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CSU takes on northern rivals UNC in senior night win

Senior+Lucy+Matheson+competes+in+the+200-yard+butterfly+at+Colorado+State+Universitys+Moby+Pool+against+the+University+of+Northern+Colorado.
Collegian | Cait Mckinzie
Senior Lucy Matheson competes in the 200-yard butterfly at Colorado State University’s Moby Pool against the University of Northern Colorado Jan. 27. Final score of the meet was 194-105 CSU.

Community is the name of the game.

At least for Colorado State Swim and Dive. Showing support, the crowd for senior night against the Northern Colorado was filled with cheering fans and some familiar faces. 

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Tennis and their coach Mai-Ly Tran showed up off their win just the day before, as well as CSU’s President Amy Parsons. Their presence, accompanied by cheering friends and family, packed Moby Arena’s Pool in support of the last home meet for Swim and Dive.

“It’s more special to see them perform for the last time; that is always unique,” CSU Swim and Dive coach Christopher Woodard said.

Out of the 28 athletes on the team, nine are seniors. With a third of the team graduating, their influence will greatly be missed by other swimmers on the team, but that didn’t discourage the Rams from closing the meet out with a win.

“Emotions are neither good nor bad; they’re just emotions,” Woodard said. “Identify them in the moment, and if they’re not helpful to what you’re trying to do, reel back into the present moment.”

And that they did. CSU won the meet with 194 points over UNC’s 105 points, moving CSU to 8-2 on the season. The electric energy for events like 200-yard fly and 50-yd free in Moby pushed swimmers to the wall.

“(My goal is) to just get my hand on the wall first,” senior Lucy Matheson said. “To get my head down into the finish is always my last thought in a race.”

Matheson herself won three of the events she competed in with small margins between her and swimmers in the other lanes. 

Another standout was senior Megan Hager, who closed out the meet with a win in the 400-yard Freestyle relay, accompanied by Tess Whineray, Mia Exelman, and Lexie Trietley

“We were home (against UNC) my freshmen year and we lost to them for the first time in program history,” Hager said. “So I think it was really nice to come back strong and finish after three years; I feel like that was the redemption arc we were looking for.”

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A strong finish seemed impossible with CSU’s past against UNC and the many injuries and illnesses affecting the team.

“They were able to show up, race, and perform on the board, which was what I was most concerned about,” Woodard said.

Ramping up for the Mountain West, coach Woodard is focusing on rehabilitation so they can come out with a bang on the first day of the conference.

“It’s a hallmark of our team,” Woodard said. “We tend to roll through conference and catch fire by Saturday. So I think we have a mentally tough team where they can battle through the fatigue on that last day and hit some of their best events.”

“(When) we get to see other athletes who make an effort to come here, it’s especially good for morale going into a conference,” Hager said. 

But depending on others on the team seems to be the way Matheson builds fortitude.

“For me, it’s not about the points, it’s really just being surrounded by these girls,” Matheson said. “It feels like this is always how it is supposed to be. I was always supposed to be at CSU.”

Reach Liv Sewell at sports@collegian.com or on twitter @Liv_sewell22

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