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CSU hurdlers run in remembrance of Colton Kaase at Doug Max Invitational

Colorado+State+University+students+and+athletes+pack+the+track+April+28+to+honor+Colton+Kaase%2C+a+CSU+student-athlete+who+died+last+summer.
Collegian | Lauren Mascardo
Colorado State University students and athletes pack the track April 28 to honor Colton Kaase, a CSU student-athlete who died last summer.

Five Rams competed in heat one of the men’s 110-meter hurdles at the Doug Max Invitational in Fort Collins on Sunday. All five set personal records.

None of them did it without Colton Kaase running alongside them.

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Kaase was a hurdler for Colorado State during his first year. On June 6, 2023, Kaase was found dead in his parked vehicle at the Jack Christiansen Memorial Track parking lot. According to Kaase’s obituary, he died from a pulmonary embolism.

Jack Wetterling finished seventh, running 14.65 seconds; Carsen Bruns fifth with a time of 14.42; Dominic Gallelli fourth with a time of 14.30; PJ Robinson third with a time of 14.15; and Cole Nordman took home the victory, running 13.71.

“I felt like I had to win for him,” Nordman said. “Being one of my best friends — I just can’t put it into words, but it really meant a lot, running out there thinking about him.”

Nordman was bombarded by his fellow Colorado State hurdlers after the race.

The buildup of emotions from a race dedicated to Kaase was expelled at the finish line. Nordman knew he had won, but it wasn’t until the commotion of his teammates subsided that Nordman learned he had set a personal record.

“I finally felt like I put together a full race,” Nordman said. “I was actually running through the hurdles. I PR’d by half a second and hopefully cleared to make regionals.”

Bruns, who was in the heat with Nordman, also had a third-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. Bruns came into the program with Kaase. Both were first-year students; both stayed in the same hall and ran the exact same events and shared the same passion for their work. On June 17, 2023, Bruns carried Kaase’s casket at his funeral.

Lane one was left open in the men’s 400m hurdles as a reminder of Kaase’s best event and the legacy he left in the short time he spent as a Ram.

“I know he was running that race with us,” Bruns said. “He probably did a great job.”

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In the women’s 100-meter hurdles, Neya Jamison took the victory and finished with a PR. Her win was another example of the lasting impact Kaase left on the Colorado State hurdles program. Jamison recalled a story of Kaase that demonstrated his work ethic.

“It was blizzarding — everyone was inside,” Jamison said. “We have this one hurdle workout which is called four-back-three. … Colton and I are out at the 10 a.m. practice. J.J. (Riese) made us go outside together in the blizzard, just freezing with our gloves and, like, three hoodies on. It was miserable, but that was one of my favorite memories with Colton. He was just such a hard worker. I did not want to go out that day, and he’s like, ‘Come on, you got it,’ and we got it done.”

Sunday was bittersweet for hurdles coach Riese. On one hand, his hurdlers displayed dominant individual performances in their events. On the other, it was a reminder of losing a man he considered family.

“He is the whole package,” Riese said. “Great tremendous student. He’s an All-American guy. The kind of guy you want your son to be — just an awesome guy.”

Beyond hurdles, the Rams took home victories on senior day in 18 of the 36 events. In the men’s 1,500-meter run, Chris Henry sealed the comeback victory with a time of 3:49.97. Tyler Colwell took wins in the men’s 100-meter with a time of 10.25 seconds and the 200-meter with 21.35. