3 CSU athletes prepare for NCAA Indoor Tournament


Lexie Keller clears the bar during the high jump at the Jack Christiansen Track meet at Colorado State on April 27. (Collegian | File photo)

Dylan Heinrich, Staff Reporter

With one event left on the indoor track and field calendar, three top Colorado State University athletes are ready to head back to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the NCAA Championships.

The three athletes whose times qualified are Sarah Carter,  Gabi McDonald and Lexie Keller.


Carter won both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs at the Mountain West Conference tournament — the only Ram to win two separate events. Her 3k time of 9 minutes, 17 seconds didn’t only win her the top spot on the podium, but it also set a CSU school record.

“(These are) the hardest working and most dedicated people I’ve ever met. … All this love was here before I experienced any of the success. That means a lot to me.” -Sarah Carter, CSU track and field athlete

“I talked to the coaches beforehand, and we agreed it was a race for points,” Carter said. “When you’re racing in a competitive field, … it comes with a quick time.”

However, it was her 5k time of 16:07 that qualified her for the big dance next week. Carter never expected to make the NCAA Championship during her collegiate career. After back-to-back stress fractures and finishing outside the top 10 in the two events during last season’s indoor championship, Carter didn’t have high hopes coming into this season. Yet she has continued to put in work, and now that extra time has finally paid off.

“I felt like I was in a position where I was always a step behind,” Carter said. “What I needed to do was take a step back from what everyone else was doing and focus on me.”

While Carter went out and won both of her events, McDonald proved you don’t have to bring home the gold to have a successful meet. 

McDonald finished the meet in second place for the shot put, but her distance of 17.55 meters broke the CSU all-time record. It happened to be her own personal record, beating her previous distance from last year’s indoor championship where she placed first.

“That was the most stacked the shot put competition has ever been,” McDonald said. “You just have to go all out and can’t be afraid.”

The mark was a massive win for McDonald as she struggled for some of the indoor season with most of her throws coming around the 15-meter mark. But being back in the place where she won the shot put title last year added something extra for the junior.

“It was just exciting to be back to where I was (last year),” McDonald said. “Breaking the 17-meter barrier was a big deal.”


However, the most dominant performance from the Rams came in the pentathlon from Keller. The Albuquerque native made her presence felt as her 4,306 combined points in the pentathlon not only won the event but clocked in at the second-highest total in the nation that day.

“I just had fun competing the whole time,” Keller said. “I just wanted to get some points for my team and solidify my spot for nationals, so it’s honestly all I could’ve asked for.”

As the three athletes look ahead to the tournament this weekend March 10-11, they are prepared to represent Colorado State on the biggest stage.

“I am so proud to represent CSU,” Carter said. “(These are) the hardest working and most dedicated people I’ve ever met. … All this love was here before I experienced any of the success. That means a lot to me.”

Reach Dylan Heinrich at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dylanrheinrich.