Only to weeks remain before CSU track and field competes in the Mountain West Conference Championships, making every meet from this point of the season on of the utmost importance.
The team travels to Lincoln, Neb., this weekend to compete against several top-ranked teams from the Big XII, on the same track that will host the NCAA Regional Championship meet May 30-31.
“The vast majority of our athletes will be running in their event or in an event that is compatible to the one they will run at conference,” said head coach Del Hessel, who has had many athletes competing out of their events during the course of the season. “This is the time of year where we focus on running fast, throwing far, jumping far, etc.”
The meet should also give coaches and athletes alike a good idea about who will compete where at the conference championships, while also giving those who need to reach regional-qualifying marks the opportunity to do so, Hessel added.
“This meet should be a determining factor on who makes our conference team,” he said. “The caliber of competition is going to be outstanding. … This could be the final opportunity for some to get regional qualifying times.”
Among those looking to qualify for the regional meet is recently named MWC Female Track and Field Athlete of the Week Katrice Thomas, who qualified in the women’s 400-meter dash at Saturday’s Jack Christiansen Invitational and now looks to do the same in the 200.
“That caliber of performance has been there all year,” said assistant coach Tom Flood. “The goal this weekend is to get her qualified in the 200. Some of the girls she’s competing against have run qualifying times, so she should have people to chase.”
Flood added that several other sprinters hope to use the high level of competition to their advantage to help them reach qualifying standards in their events.
Currently, seniors Chris Riggs (200) and Brian Williams (400-meter hurdles), juniors John Woods (100, 200) and Tom Waido (400 hurdles) and freshman Justin Hazzard (110-meter hurdles), have run strong races in their respective events, but still are looking to qualify.
The same can be said for several middle-distance runners such as seniors Ben Marvin and Chris Clark, and juniors Brian Kelly and Joey Alzola, each of whom has come close to the qualifying time of 1:51.15 in the 800 without managing to surpass it.
“This is really the last chance to do it outside of conference,” Kelly said of qualifying. “We’ll be running on an awesome track that’s real fast. It’s not a big meet, but everyone there will be bringing their big dogs.”
With his team finally healthy, Hessel said the Rams should finally see what they are capable of doing when running on all cylinders.
“I’m really pleased with where we’re at right now,” he said. “Now it’s time to start running fast. We hope to have a great meet this weekend and take that to the conference meet and see what happens.”
Kelly agreed saying that now is the time for the Rams to show what they can do.
“We know what’s on the line,” he said. “It’s do or die, basically.”
CSU NCAA Regional Championship Qualifiers
May 30-31 several Rams will compete in the NCAA Regional Championships the following is a list of those who have qualified and their event(s).
Note: *-indicates altitude conversion
Bill Michel *3:47.22
Mike Nicks *3:49.80
Reagan Robb 9:00.67
Austin Vigil 14:09.63
Dylan Olchin 29:24.70
Josh Glaab 29:35.55
Mike Horton *14.29
Justin Hazzard 52.55
Jacob Benson 2.08m
Josh Horak 5.05m
Drew Loftin 16.86m
Brian Trainor 16.64m
Nate Heyrman 16.43m
Katrice Thomas *54.66
Mary Ridder 2:08.30
Katie Yemm 4:30.66
Meg Larson *10:28.66
Christine Ahn 3.71m
Hannah Metzler 15.08m
Keela Niemeyer 14.76m
Katie Hansen 46.88m
Melissa Harms 54.30m
Haley Hunt 53.68m
Men’s Hammer Throw
Adam Trainor 58.70m
James Cale 56.45m