He ran like no other Ram had before him. Hurdling over impeding obstacles and blazing through the finish line, junior Mike Nicks etched his name in the CSU track and field record books.
Nicks joined a handful of CSU athletes this summer at the 83rd annual Outdoor Track and Field Championships, in Sacramento, Calif.
In a period of two meets Nicks broke the school record in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.
First, he broke Eliot Drumright’s 24-year-old, 3,000-meter steeplechase record of 8 minutes, 49.7 seconds, running 8:48.69 at the NCAA Regional championships in Lincoln, Neb. Then he smashed his own school record, completing a preliminary heat at nationals in 8 minutes, 43.67 seconds, grabbing a spot in the finals.
“The prelims took a lot out of me,” Nicks said. “My goal was to make the finals.”
He finished the finals 14th, with a time of 9:04.71.
Meanwhile, graduated senior Drew Loftin propelled the Rams to a tie for 24th place. Loftin tallied 10 points for the Rams placing second in the hammer throw, tossing 222-6 feet, and seventh in the discus with a throw of 187-9. He earned All-American honors in both events.
The sole female Ram to compete in the finals, senior Keela Niemeyer, finished 17th overall in the shot put, with a toss of 50-8.75
The finals of the 10,000 meters featured senior Dylan Olchin who finished 24th, in a time of 30: 07.79.
Sophomore Paul Michel failed to make the finals of the 1,500 after falling a half of a lap into the race.
A slight shove in the back, a tangling of feet and few disappointing seconds is all it took to send Michel sprawling to the ground in a dizzying collision.
“I received the pity clap the rest of the way,” he said. “But it was cool to compete against the best of the best.”
Michel felt intimidated running against the nation’s elite until he realized that he “works just as hard as everyone else,” and that he is considered one of the best, he said.
Nicks echoed the elusiveness that the national championship held.
“These are the best runners in the country,” he said. “There is no one easy to beat; there are no easy wins at this level.”
In other news…
Casey Malone, a former Colorado State track & field standout, was named to the IAAF World Championship team for the United States.
Malone, who won the NCAA discus title for the Rams in 1998, will compete this week in the 9th IAAF World Championships in Paris.
As a member of the team, Malone joins the likes of John Godina, Maurice Greene, Stacy Dragila and Gail Devers in representing the United States among the world’s elite athletes.