Track and field successful at MW Indoor Championships

Leo Friedman

The men’s track and field team left New Mexico this weekend with another Mountain West Indoor Championship to add to their collection: their third championship in four years. Unfortunately, the women’s team came back with third place after entering the third day of the meet with a dominating lead in first place.

The Rams concluded their time in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with an impressive 22 top-three finishes and four athletes winning five events. The highlight of the individual performances in the championship was field athlete junior Tarynn Sieg, who won both the weight throw and shot put.

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On the first day of the tournament, senior Amelia Harvey and sophomore Lexie Keller made it onto Colorado State’s all-time top 10 list and finished second and third in the pentathlon, respectively. Harvey also notched a personal record of 2:20.06, enough to bump her onto the podium.

“Both teams competed extremely well in the first day,” coach Brian Bedard said. “Our multi-event crew had numerous lifetime bests and were Ram tough all day. The (distance men’s relays) had some youngers carrying the batons, but they competed like veterans. It should be a fun team meeting tonight.”

CSU was gifted a surprise on the men’s side Friday, as the Rams all-freshman squad of Tom Oates, Tom Willems, Ryan Birkmeier and Thomas Chaston clocked in at 10:02.77 for the distance medley relay to get a podium placement of third.

Friday ended with the men’s team in second place and the women’s team comfortably on top of the leaderboard. Saturday was just as successful for the Green and Gold; five athletes won medals on the second day of the Indoor Championships.

Junior Eric Lundgren placed second in the 60-meter hurdles and achieved personal records in the pole vault and 1,000-meter race. Lundgren is now settled at eighth place on CSU’s all-time points list. CSU distance phenom Eric Hamer also won his best event, the 5,000-meter race, in emphatic fashion, crossing the finish line at 14:24.30.

The women’s team also did very well in Saturday’s final events. Junior Jessica Ozoude and sophomore Lauren Gale came in second place of the 200-meter and 400-meter, respectively. Gale’s 54.01 time in her race beat her personal record by 0.24 of a second, while Ozoude’s time notched as a season-best for the upperclassmen sprinter. Gale’s performance also set the school record for the event.

After two days of the tournament, the women’s side led all teams with 46 points, and the men’s side were second to Air Force with 62 points going into the finale of the tournament.

“I thought the Rams fought hard even when we didn’t execute in every event,” Bedard said. “We missed out on some points today, which is frustrating, but there’s a lot of meet left. I’m confident both teams will come out and compete well tomorrow.”

Sophomore Germain Barnes came in first in the 60-meter hurdles with a personal record of 8.01. This personal record brought him up from 16th place to eighth in the CSU all-time list for hurdles.

Three field athletes also helped the team accomplish their championship, with a dozen points spread between them in the shot put event.

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The third and final day propelled the men’s team into first place, protecting their throne as champions but also, unfortunately, driving the women’s team to a third-place finish. The men’s team finished with 149 points, a large jump from the 62 they ended with after the second day. The women finished with 108.50, coming 52.50 points behind the champions, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“It reaffirms what we are really trying to do, which is having a whole team that can score in every event if we can,” Bedard said about the teams’ performance. “Our recruiting philosophy is to recruit people with good character that want to work hard and buy into what we are doing. We teach the process (in Fort Collins) and how to compete.”

Leo Friedman can be reached at sports@collegian.com or @LeoFriedman13 on Twitter.