Fischer, Hassan, Rockhold to represent CSU at NCAA Indoor Championships

Mamadou Balde

The NCAA Championships have arrived and the Colorado State Rams are as ready as they’ll ever be. The event will be held from College Station, Texas where shot putter Mostafa Hassan and distance runners Cole Rockhold and Grant Fischer will represent the Rams’ track & field team.

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Redshirt junior Cole Rockhold runs at the CU Invitational on Feb. 3, 2018. Rockhold will be competing in the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 9 and 10. (Jack Starkebaum | Collegian)

The Rams haven’t seen action in two weeks since the Mountain West Championships where they placed second on both the men’s and women’s side. Hassan, Rockhold and Fischer were the only Rams to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The three used their time away from the track to rest and train in preparation for the national competition.

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Track & field head coach Brian Bedard spoke on the last week for Hassan, the reigning MW and NCAA shot put champion. Hassan won the title with a mark of 20.62 meters and took the crown by just under three meters.

“Mostafa, initially, was getting back in the weight room, and practice as usual. I had him back off of some stuff and have him work on his speed and streamline his technique,” Bedard said. “The biggest thing is you want people to be healthy and we got three guys that are healthy, coming out here in excellent shape which makes them feel really good about their training.”

For the two distance runners, the off weeks looked slightly different with rest still being one of the main focuses. Fischer and Rockhold focused on condensing their long run and tailoring their running mechanics, said distance coach Art Siemers.

“They both had some tough races at conference—they had great races but they were physically tough races,” Siemers said. “So we took a few days easy there and then we had a pretty tough workout last week on Wednesday and this week we’ve been…tapering back and trying to go into Nationals fresh with good legs and hopefully they’ll be ready to run their best.”

Rockhold held his own at the MW championships. He placed second in the mile behind the reigning NCAA Champion Josh Kerr. Rockhold posted a time of 3:56.85, second in meet history.

Fischer earned the individual title for the 5,000 meters in a close race with Utah State’s Dillon Maggard. Fischer edged out Maggard with a time of 14:39.43 to take the individual crown.

 The three Rams competing at the National Championships are familiar with the meet and know what to expect from competition. Confidence will be key for the Rams.

“I was fortunate enough to come here last year, so I feel like I kind of know the drill,” Fischer said. “I feel like I’m ready for a fast race or a slow race or kind of anything in between. My training has been pretty well. I’ve had a lot of consistency so I’m feeling good about it.”

“I’m really ready and really confident in my training and the knowledge that Siemers has given me,” Rockhold added. “I’m super confident heading into this weekend.”

The NCAA Championships will be held on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10. The meet will be viewable via ESPN3 starting Friday at 4:30 p.m. MT.

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