Track and field preview: Rams travel back to Air Force Academy
Jan. 25, 2012
By Chris Feller
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- For the second time in three weeks the Colorado State track and field team will travel to the Air Force Academy, to compete at the Air Force team challenge beginning Thursday, only this time the Rams are receiving some well-deserved attention.
After two weekends of first-place finishes and ample success in all event areas the Rams are starting to rise in the regional rankings. The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has the men’s team ranked fourth and the women’s squad seventh in the Mountain region.
“We’ll start to look at that more closely now,” said Head Coach Brian Bedard. “We’re a little more concerned with how we’re shaping up for the Mountain West championships. It’s kind of fun to look at, maybe it’s good for recruiting, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot to us. We’re more concerned about getting ready for the conference meet.”
CSU’s early success has been highlighted by sophomore Alex Balsiger, one of two athletes among both the men’s and women’s Mountain West athletes to own the top time in two events (mile run and 800 meters). Bedard and distance coach Bryan Berryhill are well aware of his potential.
“I don’t think it surprises Coach Berryhill what he’s doing on the track,” added Bedard, “because his workouts have gone so well. That’s not always an indicator of how people are going to compete but the way he has looked in workouts he’s just been phenomenal. It’s just nice to see that it’s crossing over to his performance on the track, which gives you an indication into his mental toughness and his confidence as a competitor.”
Last week at the Cherry and Silver Invite in Albuquerque, N.M., Balsiger won the mile run and took second in the 800-meter run.
CSU will rely heavily on Balsiger to lead the Rams in their first team-scored meet. To take home a team victory Colorado State will have to outdo the host Falcons, who are ranked third and ninth in the men’s and women’s Mountain region, respectively.
“It’s one of our first scoring meets,” mentioned Bedard, “so we’re obviously going to try to win the meet and have a good showing. There’s an overall team score and then there’s several dual-meet opportunities where they can score us against individual teams. We’re going to do that as long as we can get participation from other coaches. It’s the first time we really have our team together and can put a score to it in head-to-head competition.”
Competition begins Thursday with the men’s 60-meter dash as part of the heptathlon.
“We’ll see what we’re made of,” added Bedard. “We’re going down to try to win it. We’re still trying to figure out who we’re taking down to the conference meet so it’s another opportunity for our athletes to solidify a spot on our conference team.”