Rocky Mountain Showdown pushed back 24 hours

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May 102009
 
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

According to the Colorado State Athletic Department, the 2009 Rocky Mountain Showdown has been moved to Sunday, Sept. 6. Originally scheduled for 5 p.m. MDT on Saturday, it was pushed back 24 hours to help accommodate television audiences.

The date change makes the 81st meeting between the CSU Rams and the CU-Boulder Buffs the only football game on television during the time slot as no other FBS or NFL games will be played simultaneously.

This year’s Showdown will take place in Boulder and tickets are currently available to Ram Club members for $65. On June 22nd, ticket sales will open up to CSU season ticket holders for the same price.

Sports Editor Matt L. Stephens can be reached at sports@collegian.com

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Rams finish season with big road win

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May 102009
 
Authors: Keith Robertson

The CSU softball team was already eliminated from post-season play when they traveled to play BYU, who had been undefeated at home this season. The Rams played two games against the Cougars in their final series of the season. They lost the first, 4-1, but rallied in the second game to be the first team other than the Cougars to win in Provo, Utah this season.

After a BYU score in the bottom of the first, game one went through three more innings before getting some more action. The Cougars scored three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth. The Rams tried a comeback in the sixth but were only able to muster up one run in the losing effort.

“It was just missed opportunities,” head coach Mary Yori said.

The following day was very similar to the first. The Cougars started the same 19-9 pitcher, Paige Affleck, and the Rams found themselves down after the first inning, this time 4-0.

What was different this time was how the Rams attacked at the plate. The Rams put two on the board in the second when Shanon Causgrove and Robyn Mask each crossed the plate. A triple in the third gave BYU the 5-2 advantage but the Rams wanted to beat the unbeaten on their home field – and they did.

The Rams were able to come within two after Alison Majam, who finished 3-4 with two runs and two RBIs, hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth.

“That was really a big boost,” Yori said. “She delivered a couple of really nice hits.”

The Rams horns went up and the team played very attentively, jumping on any rare mistake made by BYU. CSU tied the game at five after scoring on two errors committed by the Cougars.

The Rams made like Santa Clause and wrapped up the game in the seventh. With the bases loaded, Causgrove stepped to the plate and continued her clutch season as she hit the game winning single that plated Christine Thomsen and Majam.

The other senior savior, Kim Klabough, deserves credit as well.

After relieving freshman Dani Chaplin she pitched 6.1 innings only giving up one run against a team that averages six runs a game. In the switch from young to experienced the Rams struck gold to end their final game of the 2009 season.

“She settled in and really threw a fine a game,” said Yori about Klabough’s performance. “She was really confident that she could get it done for us, she knew her team needed her.”

The Rams finished their season in a style to be proud of.

They’re one game above .500 and in the final match CSU became the only team to beat BYU on their home field and only one of two conference teams to beat the Cougars all season. They rallied back against one of the best teams in the country, where they were least vulnerable and proved to themselves they have room to grow but are serious contenders in the Mountain West.

“Our season was just like our record: lots of exciting wins and some tough losses,” Yori said. “Our kids competed hard this year, and I was really pleased with their effort this weekend. We just kept fighting and battling, and I think that beating them (BYU) showed a lot of heart.”

Softball beat reporter Keith Robertson can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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Moby’s Best Coach of the Season – Steve Fairchild

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May 102009
 
Authors: Adam Bohlmeyer

When Steve Fairchild took the job as CSU’s head football coach in December of 2007, Ram fans had high hopes of success, but few could have guessed it would have come this quickly.

In the 17 months Fairchild has been the head of Rams football, he led CSU to their first winning season since 2004, won the New Mexico Bowl and has fans of the green and gold genuinely excited about the future. For all these reasons and more, Fairchild earns the 2009 Moby Award for Coach of the Year.

Fairchild, who came back to CSU after serving as both a player and assistant coach for the Rams in previous years, immediately faced an up-hill battle when he arrived on campus. Not only was he replacing Fort Collins coaching legend Sonny Lubick, but also was inheriting a struggling football team that just completed a 3-9 season. Still Fairchild showed optimism at the opportunity to resurrect CSU football.

After leading the Rams to a 4-6 record at the beginning November 2008, Fairchild rallied his troops and helped the Rams finish the season with three consecutive wins including victories against arch rival Wyoming in the Border War and Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl.

Fairchild didn’t rest much after the bowl win, almost immediately hitting the recruiting trail and bringing one of the top recruiting classes in the entire Mountain West Conference to CSU early in 2009.

With all the success he has enjoyed in his first year as head coach, Fairchild is not even close to being satisfied. At the end of the 2009 spring season, the former NFL offensive coordinator took a second to evaluate the progress his team has made.

