Feb 122009
 
Authors: Scott Callahan

The CSU track and field team will combine individual efforts into a team-focused event this weekend, hoping to continue a victorious history at the 19th annual Air Force Invitational.

There the Rams will see 16 different programs, eight from the Mountain West Conference including Air Force and Wyoming, as well as CU-Boulder, seven Division II teams and Colby Community College.

Colorado Springs is often visited by the Rams. They participated in the Air Force Open earlier this season and will head back to the Academy again in two weeks for the Mountain West Conference meet.

The Air Force Invitational is a two-day, team focused scoring event. After each event the winning team will receive 10 points and progressively fewer down to the eighth place finishers, who will receive one point. All the points will be added to the team score and the team with most points by the end wins.

Head coach Brian Bedard says that track and field has a good balance of being both an individual and team sport. This weekend the team will work hard for themselves, but also for their teammates.

“It’s a team event, its a little more than personal glory,” Bedard said. “I think everyone tries to work hard, everyone fights a little harder to get into the top eight and contribute to the team.”

Nnamdi Agwu, a junior triple-jump athlete, said CSU usually does well as a team. He said that last weekend’s good showing in the Nebraska Husker Invitational, combined with the solid history at Air Force, is good for confidence.

“It’s always good to have a little swagger in your step,” Agwu said. “You want to go out there and compete well for yourself, of course, but then have other guys out there to compete against each other. The better we do, the better for the team.”

The men’s team has won this invitational eight times, with a four-year reign from 1997 to 2001 and another three-year victorious period from 2003 to 2005. The women’s team has also had a clear dominance. They have won this event 10 times in the last 11 years, only losing Fresno State in 2002.

CSU was scheduled to send some athletes to the University of Washington for the Husky Classic this weekend, but decided to not to divide the team, to give a better team showing at Air Force.

“We wanted to bring the team closer together,” said Bedard. “We wanted to stress the team aspect at Air Force this year.”

On another note, the track and field program signed seven student athletes for next season. Bedard said that the Rams have to “fill some needs” in the program. He also said that focus was going to be on regional talent in Colorado, Wyoming, and the western slope, as well as locally, here in Fort Collins.

Five of the athletes that were signed on Monday are from Colorado, including four from Fort Collins, one from Wyoming and one from Montana.

Track and field beat writer Scott Callahan can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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