The CSU track and field athletes will try to strut their stuff in front of national competition in the 34th Annual Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. this weekend. The meet will be all about the individual athletes to show what they can do in NCAA Division-I competition, with no strings attached to their teammates in scoring this weekend.
Two of the top 25 schools for both men and women will make their presence known — Michigan and Arizona. Other big names will be UTEP, Rice and UCLA. There will be 19 teams and over 400 athletes competing in this two-day meet.
Head coach Brian Bedard knows that the competition is stiff, but he is more focused on his team and how they perform, rather than how high they finish in standings.
“It’s high caliber competition, and it’s going to be another learning experience for some of our younger athletes,” Bedard said. “This is what track and field is all about.”
The athletes are pretty excited for the weekend too. Alex Godell, a senior weight thrower, has made the provision mark two weeks in a row. He is looking forward to the competition.
“There is quite a few big schools coming out and there will be big competition . I’m really looking forward to some big competition, it’ll be a good meet,” Godell said.
Godell has been performing very well in recent weeks. In practice he throws close to 68 feet, but his personal best in competition is 65 feet and five inches. This mark made the sixth longest throw in CSU history. Bedard says that he would need 70 feet to make a qualifying mark for the NCAA championship.
Some of the athletes like junior high-jumper Sonni Russell are excited to see new athletes they don’t get to see often.
“I’m excited to compete against some school see haven’t competed against yet, and see some new athletes and new competition,” Russell said.
The athletes are working hard in practices and gearing up for the weekend. They know about the level of competition they are going to see, but they keep their minds on their own game.
“There is a lot more talent (in college),” said Caston Mabin, a freshman high jumper. “But mentally everything is the same, jumping is the same, it’s no different.”
Another freshman is distance runner Nicole Peters, but being a freshman doesn’t stop her from setting high goals for her self. She is a determined athlete and is running beyond expectations.
“(Peters is) just a great competitor. She is not running like a freshman, she is running with a lot of courage and determination,” Bedard said.
A four-year letter winner, Peters is still adjusting to the college level of running but is confident that she will be back in the groove before long. This weekend will be a good chance for her to represent all freshmen.
“I’m preparing, I want really do what I think I can do. Just to show everyone that a freshman can do good too,” Peters said.
This weekend will present a challenge for the athletes, both externally to compete, but also internally to prove to themselves that they can succeed. Bedard said that that success can be in athletics but also in the classroom.
“We encourage our athletes — make your mark at Colorado State,” Bedard said. What will be your legend here?”
Track beat reporter Scott Callahan can be reached at email@example.com.