Feb 242005
 
Authors: Amanda Havekost

The Rams indoor track and field season has led up to the Mountain West Conference Championship meet this weekend at the Air Force Academy.

This is the teams' fourth visit to Colorado Springs during the six-week season, and the Rams are looking to go undefeated at the academy.

Competition began Thursday with the men's heptathlon and women's pentathlon. Preliminary events will be held today, and champions will be named following the finals on Saturday.

The men's team is tied with Arizona and Texas Tech in the Trackwire Top 25 poll for No. 18 in the nation.

The teams have at least three athletes ranking in the top 10 in 12 different events in the MWC. Seven individuals are predicted to come in first this weekend in nine events, according to the MWC. The men's distance medley team is also predicted to place first.

With numbers like that, the team is looking forward to proving itself this weekend and making head coach Del Hessel proud. Senior MWC All American athlete Jacob Benson has 23 top-three finishes. He said Hessel has been an encouragement for him.

"I look up to him so much," Benson said. "He always has a smile on his face and is one of the best coaches I've ever had."

Six men and two women are expected to take first in the championship. Senior John Woods is expected to take first in the 60 meter and the 200 on Saturday. Woods has come in first or second place in every 200 race since Feb. 8, 2002. Out of 22 career races in the 55 or 60, Woods has finished lower than third once.

This week, senior Adam Trainor was named MWC Athlete of the Week and is predicted to place first in the weight throw for the fourth time this season.

Senior record breaker Josh Glaab is ranked No. 1 in the 5000. Junior Mike Horton is tied for a first-place ranking in the 60 hurdles.

Fans will look to sophomore Magnus Lohse to beat out the competition in the shot put and win his fifth consecutive competition.

The rankings predict 2004 MWC Indoor All-Conference Team member Loree Smith, a senior, to sweep the shot put and the weight throw and claim double championships.

Sophomore Janay DeLoach has the best time in the MWC for the 60 and is expected to take first this weekend.

Junior jumper Amanda Huddleston said Rams fans who wish to cheer on the teams this weekend are in for a great meet. Huddleston has claimed 15 top-three finishes and is the only athlete in school history to clear the 40-foot barrier. She made it past the mark last year in the MWC championships.

"We have national-caliber athletes so our meets are exciting," Huddleston said.

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