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Championship Preview: Colorado State and the rest of the league will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico this weekend for the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships. Both the men and the women finished second last season. Seven student-athletes enter the championship with the best mark in the league. Senior Hannah Metzler has the top throw in the shot put, while junior John Woods has the best time in the 100 meters and senior Chris Riggs tops the 200 times. Junior Dylan Olchin has the fastest 10,000 time this season, while sophomore Jacob Benson leads the league in the high jump. Senior Brian Trainor has the best discus throw in the league and senior Drew Loftin ranks number one in the hammer.
Schedule of Events: Both senior Matt Webber and junior Zuzana Krajciova will begin competition at the Mountain West Conference Championship on Wednesday in the decathlon and heptathlon, respectively. The rest of the team will begin competing on Friday, with the preliminaries of the running events taking place. The finals that will happen on Friday include the menís and womenís hammer, pole vault, discus and long jump. The final running events are the menís and womenís steeplechase and 10,000 meters.
Top Five: In the 38 individual events at the Mountain West Championship, the Rams have at least one student-athlete ranked in the top five in 25 of those. Sophomore Katrice Thomas ranks third in both the 200 and 400 meters, while senior Mary Ridder ranks fourth in the 800 meters. Junior Katie Yemm is third in the 1500 meters and senior Meg Larson is second in the steeplechase. Senior Kim Leal and sophomores Crystal Clark and Colleen Blair rank third through fifth in the 5000 meters, respectively and Leal is second in the 10K. Junior Christine Ahn ranks fifth in the pole vault and junior Keela Niemeyer ranks second in both the shot put and the discus. Hannah Metzler is first in the shot put and fifth in the hammer, while sophomore Melissa Harms and freshman Haley Hunt are second and third, respectively in the hammer. Freshman Katie Hansen also ranks fourth in the discus and Zuzana Krajciova is fifth in the heptathlon. John Woods is first in the 100 and second in the 200, while Chris Riggs is first in the 200 and fifth in the 100. Sophomore Jake Simpson is fourth in the 100 while sophomore Brandon Kent is fifth in the 400. Brothers Paul and Bill Michel rank third and fifth, respectively in the 1500 meters, while sophomore Mike Nicks and senior Raegan Robb are second and third in the steeplechase. Dylan Olchin is first in the 10K, while sophomore Josh Glaab is right behind him. Freshman Mike Horton is second in the 110 meter hurdles and Jacob Benson leads the conference high jump and is ranked fourth in the long jump. Sophomore Josh Horak ranks fifth in the pole vault. Drew Loftin leads the conference in the hammer and is second in both the shot put and the discus, while Brian Trainor is first in the discus and fourth in the shot put. Junior Adam Trainor is second in the hammer and freshman Nate Heyrman ranks third in the discus and fifth in the shot put.
Made To Be Broken: Drew Loftin hammered his way into the school and Mountain West Conference record books. Loftin won the hammer throw at the Ward Haylett Invitational with a toss of 227-4, which breaks the all-time school record of 225-2 from Mattias Borrman in 1996 and it breaks the conference record of 221-9 from Jason Hammond of Wyoming in 2001. Loftinís throw ranks fourth among D.I athletes this season and also ranks eighth among Americans, according to USA Track & Field.
Honored: For the second time this season, Drew Loftin was named the Mountain West Conference Menís Track & Field Athlete of the Week. This week he was honored after breaking the school and conference records in the hammer with his toss of 227-4 at the Ward Haylett Invitational. The first time he was honored was for the week of April 7 after winning both the shot put and hammer at the Tom Benich Classic. Katrice Thomas was named the Mountain West Conference Womenís Track & Field Athlete of the Week for the week of April 29. At the Jack Christiansen Invitational, Thomas won the 400 meters with a personal best time of 54.55, qualifying her for the NCAA Regional Championship. Her time is just .09 shy of the school record of 54.46 held by Andrea Bush from 1990. Thomas also recorded a personal best in the 200 meters, finishing second after clocking in at 24.38. Mike Nicks was named the Mountain West Menís Athlete of the Week for the week of April 22. At the Mt. SAC Relays, Nicks recorded the third fastest time ever in the Mountain West in the steeplechase and the second fastest in Colorado State history with a time of 8:51.73. Nicks time is just two seconds off the CSU record, which has stood since 1979 (Elliot Drumright - 8:49.70). Nicks also regionally qualified for the NCAA Championship.
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.
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:
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
Coming To An End: The Rams will say goodbye to 18 student-athletes who have competed in track and field. Those 18 are: Chris Clarke, Jason Galus, Amber Johnson, Jennifer Kintzley, Ammon Larsen, Meg Larson, Kim Leal, Drew Loftin, Hannah Metzler, Gabe Olchin, Mary Ridder, Chris Riggs, Raegan Robb, Anya Sawyer, Brian Trainor, Kim Watson, Matt Webber and Brian Williams.