CSU track & field looks to repeat at MW Championships

Mamadou Balde

Colorado State track & field is on its way to yet another Mountain West Championship where they hope to repeat as conference champions on both the men’s and women’s side.

Pole vaulter goes over bar
Junior Hayden Williams pole vaults at the CU Open in Boulder on Feb. 3. (Jack Starkebaum | Collegian)

The key for the Rams last year was their rise to occasion. In clutch situations, the Rams combated the opposition and held their own. This season, the Rams will have to have the best meet possible if they hope to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

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“We just try to put together the best meet we possibly can as a team and support each other the best we can,” head coach Brian Bedard said. “We let the officials add up the points at the end and see where we end up.”

With multiple Rams registering times on CSU’s top-20 all-time indoor lists and two broken program records, the Rams have put together solid meets all season long.

33 of the times on CSU’s all-time indoor lists are from current Rams. Senior Grant Fischer broke the program record for the 5,000-meters at the Husky Classic. Fischer registered a time of 13:44.24, breaking the record set by teammate Jerrell Mock just a year ago (13:44.65). Cole Rockhold also bested a program record this season in the 3,000-meters. Rockhold registered a time of 7:50.10, breaking Jefferson Abbey’s previous record by over one second.

“Like any season…our team personality changes a little bit and our leadership changes a bit,” Bedard said. “But we do have enough athletes on both the men’s and the women’s team that were part of one or more championships and I think that has a lot of value as far as keeping composure and having younger athletes how to get it done at a championship meet.”

The Rams aren’t competing for a title this season, they are defending their title. With multiple freshman having contributed to the Rams’ championship run, the experience from returning members is a valuable aspect for the team. The focus will shift to the women’s team, whose roster is filled with younger athletes that were not a part of the Rams’ championship last year.

“That experience helps, we have a fairly young women’s team so I’m assuming they’ll get swept up in the whole thing and get excited and figure out what it’s all about as we get started. That’s the hope,” Bedard said.

The Mountain West Championships will take place from Feb. 22-24 in Albuquerque, N.M. Should all go well for the Rams at the MW Championships, they will compete at the NCAA Championships held in College Station, Texas.

“I just think we have a good opportunity on both the men’s and women’s side that we have a shot at competing for a championship,” Bedard said. “Anytime we’re in that position, I think, it makes the meet a lot more fun and exciting… I feel very thankful as a head coach to be in that position.”

Collegian sports reporter Mamadou Balde can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @mamadoubalde62.