When one thinks of track and field, the field is usually an afterthought. But it is the field athletes who carried CSU’s men’s and women’s track and field teams to victory Saturday in Colorado Springs.
Though facing fierce competition, the Rams managed to win their third consecutive meet, the women tallying 179.5 points and the men 147.
In the early stages of the meet, the Rams watched as the their throwers dominated the competition taking the top four spots in both the men’s shot put and weight throw.
Seniors Jeremy Graff and Drew Loftin finished first and second in the shot put with throws of 55 feet-4 3/4 inches and 54-6 3/4, respectively, while freshmen Nate Heyrman (50-6 1/4) and Jace Rivera (48-6) finished third and fourth.
In the weight throw, it was Loftin who led the charge with a toss of 65-6, while Heyrman (58-7 1/2), sophomore Adam Trainor (58-7 1/2) and senior James Cale (56-3 1/4) rounded out the top four spots.
The view was similar for the women as junior Loree Smith led her team’s throwers, winning the shot put and the weight throw with tosses of 50-11 and 60-7 3/4, respectively.
Senior Hannah Metzler (50-2) junior Keela Niemeyer (47-11 3/4) and freshman Haley Hunt (46-2) followed Smith placing second, third and fourth in the event.
In the weight throw, Hunt took second behind Smith with a throw of 53-11, while junior Melissa Harms took third throwing a 51-7 3/4.
With Texas Christian’s sprinters putting on a show in the sprints, the Rams had to look for points in jumps, hurdles and distance events.
Sophomore Jacob Benson, who last week was named Mountain West Conference Athlete of the Week, proved that distinction was no fluke, finishing second in the triple jump with a distance of 51-2 1/4 inches and third in the high jump behind freshman teammate Tim Merz – both jumping 6-8 3/4.
On the track, the Rams managed to tally enough points to overtake a lurking Air Force team that finished with 138 points.
Freshmen Mike Horton and Justin Hazzard finished third and fourth in the men’s 60-meter hurdles, recording times of 8.2 seconds and 8.25 respectively, while Hazard also ran a fifth-place 48.91 in the men’s 400.
In the men’s mile, sophomore Mike Nicks ran a strong 4:19.03 to finish second, while junior Bill Michel and senior Raegan Robb finished fifth and sixth, respectively, with times of 4:20.29 and 4:22.53.
The men’s 800 featured strong performances from junior Ben Marvin (1:53.77) and Michel (1:54.01), who finished third and fourth, while juniors Austin Vigil (8:37.31), Dylan Olchin (8:38.88) and Paul DiGrappa (8:45.87) finished second, third and fourth in the men’s 3,000.
On the women’s side, sophomore Katrice Thomas kept TCU’s sprinters from total domination, finishing fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.12 and second in the 400 with a time of 57.09.
Junior Katie Yemm was the lone female runner to break the five-minute barrier in the women’s mile as she finished with a blazing 4:55.75 – almost 10 seconds in front of second place Natalie Florence’s 5:04.56.
In the women’s 800 sophomore Becky Hammit remained undefeated this season, running a swift 2:13.94, while sophomore Crystal Clark (10:35.68), junior Colleen Blair (10:47.04) and senior Meg Larson (10:56.15), finished third, fourth and fifth in the women’s 3,000, respectively.
“I’d say we came here and accomplished what we needed to do,” said head coach Del Hessel. “We have areas we need to work on, but we are very strong in other areas and that is what we can build on leading up to conference.”