After a busy week traveling to competitions in Arizona and Boulder, the CSU track and field team returns to Fort Collins to host the Ram Open Saturday at Jack Christiansen Track.
“This week we will start to get a good idea of our conference team,” CSU coach Brian Bedard said. “We will start setting the teams and looking at what we have. This is a weekend where we start to evaluate who can score points where for us.”
Schools such as Northern Colorado, Air Force, Wyoming, CU-Boulder and smaller schools across Colorado will be sending athletes to the meet. Also, since it is an open meet, Fort Collins residents are allowed to compete as well. Former Ram great Casey Malone is expected to compete in the discus again, as he did in Rob Upton Invitational earlier this year at CSU.
“Wyoming will be here and they have a few good throwers so it will be good to go against them,” junior thrower Missy Faubus said.
Faubus was one of many team members to compete in both the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Ariz., and the Mesa Classic hosted by Mesa (Ariz.) Community College last week. She won the discus and shot put events at the Mesa Classic.
“I felt that I competed horribly at Sun Angel, but I felt ok with how Mesa went,” Faubus said. “My goal this weekend is to bring my consistency up in the discus. I’ve thrown 175′, 165′, and 151′ the past three weeks. I need to keep throws in the high 170’s.”
The Rams sent about 25 athletes to the Sun Angel Classic on April 12, including the middle distance runners, sprinters, jumpers and throwers. A strong field of teams participated in the meet, including power houses such as Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas, as well as 2007 NCAA women’s national champion Arizona State.
Senior Drew Morano had the best performance by a Ram on the track as he lowered his school record time in the 400-meter dash to 45.91 seconds to finish third.
Freshman Nigel Joseph ran a regional qualifying time of 52.2 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles to finish seventh, while fellow freshman Ryan Friese finished third in the 800-meter with a time of 1:52.35.
Friese continues to excel in the 800-meter after switching events from the triple jump.
“It was probably the best decision for track I’ve ever made,” Friese said. “I enjoy the triple jump, but the 800 has been great for me. The physical aspect is tough as well as the mental battle. I now know how to run the race and I feel bad afterwards but something about it keeps me coming back for more.”
Friese is a just more than one second away from the regional qualifying time in the 800-meter, a mark he wants to hit this weekend.
“I would definitely like to hit the regional mark in the 800-meter this weekend,” Friese said. “It will be a little tougher at elevation this weekend but I am only one second and three tenths away.”
Also at the Sun Angel Classic, senior Jason Schutz continued his dominance as he won the discus with a toss of 188-1.
Schutz and the rest of the throwers also traveled to the Mesa Classic before the Sun Angel Classic on April 11.
Schutz was the top collegiate finisher in the invitational section of the men’s hammer and the top overall finisher in the men’s discus. Sophomore Cameron Carter finished third in the invitational discus.
The remainder of the team, including the distance runners, traveled to Boulder for the CU Invitational on April 12. The Rams competed against several Front Range schools including Air Force, Wyoming, and Northern Colorado.
Freshman Emily Guebelle threw a personal best 147-00 in the discus, which was nearly 10 feet better than her previous best.
Sophomores Travis Smith and Sonni Russell both finished third in the triple-jump, while freshman Michelle Roberts won the long jump with a leap of 17-3.5.
The Ram Open begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at Jack Christiansen Track, which is located at the east edge of campus across the rail road tracks. The forecast for Saturday calls for clear sunny skies and a high of 76 degrees.
Sports writer Stephen Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.