Feb 252009
 
Authors: Scott Callahan

The CSU Rams will be joining the rest of the Mountain West Conference track and field teams to once again see which team is the best of the season in the MWC Championships. The three-day competition will features all nine women’s team, as well as six men’s teams from Air Force, BYU, CSU, New Mexico, TCU and Wyoming.

The Rams are familiar to the Cadet Field House, as they have been down in Colorado Springs two times this season already. This is the eighth time in 10 years that the Falcons have hosted the annual indoor meet for the conference.

Head coach Brian Bedard and all the coaches have worked closely with the athletes trying to prepare them for this competition. After all the hard training, competing in a familiar setting can help.

“A part of performing is comfort,” Bedard said. “A certain amount of comfort with the track and facilities does help.”

This year CSU has several athletes at the top of the rankings. Junior track runner Sulaiman Sayyid is ranked first in the conference in the 60-meter sprint with a time of 6.86 seconds, which he set back at in December.

Senior shot put Missy Faubus is also ranked in first place with a mark of 50 feet and eight inches. Faubus is looking to take care of unfinished business, as last year she just missed out on the women’s shot put title by only a centimeter.

Another athlete high in the rankings is senior weight thrower Alex Godell, who is ranked second thanks to his throw of 67 feet and nine inches. Godell was awarded the honor of a MWC Athlete of the Week following his first-place finish in the weight throw at the Shine Invitational in Wyoming last Friday.

“This will help him in Conference with momentum,” Bedard said. “We knew he had it in him. We just needed to clean him up with some technical things.”

Bedard said that both Godell and Faubus have been working hard to be where they are and thinks that they will perform well this weekend.

“They are two seniors who have continued to improve and mature in competition,” Bedard said. “Both of these two are in a good place for what works for them.”

In other realms, the CSU distance and middle-distance runners are riding a wave of success in recent weeks. Allison Gohl and Kristen Hemphill, both defending champions, will be leading their team. Other runners this year who have shined are Lauren Kleppin, Michelle Dettmann and Nicole Peters, who each won 3,000-meter races this season.

Though the distance runners, as a team, are not ranked very high Bedard feels like the team in underrated and they will surprise some people in the conference. The team’s recent success hasn’t moved them up in the rankings but they have been a source of motivation to the rest of the team recently.

“We expect some great things from that group,” Bedard said. “They can be (motivational) and it helps to encourage (the team). They could help lead others to be successful.”

The Rams will face some tough competition this weekend. BYU has routinely been dominant in track and field, winning all but three indoor team championships in the 10 years of the conference. CSU has won it twice, when the men won in 2002 and the women in 2006.

“(BYU has) good coaches,” Bedard said. “They have put together two of the best teams in the last 20 years.”

Despite BYU and all the competition, Bedard and the other coaches constantly remind their athletes to focus on their own game and encourage their teammates.

“We try to focus extremely hard and reach personal bests,” Bedard said. “We tell them to encourage teammates and come out with a great attitude.”

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

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