“It’s a lot like last year,” Fairchild said. “We have some areas we feel pretty good about, and then we have some areas we still need to improve in. We need to improve in them really quickly.”

Football Beat Reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Moby’s Best Freshman Athlete – Kim Mestdagh

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May 102009
 
Authors: Justin Warren

When the word freshman is associated with a college athlete’s name, it usually relates to an inexperienced player who will ride the bench for at least one season. However, for the CSU women’s basketball program, a few players define the word in their own way.

Former Ram and current WNBA all-star Becky Hammon broke all the freshman records in her first year at CSU and 2008 graduate Sara Hunter placed herself under Hammon for second in most freshman records.

Coming off a disappointing 2007-08 season, first year head coach Kristen Holt was forced to find new talent to help fill holes in the lineup, and no first year player executed in their role as well as the freshman Belgium native Kim Mestdagh.

“Kim really grew as a person throughout the year,” Holt said. “I really think she got better as we went along, and at the end she became to understand the amount of effort we wanted.”

In her first season for the Rams, Mestdagh appeared in 31 games — starting 14 –/playing at the guard position and tying senior Britney Minor for the second most points scored, 231, behind senior captain Kandy Beemer.

Mestdagh also became second all-time in three-point field goals made in a single season for a freshman with 51 and second all-time for three-pointers attempted by a freshman with 159.

Against Montana on Dec. 10, Mestdagh connected on six threes which placed her third in the CSU record books for most threes in a single game by a freshman under Hunter’s seven and Hammon’s eight.

“I think for a freshman I did a good job. I had good season for a freshman not only scoring-wise but also minutes and defensively,” Mestdagh said. “I think I had an important role on the team and that feels pretty good.”

Basketball beat reporter Justin Warren can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Moby’s Best Game of the Season – New Mexico Bowl

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May 102009
 
Authors: Adam Bohlmeyer

A record setting performance from a Ram fan favorite, the official rebirth of a football power and a national stage on which to do it all; all of these things went a long way toward helping the 2008 New Mexico Bowl earn the Moby Award for Game of the Year.

After a two-year absence from the college football bowl scene, the 2008 CSU football team earned the right to return after finishing the regular season 6-6 including back-to-back wins in their final two games. Debate raged for nearly a week about whether the Rams would actually be invited to join the Bowl party, but speculation stopped as it was announced that the Rams would face the Fresno State Bulldogs in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl.

The Rams kept the game close early, trailing only 21-20 going into halftime. Quarterback Billy Farris found tight end Kory Sperry for a remarkable 22-yard touchdown reception just before time expired in the second quarter, giving the Rams momentum going into the locker room.

Fresno State extended their lead early in the third quarter, but an epic performance from Ram running back Gartrell Johnson III was more than enough to give CSU the lead and the eventual win.

Johnson was simply stellar for the Rams on that day, posting 375 yards of total offense: an NCAA bowl record. The senior also added two touchdowns including a 77-yard burst late in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice and insuring a 40-35 CSU victory

As time expired, loyal Ram fans making the trip down to Albuquerque stormed the field, celebrating a bowl win and the official turnaround of a once-struggling football program.

In a post game press conference, Johnson explained just how much the New Mexico Bowl win would mean to the future of Rams football.

“It’s good for everyone,” Johnson, now a San Diego Charger said. “It’s good for the program; it’s good for coach Fairchild. It’s good for CSU as a whole. To have a great day like that and for us to just get a win sets the bar high for next season.”

Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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Moby’s Best Female Athlete – Jacque Davisson

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May 102009
 
Authors: Justin Warren

Intensity, energy and a will to win is something every coach desires in his or her players, and no athlete was more fired up and energetic when stepping onto the court than CSU volleyball player, sophomore Jacque Davisson.

During the 2008 season, the Placentia, Calif., native appeared in 93 of 122 matches for the Rams wearing the number 10 green and gold jersey.

“I think (the season) went well, getting the opportunity to start after playing a back-roll position my freshman season,” Davisson said. “So coming back in the fall and improving my vertical test and strengthening my ability to play got me on the floor.”

The 5-foot-11 outside hitter collected 181 kills out of her 595 attempts in 2008, which ranked fifth on the list under senior Mekana Barnes’ 382 kills, senior Jamie Strauss’ 323, freshman Katelyn Steffan’s 251, and junior Tessa Nelson’s 190.

Davisson also compiled 191 digs, third most behind junior libero Katelin Batten and senior setter Ashley Fornstrom, while blocking 47 kill attempts from the opposition.

In her 93 matches, Davisson served up 28 server’s aces to the other side of the net bringing her total points for the season to 237.

“I was very pleased with the way I played. Of course there is always room to improve and we will be looking for a better season next fall. I think, overall, last season it was my consistency passing in the front row that kept me on the court.”

