Jan. 16, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
FORT COLLINS, Colo. --First-place Colorado State (6-0, 4-0 Mountain West) boarded a westward-bound bus Wednesday afternoon, headed toward a pair of respective duals at 2007 conference champion BYU (Thursday) and 2006 conference champion Utah (Saturday).
The showdown at BYU's Richards Building Pool features the conference's two best teams this season. Like the Rams, the Cougars are 4-0 in conference duals.
"We're going in with hopefully an attitude that has no fear," Head Coach John Mattos said. "There's no questioning about what we could potentially do."
CSU could potentially win the Mountain West championship, Feb. 27-March 1, something the Rams have never done since the inception of the MWC. In fact, the Rams haven't won a title since winning the 1996 Western Athletic Conference championship.
But rest assured, the team is taking one meet at a time. The Rams just completed a two-week winter training camp, split between Fort Collins and San Diego, and they know BYU always is difficult.
"We're coming off a heavy training phase, so I know we'll be a little tired," Mattos said. "Hopefully we can catch BYU or Utah in a similar situation, where they're tired as well."
But Mattos knows the Cougars will be geared up even more with first place on the line.
"BYU is always ready for us," Mattos said. "They never take us for granted. Our objective is to dive well and swim like there's no tomorrow."
THE COUGARS AT A GLANCE
The Rams look to snap a three-year losing streak to the Cougars, who haven't lost to CSU since the 2003-04 season. BYU is fresh off a pair of victories last week, having defeated TCU and San Diego State.
Head coach Stan Crump has held the reins of the Cougars' program since 1980, and joins Mattos as one of the MWC's most experienced swimming coaches.
BYU owns conference wins over New Mexico, UNLV, TCU and San Diego State.
Natasha Menezes, a product of Colorado's Cherry Creek High School, has dominated the Cougars' mid- and distance-freestyle events, while freshman Aleesha Miller is BYU's top sprinter.
In the backstroke events, Sarah Jayne Christianson and Tara Patience figure to challenge Colorado State's Michelle Price.
THE UTES AT A GLANCE
CSU squares off with Utah (4-3, 3-1 MWC) at the Ute Natatorium Saturday at 4 p.m.
Utah, who is staring at five MWC duals over a 20-day stretch, will host its final home meet. Five seniors will be swimming for the last time at home.
CSU will be looking to avenge a loss to Utah at Moby Pool last season. The Utes knocked off the Rams, 180-120.
Utah head coach Greg Winslow is in his first year at the helm of the Utes.
CSU TOPPLES AZTECS
Fort Collins products Maddie Gamble
, Michelle Price
and Nora Kennedy
each captured two events to lead unblemished Colorado State past San Diego State, 182-110, Jan. 9 in San Diego. Carmen Gisella Cianci
also notched a pair of wins in CSU's team triumph.
"It was a very good start to the second half of the season," said Mattos, whose team won every race until declaring its swimmers as exhibition competitors in the final two events.
The meet, part of a double-dual that also included an SDSU-Boise State matchup, was held at the University of San Diego's swim complex. The final score reflected a diving competition that took place Jan. 8 on San Diego State's campus, where Rams senior Elyse Hall took both events.
CSU improved its record in duals to 6-0, and preserved its hold on first place in the Mountain West with a 4-0 conference mark.
The Rams were anything but flat in their first competition since Nov. 18, and Gamble got them started in the day's first individual race. The freshman from Poudre High School in Fort Collins swam the 1,000 Freestyle in 10:23.30, a lifetime best and one of the top times in program history. It was more than 10 seconds better than her season's previous best, and she wasn't done.
Gamble also captured the 500 Free in 5:07.43, shortly after finishing second to Price in the 200 Backstroke.
Price, also a freshman from Poudre High School, won that event in 2:05.80. Earlier in the meet, Price also edged the field in the 100 Back, finishing in 59.33.
MATTOS EARNS 200TH VICTORY
Head Coach John Mattos
picked up his 200th career dual win Oct. 27 in Colorado Springs. Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk honored Mattos at presentation during halftime of CSU's men's basketball game, Nov. 1.