Running, throwing and jumping until dusk on Saturday, the CSU track and field team had a successful day in the sun, hitting 11 regional qualifying marks at the Ram Open.
“We saw some more regional marks and personal bests today,” CSU coach Brian Bedard said. “It’s exciting as a coach to watch the team build momentum towards the regional meet. As a coach, this is what you like to see.”
The meet went well into the evening, finishing around sunset, but most of the team members stayed the entire time to cheer on their teammates.
“What I really like about this team is the amount of support and encouragement and excitement from every one of the athletes,” Bedard said. “Most of the athletes stuck around the entire day to encourage one another and just as a negative attitude is contagious, so is a positive attitude.”
The team put together an all-round performance as the Rams had first-place finishes in all four phases of track and field: sprints, distance, jumps and throws.
“Across the board, we saw the whole team be successful,” Bedard said.
The jumpers had a big day, led by senior Ashleigh Morton in the pole vault where she vaulted 12 feet, 6.25 inches to win the event and move into second place all-time in school history. Junior high jumper Niomi Ridge hit her first regional qualifying mark of the year as she finished first, jumping 5-8.75. Sophomore Sonni Russell followed in third place and also finished first in the triple jump with a mark of 37-03.75. Also finishing first was freshman Michelle Roberts in the long jump with a leap of 18-03.75.
The throwers, led by senior Jason Schutz and junior Missy Faubus, had another big day, posting eight regional marks.
Schutz took second in the hammer with a toss of 199-06 and was the top collegiate finisher in the discus, throwing 192-05. He finished behind former Ram Casey Malone. Schutz hasn’t been beaten by a collegiate athlete in the discus this entire season. Faubus swept two events, winning the shot put in a personal record heave of 52- 2.75 and the discus where she threw 168-03.
Sophomores Jennifer Ugochukwu and Cameron Carter also hit regional marks, as Ugochukwu finished third in the shot put and Carter third in the discus. Junior hammer thrower Alex Godell had another solid day, throwing a regional mark 194-05.
To round out the throwing events, sophomore Meagan Berg threw 181-02 in the hammer for a regional qualifying mark and overall was pleased with her performance and the nice weather.
On the track, senior multi-event athlete Emily Pearson had a big day in the 100-meter hurdles running a 13.68 which is a personal record and a regional qualifying time.
Pearson then teamed up with senior Janay DeLoach, sophomore Tanesha Johnson, and freshman Learsha Jones to win the 4×100 meter relay in a time of 45.93 seconds which is only a tenth of a second away from the school record.
Johnson also ran the 100 where she ran a regional qualifying time of 11.70 to finish first.
In the men’s 100, sophomore Sulaiman Sayyid finished third with a time of 10.62. Sayyid also ran the 200, finishing second in a time of 21.50. Freshman Nigel Joseph finished first in the 400 hurdles, running a time of 52.44, which is four-hundredths of a second away from the regional qualifying time.
The distance runners got good performances out of their 800-meter runners where junior Marissa Saunders and sophomore Ryan Friese both won convincingly.
Saunders finished with a time of 2:20.17, nearly five seconds ahead of second place. She said her legs were tired from running the 3,000 meter steeple chase earlier in the day.
Friese ran the race in a time of 1:52.20, ahead of teammate Bobby Potrykus. who finished second with a time of 1:57.06.
“I felt pretty strong throughout the race, I was really working on the 3rd 200 to have a really solid 600 meters and then just push the rest and see what happens,” said Friese.
In distance races, freshman Jake Keyser and junior Andres Urbina took second and third in the 1,500 meter.
Coach Bedard said the distance team will send 5-6 runners to Oregon this week, giving the runners a chance to take advantage of the low altitude and great competition in hopes of hitting some regional times.
The rest of the team will stay here in Fort Collins, as CSU will host the Glenn Morris Invitational on Thursday and Friday which will feature multi-event athletes. Saturday, the team hosts the Jack Christiansen Invitational.
Sports writer Stephen Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.