Del Hessel, former track & field coach
Aug. 12, 2009
Colorado State and BYU were battling it out for the 2006 Mountain West Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship. BYU had never lost an indoor conference championship in the 17 years since the conference formation. At the end of the first day CSU had a nine point lead. That evening Coach Hessel gave the women's team an update on the score and a very motivating scenario on how the Rams were going to win the meet.
Both schools had strong, well balanced teams. The score was going to swing back and forth throughout the meet. BYU's strongest events would come late, the 3000 meters and the triple jump, before the last event, the mile relay. The Rams needed to score big points early. The team was fired up.
The high jump was the first event on the second day with the shot put also getting under way. The team members were running back and forth to see how each event was going. The high jumpers had a great meet. They had the individual winner at 5'10" and won four of the eight places while BYU got shut out. The shot putters were up to the challenge and nearly equaled the high jumpers' performance. The team was building a cushion. CSU scored heavily in the long jump and hurdles while BYU scored heavily in the pole vault. By now the crowd was following the drama as the announcer kept the meet at a high level of excitement by updating the score. Just as predicted BYU scored heavily in the 3000 meters and the triple jump but the Rams also scored very well, better than predicted. The entire team was a united force of determination. By the completion of the triple jump and 3000 meters BYU had a one point lead. This left the outcome of the meet to the last event, the mile relay.
At this point Coach Hessel made a decision which few coaches would have done. He scraped the original 4x400 relay and selected three new members to compliment the Ram's best 400 meter runner, Megan Fox. Coach Hessel selected three very tough competitors in Janay DeLoach, the Ram's All-American short sprints/long jumper, Rebecca Yetzer, an 800 meter runner, and Emily Pearson, a heptathlete. De Loach had never run a 400 in her life, while Rebecca and Emily had limited experience. However, these three newcomers were excellent competitors, and they were fearless competitors. This race was going to be a race of emotion, not a race of talent, but a race of who wanted to win the most. The crowd was standing, the MWC teams were caught up in the atmosphere, and the remainder of the team circled around the track to cheer.
BYU had a one point lead which meant CSU had to put one other team between themselves and BYU or the score would be a tie. The gun went off. New Mexico took the lead, CSU ran second, BYU was third at the first hand off. Rebecca was ten yards behind UNM while BYU was ten yards behind CSU and they handed off in those positions. DeLoach closed on the New Mexico runner while BYU also closed on UNM. New Mexico had a seven yard lead over CSU. Emily held the gap to seven yards for the first 200 yards, but suddenly the gap was closing. Emily ran a tremendous last 100 meters and passed UNM twenty yards from the finish line. The Rams won the relay and the meet. It was history making. CSU became the first team to defeat BYU in the MWC history.
It was a team victory. Every single point scored by each member added up to a team victory. The team was motivated in a common cause. The women's team rallied around one another in a historic event. It would be a historic event if all of the former athletes of Colorado State would rally together and support the Rams athletic department to a new financial level. If the alumni want the Rams to excel then we all have to be sincerely motivated to make this happen. It is very difficult to beat a highly motivated team.
VAC Board of Directors
Former Track & Field Coach
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