” said Ridder, who will run the mile leg of the women’s distance medley.”I’ve never ran a mile before, so I don’t know how I’ll wind up. I could be by myself when I get the baton or right in the thick of things, you just don’t know until it happens.”
With that group in Iowa, the rest of the team will stick around Fort Collins to compete in today’s Multi-Meet – beginning at 10 a.m. – and Saturday’s Jack Christiansen Invitational.
With several athletes using the weekend to compete in events outside of their main events, the focus could be on the team’s throwers, who continue to improve their marks each week.
“This is a good meet for us and a good opportunity to throw really far,” said throwers’ coach Brian Bedard.”(The throwers) are really confident throwing here. They have their friends and family around to support them and can relax and throw at their full potential.”
Making his Mark
One Ram in particular received some good news this week, when the Mountain West Conference named sophomore Mike Nicks its male track and field Athlete of the Week.
By running the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:51.6, Nicks put himself at the top of the conference in the event and within striking distance of Elliot Drumright’s school record of 8:49.
The soft-spoken Nicks, who will compete in the men’s 1,500 Saturday, said he was pleased to be honored for his achievements, but that there is more work still to be done.
And with less than a month in the season, that sentiment rings true for the entire squad.