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Up Next: The Rams will travel to compete in warm weather for the first time this season. On Friday evening, the teams will compete at the Mesa Classic in Mesa, Arizona and then will compete in the Sun Angel Classic on Saturday in Tempe. Both meets begin at 4:00 p.m. and are expecting weather in the mid-80s temperature wise. That will be almost twice the temperature of the last two meets as the weather has been in the 40s in Colorado.
Major Rule Changes: The NCAA has adopted a new system of qualifying for the NCAA Championship this season in outdoor track & field. The Division I institutions are divided into four regions: east, mideast, midwest and west. Student-athletes must obtain a regional qualifying time/mark and then will compete in the NCAA Regional Championship on May 30-31. The Rams are in the midwest region which will be held at the University of Nebraska. The region includes institutions from Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming (a total of 39 DI schools). The top five finishers in each event will then advance to the NCAA Championship to be held at Sacramento State University June 11-14.
Honored: Junior Drew Loftin was named the Mountain West Conference Menís Track & Field Athlete of the Week for the week of April 7 after his performance in the throwing events at the Tom Benich Classic. Loftin won both the shot put and the hammer throw with NCAA regional qualifying marks. He put the shot 55-3.75 and had a throw of 220-2 in the hammer, which ranks third in the nation this season and seventh among Americans, according to USA Track & Field.
Record Breaking Performance: Kim Leal won the 5000 meters at the Tom Benich Classic on Saturday. Her time of 17:28.32 breaks the stadium record of 17:30.60 held by former Ram standout Sarah Piccolo in 1999.
Tom Benich Classic Recap: Colorado State was in Greeley over the weekend for the Tom Benich Classic and several student-athletes regionally qualified for the NCAA Championship.
The womenís team had champions in seven events with Keela Niemeyer leading the way after winning the discus throw (159-6) and turning in the top collegiate performance in the hammer throw (173-11 -- 2nd overall). She also placed second in the shot put (47-2.25) behind teammate Hannah Metzler (49-1). The Rams swept six of the top eight spots in the womenís shot put, seven of the top eight in the discus and the top four spots among collegians in the hammer throw. Mary Ridder (2:13.62) and Becky Hammitt (2:16.47) also swept the top two spots in the 800 meters for the Rams, while Kim Leal (17:28.32) and Jennifer Kintzley (17:51.00) took the top two positions in the 5000 meters, Meg Larson won the steeplechase with a time of 10:58.49 and Christine Ahn cleared 11-5.25 in the pole vault to win that event.
Women who regionally qualified on Saturday were: Larson in the steeplechase; Metzler and Niemeyer in the shot put; Niemeyer and Katie Hansen in the discus; and Niemeyer, Melissa Harms and Haley Hunt in the hammer throw.
The menís team had champions in eight individual events and the 4x100 meter relay. John Woods won the 100 meters (10.59), while he finished second in the 200 meters (21.61) behind teammate Chris Riggs (21.60). Mike Nicks won the 1500 meters (3:54.41), leading a contingent of five Rams among the top six collegians. Mike Horton won the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.25 and Justin Hazzard led a trio of Rams to the finish in the 400 hurdles with his 52.69. The 4x100 meter relay won easily, crossing the finish line in 41.08, almost 9/10ths of a second ahead of second place Wyoming. Drew Loftin (55-3.75) and Brian Trainor (54-7.25) took the top two spots in the shot put, while Trainor was the top collegian in the discus (193-8). His throw currently ranks him second among NCAA Division I competitors. Loftin also won the hammer throw (220-2) with the third best throw this season among Division I competitors, while Adam Trainor was second among collegians on Saturday with this throw of 192-7.
Men who regionally qualified on Saturday were: Hazzard in the 400 meter hurdles; Nicks in the 1500 meters; Loftin and Brian Trainor in the shot put; Brian Trainor in the discus; and Loftin, Adam Trainor and James Cale in the hammer.
Immediate Impact: A quartet of freshmen have already regionally qualified after just two meets collegiately. On the menís side, Mike Horton and Justin Hazzard both won the hurdle events, with Horton qualifying in the 110 meters and Hazzard qualifying in the 400. For the women, Katie Hansen qualified in the discus and Haley Hunt qualified in the hammer throw.
Personal Bests: Several student-athletes recorded personal bests over the weekend. On the womenís side: Colleen Blair in the 1500 meters, Danielle Buzzell in the 1500 meters, Megan Casey in both the 200 and 400 meters, Crystal Clark in the 1500 meters, Jill Ferguson in the 200 meters, Katie Hansen in the discus, Jenny Higgason in the high jump, Haley Hunt in both the discus and hammer, Zuzana Krajciova in the 100 hurdles, 200 meters, 400 hurdles, 800 meters, high jump, long jump, javelin and heptathlon, Kim Leal in the 5000 meters, Andrea Little in the 100 hurdles, Jill McCormick in the shot put, discus and hammer, Keela Niemeyer in the discus and hammer, Justine Square in the 100 hurdles, 400 meters, 800 meters, high jump, long jump, javelin and heptathlon, Sara Taylor in the discus and hammer and Katrice Thomas in the 100 meters.
On the menís side: Dylan Baker in the 800 meters, Jacob Benson in the long jump, Jason Galus in the 5000 meters, Joel Griffin in the 400 meters, Justin Hazzard in the 400 hurdles, Nate Heyrman in the hammer, David Hoesly in the 400 hurdles, Mike Horton in the 100 meters and 110 hurdles, Brian Kelly in the 800 meters, Brandon Kent in the 200 meters, Drew Loftin in the shot put and hammer, Brett Melin in the 800 meters, Paul Michel in the 800 meters, Mike Nicks in the 800 meters and 1500 meters, Chris Riggs in the 100 meters, Raegan Robb in the 800 meters and 1500 meters, Adam Trainor in the hammer, Brian Trainor in the discus and Austin Vigil in the 1500 meters.
2002 Returning All-Conference Performers: To earn all-conference honors, an athlete must finish in the top three in their individual event. Last season, the Rams had 19 named to the all-conference squad for their finishes in 29 different events. A list of those who return to compete in 2003 follows:
Chris Ahlgrim, javelin
Christine Ahn, pole vault
Meg Larson, steeplechase
Kim Leal, 5000 meters, 10,000 meters
Hannah Metzler, shot put, hammer
Mary Ridder, 800 meters
Chris Riggs, 4x100 relay
Adam Trainor, shot put, hammer
Tom Waido, 110 meters, 400 hurdles
Kim Watson, 1500 meters
John Woods, 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100 relay