CSU track and field posts record-breaking weekend at NOCO Challenge

Mamadou Balde

The Colorado State Rams continued their record breaking-season with an exciting performance at the NOCO Challenge, which was co-hosted by CSU and the University of Northern Colorado, last weekend

Jessica Ozoude highlighted the Rams’ distance crew by becoming the program leader in the women’s 200 meters. Ozoude recorded a time of 23.65 to top CSU’s all-time list as the Rams took the top four spots in the event. Jasmine Chesson, Marybeth Sant and Destinne Rocker rounded out the top four.

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girl competes in high jump
Freshman Kate McCain jumps in the air to clear the bar during the high jump on Sunday April 15th at the NOCO Challenge meet in Greeley. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

“I think she’s (Jessica Ozoude) on the right track,” sprints and hurdles coach Karim Abdel Wahab said in a statement. “It’s awesome to see her running in the 23.6s in a headwind, especially since the next closest person was in the 24.3s. It will be exciting to see her in bigger competition next week in California and to see her in better conditions to see what she can do. It’s exciting because a performance like this can indicate a PR in the 400 meters as well. We’ll keep working hard and see what happens from here.”

Rocker has asserted her dominance in the 100-meter hurdles all season. She placed first in the event with a time of 13.58. In the women’s 400-meter hurdles, Emma Kratzberg took first place with a time of 1:00.85. Taking the crown in the men’s 110-meter hurdles was junior Jalen Hunter at 14.37.

The Rams were victorious in the men’s 800 meters behind Blake Yount’s performance. Yount finished with a time of 1:51.87. Lettia Wilson won the women’s 100 meter, finishing in 11.64.

Setting another record was Autumn Gardner in the women’s high jump. Gardner set the program record with her jump of 1.84 meters. Her mark sits at the top of the Mountain West and ranks third in the NCAA on the season. McKenzie Wright finished second with a 1.76-meter mark. Kate McCain set a new personal best at 1.61 meters, earning her third place in the event.

“What I saw today was that for Autumn to have a legitimate shot at 1.84 (meters), our school record, she had to jump 1.80 with ease and not think too much into it,” assistant coach Ryan Baily said. “That’s exactly what happened. She jumped 1.80, she relaxed, and she found a way to make 1.84. She competed out of her mind and it was exciting to see.”

CSU rounded out their day by taking the top two spots in the men’s shot put. Austin Blaho set a personal best with a mark of 17.54 meters to earn the top spot while his twin brother, Alex Blaho, took the second spot with his mark of 16.81. Maria Muzzio set a personal best of 14.31 to take the crown in the women’s shot put.

The Rams will have three meets in California between April 19 and 21 at the Mt. SAC Relays, the Pacific Coast intercollegiate and the Long Beach Invite.

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