Apr 302006

A week after the men and women competed together at the Jack Christiansen Invitational, members of CSU’s track and field team were once again divided and conquering in different meets around the country.

At the Don Kirby Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., the Rams excelled in a number of events. Junior Drew Morano proved to be the fastest sprinter there by winning both the 100- and 200-meter sprints.

“It was the first time I ran the 100 this year, so I was happy to be out there,” Morano said. “I can’t be disappointed with how I ran, but my times definitely could have been better.” Morano said his times were slowed a little because the sprinters had to run into the wind.

CSU throwers also had a good weekend, making up half of the top ten finishers in the women’s hammer throw, with junior Haley Hunt and sophomore Stacey Poulos taking the top two spots.

The men’s hammer throw was a repeat of the women’s, as senior Nate Heyrman, junior Trey Eder and sophomore Jason Schutz were the top three collegiate finishers. Ram throwers also dominated the discus when senior Katie Hansen, junior Haley Hunt and senior Jill McCormick swept first, second and third.

“It was a really good trip for us,” said Head Coach Del Hessel about the team’s meet in Albuquerque. “Both the men and women are moving forward and making nice progress. There have been lots of personal records set, and that’s what you want this time of year.”

Younger athletes on the squad also had a good showing Saturday. Freshmen Kristen Hemphill and Ashlee Velez took first and second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, while another freshman, Steven Swartz, finished first in the men’s 800.

In the women’s 800, junior Danielle Korb and freshman Heather Loseke were the top finishers, and junior Rheannon Backes won the high jump, leading three of her teammates into the top ten.

Positive outcomes on the track are partly a result of coaching staff, which emphasizes hard training early in the season rather than late, so that the athlete has energy to go all out in the final meets.

“This time of year, you’re looking for personal records because you lessen the training in hopes of seeing increased effort in competitions,” Hessel said.

CSU also sent a small squad to the Drake Relays, where juniors Justin Hazzard and Kevin Johnson, along with senior Mike Horton and freshman Rashaun Greer took second place in the 4×100-meter shuttle hurdle relay.

Despite the success they’ve had all season, CSU athletes like Morano realize they still must work to get better.

“Those weren’t my best times, there’s lots of room for improvement. I’ve done much better in the 200,” Morano said.

The Rams will have their last meet of the regular season Friday, before the Mountain West Championships get underway on May 10th. Morano says his body will be ready for the Conference Championships.

“I’m in great shape right now. I trained very hard earlier in the season, so I think I’ll be in ideal shape entering the Mountain West Championships,” Morano said.

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