The stampede has begun for CSU cross country. The men’s and women’s cross country teams begin their stampede on competition Friday at the Wyoming Invitational.
The season opening meet provides a chance for CSU runners to flex their muscles, and for CSU coaches to glimpse what the future may hold.
“This is an important meet for us,” said head coach Del Hessel. “We get a look at our athletes whom we’ve not seen run for CSU.”
Running those new to the green and gold allows a chance to “rest some of the men and women frontrunners,” Hessel said.
Running for the men are freshmen Ryan Kirkpatrick, Nelson Palacios and Dave Zakavec. Joining them are transfers Rob Watson and Matt Petit, both from West Virginia. Rounding out the squad are junior John Nichols and sophomore Dennis Flanagan.
The men will also field five unattached runners. Unattached runners compete in the race but are unaffiliated with the team and will not factor into the team score.
Among those running unattached for the Rams are Ryan Lowen, Brian Kelly, Joey Alzola and Dylan Baker.
“It is still good for us to compete,” Lowen said. “It builds our strength and it prepares some of us for the track season.”
The meet serves as a learning experience, but the Rams are still focused on winning.
“We will field a team good enough to win,” Hessel said. “In fact, I can’t remember the last time we didn’t win.”
The women’s team is also stacked with potential.
Transfers Michelle Carman, from Boise State, and Nicole Feest, from Oregon, join junior Danielle Buzzell and sophomore Sarah McKay on the starting line. Three freshmen, Rebekah Yetser, Valerie McGregor and Ashley Nicholson, complete the team.
Freshmen Melissa Thomas and Emily McGregor will run unattached.
With the season nearly underway the Rams vow to keep their goals high.
“We are not slowing down,” Hessel said. “We run Friday, but we’ll be up at seven on Saturday and Sunday for our two-hour runs.”
This week’s Prefontaine:
Transfers Rob Watson, Matt Petit, Nicole Feest and Michelle Carman will brave the altitude for the first time in competition.
The competition includes Wyoming, Northern Colorado and Colorado-Colorado Springs. All three boast talented individual runners.
Quote of the week:
“If we’re going to win it, we’re going to win it as a team.” – Hessel