Feb. 2, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – In the final head-to-head competition of the season, the Rams didn’t back down, defeating Air Force, 157-143, Saturday afternoon at the Cadet Natatorium.
“We had a great team effort,” Head Coach Christopher Woodard said. “We definitely let some opportunities slip through our fingers, so it was a little closer than I’d like to see, but it was a really great effort and that’s what it took to come out with a win."
CSU’s obvious strengths were in the backstroke events. Breann Fuller led the backstroke team to sweep the top three spots in the 100 Backstroke, along with Jessica Shepard and Michelle Hawkins. Again in the 200 Backstroke, Fuller and Shepard took first and second, respectively. With the leadership of school-record holder Fuller, CSU can be confident in its backstroke core heading into the Mountain West Championship.
The divers were also unbeatable on the 1- and 3-Meter boards. The top four spots were claimed by CSU, with two athletes setting season top times. In first place, Maxelise Thorn set the fourth-highest scoring dive of the season on the 3-Meter boards with 271.72 points. Mary Kate Hardy scored just below Thorn, with 270.90 points, for second place and the fifth-highest score of the season.
The Rams again took the top four positions in the 1-Meter diving event, this time led by Paige Greely in first place. The freshman dominated the event with the highest score of the season—which had gone untouched since October—at 278.33.
Senior Arianne Lujan continues to be one of CSU’s most reliable athletes. After helping secure first in the 200 Medley Relay, Lujan took two more firsts in the 100 and 200 Butterfly.
This win comes as the punctuation to CSU’s fullest two weeks of competition this season. The Rams will now turn their attention to recovering before the Mountain West Championship, Feb. 20-23, in San Antonio, Texas.
“We plan rest—a lot, a lot of rest," Woodard said. "With four meets in the span of 15 days, the fatigue has definitely started to pile up, so we need rest. Hopefully that rest will bring along some speed and then we’ll just hammer out all the little details on starts, turns, under waters and all the little technical details."
Although the Rams finish their season with a losing record, they should not be overlooked in the slightest for the Championship. CSU has proven itself to be the dark horse of Championship-style meets. With adequate taper time, the Rams are sure to set some of the fastest times in CSU history at the Championship.