Rams make great strides in Siemers' second year

Head Coach Art Siemers

Head Coach Art Siemers

Jan. 14, 2014

After just one year of experience with their new Head Coach, the Rams showed significant improvement with Art Siemers at the helm in 2013.

Flying under the radar for most of the preseason, the men’s squad turned heads when they finished second at the Roy Griak Inviational in late September. The team finished just 12 points behind No. 4 BYU, and surpassed two other ranked schools. Junior Andrew Goodman paced the CSU pack and the top four finishers all crossed the finish line within 7 seconds of each other. It was a great team finish, and that would become a theme for the entire season. Goodman earned MW Athlete of the Week for his team-leading time of 24 minutes, 41 seconds, placing ninth overall.

Following the meet, the men’s team earned national recognition, entering Week 3 of the season ranked No. 16 in the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association National Coaches Poll. The Rams now had to prove that it wasn’t a fluke performance, and they did just that, taking down their top competition in the Mountain West, New Mexico, and placing fifth overall at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Week 4 would be CSU’s highest ranking of the season. Coming in at No. 15 in the USTFCCCA poll, it was the highest the men have been ranked in 10 years, since 2003.

The men would sit out the next meet at Pre-Nationals, allowing the women to gain some momentum after injuries had plagued them early on. In a very competitive field of runners, senior Kaitlin Hanenburg took top honors for the Rams, running her best time in the 6,000-meter race so far at 21:57.11. The bye knocked the men down a few spots to No. 22, but the Rams would remained ranked in the national poll for the rest of the season.


 

 

Colorado State races among the toughest competition in the Mountain Region, and it was no exception at the Mountain West Cross Country Championships, held in Colorado Springs, Colo. The No. 22 men were up against three other nationally ranked squads in No. 9 New Mexico, No. 20 Boise State and No. 28 Air Force. This time it was senior Ben Larson who was the top finisher for CSU, who shaved 10 seconds off his 8K season-best, placing seventh overall with a time of 24:32.26. He earned first-team all-Mountain West honors for his performance, while teammates Goodman, Christian Meyer, Jefferson Abbey and Alex Muntefering all made second-team all-conference. It was the most conference accolades for the CSU men in league history.

Not to be overshadowed by the men’s success, the women placed third out of 11 teams, edging out home-team Air Force, which was ranked sixth in the region, by just one point. The race was highlighted by Mountain West Freshman of the Year, Sanne Holland, who ran the best rookie time of 22:51.20, taking 31st overall.

The team continued on to regionals. Hanenburg topped her previous best in the 6K, taking 39th overall, leading the women’s team to a 10th-place finish. Proving how good the mountain region is, the men earned an at-large bid to the championship with a sixth-place finish, the Rams first trip to nationals in nine years.

Entering the NCAA championship ranked for the fifth consecutive week at No. 27, the men placed one spot ahead of their seed in 26th place, the best finish for the Rams since 2003. Meyer was the top finisher for CSU, the fourth different athlete to pace the squad that year. He finished 96th overall, clocking 31:17.2 in the 10K race. Colorado State ended 2013, its best season in 10 years, ranked No. 26 in the national poll.

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