Track & field preview: Rams ready for MWC championships
Feb. 25, 2010
By Mallory Mortvedt
FORT COLLINS, Colo.—The Colorado State indoor track team will make its second trip of the season to the University of New Mexico this weekend, where it will compete in the Mountain West Conference championships starting Thursday.
The Rams are hoping to be fairly accustomed to the Albuquerque Convention Center, having been there once already this season. CSU is looking to improve on a third-place finish by the women’s team and a fourth-place finish by the men last season, and will compete against teams from Air Force, Brigham Young, New Mexico, TCU, Wyoming, San Diego State, UNLV and Utah.
The Rams feature 20 returnees who scored in at least one individual event last season and 19 athletes that won at least one event this season. CSU is led by defending champions Tanesha Johnson, Jennifer Ugochukwu , Tyson Williams and Sonni Russell. Williams and Russell earned all-conference honors last season.
“Obviously, we want our athletes to compete extremely aggressive, stay focused, and have their best effort of the season,” said Head Coach Brian Bedard. “I would really like to see some good team support, having all our athletes standing around the track supporting and encouraging their teammates on.
“From a team standpoint, I think that dynamic is really important to have a lot of support from fellow team members and coaches because I think that leads to really good performances when they’re being supported by their team.”
Bedard hopes that support will lead to the Rams meeting their goal of finishing among the conference’s best.
“As far as placing, I think if we compete extremely well we could have a top-three finish on the women’s side, and hopefully a top-three finish on the men’s side as well, and that’s if everybody competes extremely well and does their own job plus some.”
The Rams expect to face some stiff competition from several teams, especially last season’s champion, BYU. The Cougars have routinely been dominant in MWC track and field, winning all but three indoor team championships in the 10 years of the conference. CSU has broken through twice, with the men winning in 2002 and the women in 2006.
“I think BYU on both the men’s and women’s side are going to be the dominate teams in the conference,” said Bedard. “I would also put TCU up there as the front runners for the meet. After that, I think it will be between us, New Mexico, Air Force and Wyoming for the next top spots.”
For the men’s team, the athletes competing include Nnamdi Agwu (long jump, triple jump), Ryan Billups (long jump, triple jump), Cameron Carter (shot put, weight throw), Kirk Cooper (pole vault, heptathlon), Kelby Dias (60-meter hurdles), Doug Dieker (pole vault), Brian Fox (200 meters, 400 meters, 4x400-meter relay), Jeff Holt (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters), Nigel Joseph (400 meters, 60-meter hurdles, 4x400- meter relay), Jake Keyser (3,000 meters,5,000 meters), Andrew Lesser (3,000 meters,5,000 meters), Ian Lettow (shot put, weight throw), Spenser Lynass (mile run, 3,000 meters), Josh Murphy (60 meters, 4x400- meter relay), John O’Neill (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters), Alec Pott (shot put, weight throw), Andrew Roberts (mile run, 3,000 meters, 4x400- meter relay), Carson Rowley (shot put, weight throw), Sulaiman Sayyid (60 meters, 200 meters), Tyler Short (800 meters, 4x400- meter relay), Daniel Wallis (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters) and Williams (shot put, weight throw).
For the women’s side, the athletes competing include Meagan Berg (weight throw), Cate Brus (high jump, pentathlon, 4x400- meter relay), Michelle Dettmann (mile run, 3,000 meters), Olivia Downing (high jump, triple jump), Kendra Gerk (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters), Whitney Henderson (800 meters, 4x400- meter relay), Sarah Heuer (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters), Serena Johnson (shot put, weight throw), Tanesha Johnson (60 meters, 200 meters, long jump, triple jump, 4x400 meters), Kristen Kugler (high jump, pentathlon, 4x400- meter relay), Nicole Peters (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters), Ellie Rastall (3,000 meters, 5,000 meters),Russell (high jump), Ugochukwu (shot put, weight throw), Aliese Willard (mile run, 4x400- meter relay) and Sophia Wagner (pentathlon).
For those that wish to follow the action, real-time results will be available at 2010 MWC Indoor Track & Field Championship Central, at www.themwc.com.