Mar 212002

For CSU track and field, this weekend marks the beginning of the end.

The last of the three track and field seasons – the outdoor season – begins this weekend as the Rams travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to take part in the Modrall Sperling Lobo Open hosted by the University of New Mexico.

CSU has already had great seasons in cross country and indoor track and field, and looks to continue the streak during the outdoor season.

“The fact we had such an outstanding indoor season makes us very excited,” said assistant track coach Tom Flood, referring to the men’s team’s Mountain West Conference indoor championship. “We relished the victory for a couple weeks there, but I think the coaching staff and the athletes are ready to move to the outdoor.”

This weekend the Rams will be competing against Colorado College, Dixie College, Fort Lewis, Hobbs Junior College, New Mexico Highlands, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado and Wyoming. CSU coaches and athletes are both looking at this meet as a measuring stick.

The meet will not be scored, but should be a good first test of the year. While the basics are the same, the outdoor track season means athletes will have to make some adjustments from the indoor season.

“The biggest difference is that the weather is always consistent indoors,” said junior Hannah Metzler, an NCAA automatic qualifier in the indoor shot-put. “That’s the biggest adjustment – getting prepared to throw in any weather, from the rain to extreme heat.”

In Albuquerque, the Rams will be looking for a strong showing from their sprinters. With senior Thal Woods coming over from the Ram football team and a healthy Daniel Ward, in addition to John Woods and Sean Ingram, CSU returns a strong veteran sprint corps.

The Rams also get senior Rob Vermillion back for his last outdoor season. Since Vermillion had no indoor eligibility left, he was not a member of the indoor championship team this past winter, but he returns to the outdoor season as the reigning conference champ in the 1,500-meters and a NCAA provisional qualifier.

The Rams go into the outdoor season focused on their goals.

“For the women’s team, being so close to winning the indoor conference championship, we’re really looking forward to outdoors,” Metzler said. “We’ve got some people back, we’re really excited; we think we can get (perennial conference champion) BYU. That’s one of our more prominent goals.”

And regardless of the fact that there will be no scoring in the Albuquerque meet, don’t look forCSU to lose focus. n

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