Staff writer Justin Warren can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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Moby’s Best Male Athlete – Klint Kubiak

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May 102009
 
Authors: Stephen Meyers

It was arguably the biggest play of the 2008 football season.

In its game against Houston on Sept. 20, the Rams were clinging to a 28-25 lead in the fourth quarter and the Cougars were deep in Rams territory looking for the go-ahead score.

A dubious facemask penalty called on junior safety Klint Kubiak, giving Houston the ball inside the red zone in the waning minutes of the game.

Kubiak, however, redeemed his mistake by making a diving interception of Cougar quarterback Case Keenum’s pass in the end zone with only two seconds remaining on the clock to seal the Rams second consecutive victory.

The rest of the season was a bit of an adventure for Kubiak — battling ankle and knee injuries which kept him off the field for six games before returning in a reserve role against Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl.

When healthy, Kubiak was a force in seven games last season. The safety recorded 28 tackles (21 solo), two forced fumbles, his interception against Houston and one other pass break-up. Defensive coordinator Larry Kerr said Kubiak plays with great energy, toughness and discipline and is considered one of the Rams’ best tacklers.

Now a senior entering his final year with the Rams, Kubiak is the unquestioned leader of the Rams’ defense, and if he can stay healthy this season, will consistently put up solid numbers in the secondary.

The potential for greatness, his leadership and humble nature earned Kubiak the Moby for Male Athlete of the Year.

The Collegian was unable to contact Kubiak for this story.

Football beat reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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Moby’s Best Team of the Season – Volleyball

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May 102009
 
Authors: Keith Robertson

The Colorado State volleyball team has been the most successful of CSU’s athletic programs in recent years and this season they continued to dominate their competition as they finished the season 23-7. The Rams started off hot, losing only one of their first 17 games.

Head coach Tom Hilbert described the year as “fast and furious,” since the first half went by so quickly and they faced tough conference competition late in the year. The Rams still finished 12-4 against MWC teams, earned second place in the conference and their 14th consecutive invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s just a great streak,” Hilbert said. “It’s been a great ride and I think it’s just a testament to the respect we get nationally.”

The Rams spent the majority of the season in the national rankings.

CSU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after beating Florida International 3-1, but fell to the University of Florida on the Gators’ home court to end the season.

The season may not have ended like a fairy tale, but was impressive nonetheless. The Rams never lost at home going 15-0 inside Moby Arena. Looking at the season statistics, one can understand how the team was so dominant.

The Rams played offense and defense with both efficiency and power as they won 60 percent of their first sets, had 288 more kills than their opponents and had 95 more blocks.

“I thought we had a very good season,” Hilbert said. “So many great things happened.”

Great things come when you have great players –/which CSU did. Ram senior Mekana Barnes was named to the senior-level USA volleyball team, as well as the All-Mountain West Conference team with senior Ashley Fornstrom and junior Tessa Nelson.

Staff writer Keith Johnson can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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Tommie Hill signs with the New York Giants

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May 102009
 
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

Former CSU defensive end Tommie Hill was invited by the New York Giants to attend their NFL rookie camp this weekend in East Rutherford, N.J., and according to the CSU Athletic Department he took full advantage of the opportunity that was handed to him.

Hill’s performance at Giants Stadium earned him a free agent contract, making him the fifth player from the Rams’ 2008 season to make his way onto an NFL roster this spring.

During the 2008 season, Hill tallied 30 tackles as well as led the Rams with three sacks. He was also tied for the team lead in interceptions with two, but the most notable was in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl, a play that earned him the defensive MVP for that game.

Hill’s free agent contract with the Giants makes him the only player from last season’s CSU football team to end up with a team in the NFC as Gartrell Johnson III, Kory Sperry, Kyle Bell and Billy Farris all signed with AFC rosters.

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RamTalk

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May 102009
 
Authors:

Thanks, CSU, for being “green.” You give bikers the finger by giving us no sheltered bike racks while you build parking structures where cars will stay dry. How encouraging!

Finish the jingle: “The best, part, of waking up, is … ”

To the owner of the kids playing hide and seek in the basement of the library: It’s not a playground. Get a baby sitter.

To the person giving props to the guy who put the champagne bottle in the lost and found … yeah. That was my Geology teacher … he’s weird …

To my roommate upstairs: If you don’t have the money for a can of WD-40, I will gladly pay for it in exchange for a good night’s sleep. Squeak, squeak, squeak.

If you’re caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lighting, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron.

Being highly reliant on drinking Red Bull during finals week has turned my urine the color of Shrek’s.

To the couple making out at the light at College Ave.: A green light means proceed to the nearest dorm room.

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