MWC Preview

Oct 302003
Authors: John Teten

Trick or treat?

The CSU cross country teams hope to return from New Mexico this

weekend with more than a bag of delicious goodies.

The Rams run at the Mountain West Conference Championships on

Saturday at the University of New Mexico’s north golf course in

Albuquerque, N.M.

The meet, originally scheduled for San Diego, Calif., had the

Rams dreaming of sandy shorelines and swaying palm trees; however,

with the coast enveloped in smoke, conference officials approved

the move.

The relocation plays into the Rams’ hands. Both the men’s and

women’s teams won their races at the Lobo Invitational on Sept.


“This is a big advantage to us,” coach Del Hessel said. “It’s

good for everyone to get out of the smoke, but we’re one of the few

teams to have run there.”

With less than a month left before the NCAA Cross Country

National Championships, the Rams are stronger and more focused each

day. The teams enter the conference meet at full physical peak, a

climax of months of training and years of dreaming.

“It’s a tough time to coach,” Hessel said. “You don’t want to

overtrain. We’re at our max physical peak. We just need to hold


The women are steadily improving and are more deserving than

their No. 22 ranking shows, Hessel said.

They toe the starting line looking to win, but with the

realization that a second-place finish is likely – two-time

defending national champion Brigham Young is the favorite.

Favored or not, the Rams are happy to disrupt the


“Our plan is to break BYU up,” junior Sarah MacKay said. “Not

many people are that fond of them-they’re like the Yankees.”

After a season of exceeding expectations, a strong finish is

likely and a quality second-place ending would help propel the

women toward nationals.

“I’m high on this team right now,” Hessel said. “They are better

than expected.”

BYU and Air Force pose the largest threat to the CSU men this

weekend. Each team holds a top 15 national ranking. The Falcons

(ninth), the Rams (10th) and the Cougars (12th) enter as the heavy

hitters in the MWC.

“The men are more confident and fearless in competition,” Hessel

said. “We have plenty of potential to come to a really good

conclusion at the end of this year.”

Saturday’s races will separate the contenders from the

pretenders as the season moves toward the finale. If all goes as

planned, the Rams will return to Fort Collins dressed as conference


This Week’s Prefontaine:

Austin Vigil, Austin Vigil and Austin Vigil. He has been

spectacular, there’s no reason to think that will end now.

The Challengers:

The BYU men and women and the Air Force men – all are tough.




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