CSU track and field sees their outdoor season come to an end

Mamadou Balde

The 2018 outdoor track and field season came to a close at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The Rams sent four qualifying athletes to the event. While none of the athletes were able to lead the field in their respective events, all competing athletes earned All-America honors.

Day one of was highlighted by the performances of the Ram’s Grant Fischer and Mostafa Hassan. Fischer competed in the 10,000 meters where he placed 11th with a time of 29:20.73, earning him Second-Team All-America honors. This is Fischer’s fourth career All-America honors and his second consecutive in the 10,000 meters.

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“We thought there could be a chance that the three from Alabama could set the pace really hard,” distance coach Art Siemers said. “So the plan going in was that Grant was just going to stick his nose out there and try to finish among the top guys. He knew it’d take the race of his life to get on the podium, but he did everything in his power to try.”

“He ran really gutsy, never quit and clawed back to give himself a shot,” Siemers said. “He worked really hard, and finished as one of the best runners in the country.”

In the shot put, Hassan placed third with a throw of 20.44 meters on his second attempt. He earned First-Team All-America honors, the sixth of his accolade-ridden career.

For Hassan, the road to the NCAA Championships was slightly different than that of previous years. The Egypt native battled an injury that kept him sidelined from competition during most of the outdoor season. Hassan did not make his season debut until the Mountain West Championships and despite the lack of competition during the season, he was still able to claim the crown in the shot put event at the MW Championships.

“Considering that he had a major injury two weeks after indoor nationals, the fact that he was here and in contention to win a championship is almost a miracle,” head coach Brian Bedard said. Bedard also credited training room staff as they supported Hassan.

 

“Between our training room staff – Anne and Dray – and Coach Longo in the weight room, they did everything they could from a support staff standpoint to get him back. They deserve a lot of credit, and this is a big tribute to them, but also a big tribute to Mostafa,” Bedard said. “He didn’t lose faith and was consistent with his rehab. For him to go through that and be in a position to win a national title really speaks to what kind of competitor and man he is.”

Kelcey Bedard served as the Rams’ sole representative on day two of the NCAA’s. She finished 16th in the women’s hammer throw with a toss of 60.94 meters. The junior earned Second-Team All-America honors, the first of her career.

“Obviously Kelcey wanted to PR today and make a run at making the finals,” Bedard said. “I think that was in range for her, and I think she knows that after looking at the final results. It was her first time here and there’s a lot more at stake in this meet, so it’s a learning experience for her and part of the growing process. … As a father, I’m proud of the fact that she got here, because it’s not an easy process. She also almost had an opportunity to get in in the discus, so it was a big growing year for her. Next year, if I do my job right, she’ll have a chance to do even better.”

Rounding out the NCAAs for the Rams was Cole Rockhold. The junior placed 11th in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:00.96. Rockhold earned Second-Team All-America honors, the sixth All-America honors of his career. In CSU history, only Bryan Berryhill has more All-America honors among distance runners.

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“Cole has had a great year,” Siemers said. “I think he might have been a bit disappointed – he was sixth indoor in the mile and sixth in the 3k, so he wanted to get on the podium today. He never gave up, and that’s what I told him I was most proud of. He kicked as hard as he could down the last 100 meters even though he wasn’t in the position he wanted to be in. That’s what we have to have if we’re going to get to the next level as a distance program – a ‘no-quit’ attitude. He showed that today. With this year under his belt, it’s good to know that we have Cole back next year. He’s a great leader for our team and he’s definitely hungry after today.”

Of all the things the Rams earned during the NCAA championships, the biggest story remains what they lost. The conclusion of the 2018 outdoor season marks the end of Hassan’s career as a Ram.

During his time at CSU Hassan earned many accolades, including one NCAA Championship, four MW Championships (two outdoor and two indoor) and six All-America honors.

“In all my years of coaching, I don’t know if I’ve had an athlete as composed and disciplined as he is, and I’ve had some great ones that I don’t want to discount,” Bedard said. “Mostafa’s a special person. He’s a dominant performer, but more than that, he represents everything that you look for in a student-athlete. He’s serious about his academics, respected his teammates and bought into what we’re trying to do at CSU. He was a leader, and the ultimate student-athlete for us.”

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