Mar 012009
 
Authors: Scott Callahan

The CSU indoor track and field team had a long weekend at the 2009 Mountain West Conference championships hosted by the Air Force Academy, with the women finishing the three-day meet in third, and the men walking away in fourth.

The conference meet began last Thursday, and the women had a strong showing for CSU. Freshman Sophia Wagner was the first Ram to earn a point for the team with an eighth-place finish in the women’s heptathlon. Wagner set personal bests in the hurdle, long jump and overall score in the event.

On the second day of competition Doug Dieker performed well and tied for first in the pole vault. Senior Alex Godell placed fourth overall in the weight throw, with a mark of 64 feet and seven inches. Freshman Caston Mabin went above and beyond expectations. He was ranked fifth going into the high jump, and placed second overall with a jump of 6 feet and 8 3/4 inches.

“(Mabin) had a good meet. He responded to the challenge and didn’t compete with any fear, which is good,” Bedard said.

By the end of the second day, the men were in third place and the women were in fifth place. Head coach Bryan Bedard saw a difference in the first two days of the competition.

“I thought the first day was rough, but Saturday was a pretty darn good day,” he said.

Ending on a good note, junior Ryan Friese captured the lone individual title. He won the 800-meter run with his personal best time of 1:51.17. The time was the fifth-fastest time recorded in MWC championship history and good enough for an NCAA provisional qualification mark.

The men had five athletes earn All-Conference honors when all was said and done in Colorado Springs. Nigel Joseph finished third in the 60-meter hurdles, and Tyson Williams was third in the shot put.

There were three women who earned All-Conference honors. Senior Kristen Hemphill finished third in the 3000-meter run just over ten minutes. Freshman Sonni Russell picked up the honor with a third-place finish in the high jump at 1.75 meters. The third female athlete to receive the honor was Jennifer Ugochukwu, as she took home third place in the shot put.

“The women did as well as they could have. We have some holes to fill,” Bedard said.

The way to fill those holes is going to come predominately through recruiting and new athletes. The coaching staff has recruited several athletes already and will continue to do so into the outdoor track and field season and the following indoor season.

“We don’t have holes because we are not trying,” Bedard said. “We have addressed those needs and we’ll have to see how it plays out.”

Around the league, BYU took home its seventh consecutive title with 224 points, followed by New Mexico (102), Air Force (91), CSU (85), TCU (78) and Wyoming (77).

BYU also captured the women’s title with 224 points, with TCU (117), CSU (61), Utah (59), New Mexico (53), San Diego State (46), Air Force (40), UNLV (36) and Wyoming (26) rounding out the field.

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

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