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CSU Track & Field establishes itself as firm Mountain West contender

TAS_Track_and_Field

As the school year winds down, CSU Track and Field’s season is heating up. Both the men and women’s teams competed in Las Vegas this past weekend for the Mountain West Track and Field Outdoor Championships.

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The men narrowly missed out on first place, trailing Air Force Academy by four points as the meet closed on Saturday. The women took third, behind San Diego State and New Mexico.

Even though neither team took the top spot, the meet showcased the Ram’s growing talent in the middle of their season. And after the awards were given, more than one Ram walked away with a blue ribbon.

Junior Trevor Brown’s first place finish in the 110-meter hurdles may not have come as a surprise, but it certainly helped the team. Between the 110 hurdles, the 400 hurdles and a leg in the 4 x 100, Brown scored 20 points for his team.

Brown dominated the final heat of the 110s, taking first by over three tenths of a second, with a final time of 13.78 seconds. He broke his own Mountain West Outdoor record set in 2012. But Brown feels he has more to give.

“I heard the announcer say I broke it right when I finished, but it would have been cooler if it was a personal best,” Brown said. “I know I can do better. I want to get top eight at NCAA, and go up from there.”

Freshman walk on, Sam Little, performed admirably as well. He showed true potential taking fifth in the 110s and third in the 400 meter hurdles.

“He should be able to compete in the first round of the NCAA tournament, that’s huge,” hurdles coach Karim Abdel Wahab said. “He has a lot of potential to become a great hurdler, and his energy can help us a lot.”

Sophomore Stephanie Gerber impressed spectators all weekend, taking her preliminary heat before finishing sixth overall in the women’s 400-meter hurdles, one of the most taxing events on the track.

“She made a huge jump from last year’s times,” Wahab said. “She has great potential two more years left. Hopefully we can visit the NCAA finals before she graduates.”

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CSU showcased their depth away from the track, with a first-place finish from freshman shot-putter, Tyler Schultz. In his first outdoor conference meet, Schultz made a toss of 59-4 meters, two meters better than Air Force’s second-place finisher.

Freshman JT Van Veen came away from the meet with a first-place finish as well, in the discus throw before placing fifth in the shot put.

For women, sophomore Kiah Hicks added to her highlight-studded season with a second-place finish in the discus throw, with a toss of 179-6 meters. She continues to improve, and over the next four years, the slew of young talent in the field will make waves for CSU.

“We just come to practice and focus everyday, work on being open minded and able to take criticism from coaches and teammates,” Hicks said. “I’ve been watching JT and Tyler work so hard, and it was awesome to see their performances.”

On the distance side, junior Seth Butler, who has been garnering plenty of attention for his consistent performance, took fourth place in the men’s 800-meter run. Butler, who qualified for nationals in the 800 in 2011 is one to watch for the rest of the season, as he continues to best himself.

The Rams have a couple of weeks to recover before they take it to Austin for the NCAA Prelims on May 23. This kicks off their month of intense competition before the end of the season.

Sports Reporter Cali Rastrelli can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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