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Rams battle weather, set records at Jack Christiansen Invitational

Freshman+Kyle+Bigley+celebrates+after+a+shotput+throw+at+the+Jack+Christiansen+Invitational.
Collegian | Cait Mckinzie
Freshman Kyle Bigley celebrates after a shot put throw at the Jack Christiansen Invitational March 30. Bigley placed first in this event with a mark of 18.13 meters.

Colorado weather is especially favorable for track and field athletes attempting to set personal records.

Friday’s rain at the Jack Christiansen Invitational in Fort Collins left an inexperienced group of men’s and women’s hammer throwers with wet feet and cold fingers. Kajsa Borrman was the highlight of Friday for Colorado State; she finished second with a career-best mark of 62.06 meters.

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For the rest of the Rams, it was a day coach Brian Bedard knew would be a necessary struggle for future success. Fortunately, on Saturday, the sun came out to heat things up for thrower Kyle Bigley, who set his shot put outdoor personal record with a mark of 18.13 meters — seventh all-time outdoor for CSU.

“The weather yesterday was terrible,” Bigley said. “You hear (about) seasonal depression — it’s like once the sun comes out, everyone’s happy, (and the) throws start getting a little bit more out there.”

Bedard, understanding the weather was not favorable, still provided the men’s hammer throwers tough criticism. It proved to be the necessary spark in their other throwing events, as Mariano Kis took the discus with a mark of 53.81 meters, and Jackson Morris and Bigley finished second and third, respectively, in the Saturday turnaround.

“I thought we did a nice job on the discus,” Bedard said. “Hit some PRs and moved ol’ coach Bedard down on the top 20 list, so I’m hanging on at 19, and Kyle’s determined to knock me off the bottom of that.”

Bedard once threw for Colorado State University; now, he gets to coach athletes who are breaking his records. For his coaching, it means he’s exactly where he needs to be. For his dignity, however, it means expanding the all-time record list.

“I think it’s a good thing that they’re getting better and moving me down the list; that means I’m doing my job,” Bedard said. “I should have athletes who are surpassing me and moving me right off the list, which is going to happen real soon. That’s why I moved the list from the top 10 list to the top 20 list.”

For the CSU athletes who didn’t contend with the rain on Friday, the biggest challenge on Saturday was the wind coming from the north. Pole vaulter Maria Kimpson, who won with a mark of 3.85 meters, ran straight into the wind while relearning her techniques.

Since the conclusion of the indoor season, when Kimpson tied the CSU all-time indoor pole vault record, she made big changes to her jump cues. Pair that with the Colorado elements, and she was adjusting in the middle of the competition.

“Honestly, the whole meet wasn’t great because I made everything on the third attempt,” Kimpson said. “But we were working on my plant and my run. I just added an extra two steps to my run, so it’s been a little different.”

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Kimpson evidently worked it out with volunteer coach Hunter Powell. Powell, a CSU alumnus, provided Kimpson with feedback after each attempt that eventually led to Kimpson attempting an outdoor personal record following the win.

“That’s the part that’s tough because you finish indoors, and then we are playing with her approach, which takes about a month to get fixed, but she jumped well today,” Powell said. “She’s probably going to break the outdoor school record here in two to three weeks; she just doesn’t know it yet. She’s making a lot of great progress just working on the basics.”

Several other CSU athletes finished as champions at the invitational. Ben Randall dominated distance in the men’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 14 minutes, 53.21 seconds and Quinn McConnell in women’s 1,500-meter with a time of 4:28.21. Jack Wetterling got 53.33 in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, and Neya Jamison got 14.15 in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. Tyler Colwell picked up his second win in the men’s 200-meter run with a time of 21.03.

In the field events, Michaela Hawkins finished first in the women’s discus, throwing 58.89 meters. Hari Brogan reached 1.98 meters in the men’s high jump, and Taye Raymond Holker reached 5.85 meters in the women’s long jump. Allam Bushara got 15.60 meters in the men’s triple jump, and Mali Sternmer got 11.41 meters in the women’s. Finally, Sam Mrky won the men’s pole vault with a mark of 4.57 meters.

If there is one thing that can weather the storm for CSU track and field, it’s surpassing the records of Rams who once were in the same position.

“When we have those boards on the wall, track is very results driven,” Bedard said. “So for our young athletes to get on the list and start moving up is a real motivator.”

Adam Gross can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @agrose_22.

Interested in more sports content? Sign up for Ram Report here for weekly CSU sports updates!

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