Feb 252004
 
Authors: John Teten

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

The track and field season climaxes this weekend in Colorado

Springs at the Mountain West Conference championships. The Air

Force Academy hosts the meet, which begins Thursday night and runs

(no pun intended) through Saturday afternoon.

The Colorado State teams head down the Front Range ready for the

final indoor meet. The Rams rested most of their runners last

weekend, hoping to save the energy needed for the big meet.

“Conference should be very, very, competitive in every event,”

head coach Del Hessel said, “as it always is.”

With such a strong field, teams need to score in every event to

have a chance to win. The defending champion teams (men’s and

women’s) from Brigham Young enter as the favorite, but the Rams,

New Mexico and Air Force should each perform well.

Both of CSU’s men’s and women’s teams enter with a lot of

confidence and the skills to back it up.

The women boast a team filled with young talent. Of the 28 women

traveling this weekend, 15 are either freshmen or sophomores.

“I really like this team,” Hessel said, “but there’s nothing

like a conference meet. It’s a difficult experience to handle –

your first one.”

Despite the early season losses of Drew Morano and Colin

Ferguson, the men have managed to stay healthy.

They have a nationally elite team. Sprinter John Woods has the

ninth-best 60-meter time in the nation at 6.69 seconds. Freshman

Magnus Lohse’s toss of 63-2 in the shot put places him sixth and

Mike Nicks’ season-opening mile mark of 4:04.69 is good for

31st.

The 400 may prove to be the deciding event, Hessel said. The top

three runners are from BYU, but Brandon Kent and Rodnee Pope are

Rams that could turn an upset.

Along with his shot put, Lohse carries a personal vendetta into

the meet. Lohse and BYU freshman Niklas Arrhenius are both from

Sweden and enter with the first and second best throws in the

conference, respectively.

“I need to beat Nick,” Lohse said.

The team hopes that freshman Jon Uher will continue to step up

in the high jump. He “will be a factor in this meet,” Hessel

said.

His recent improvement has taken some pressure off Jacob Benson.

Benson competes in three jumping events that occur at the same

time.

The stage is set for a fantastic meet and the teams are raring

to go.

“Whoever is most competitive, most aggressive will win,” Hessel

said. “You’ll see numerous outstanding performances. You just can’t

allow the opponent to out compete you.”

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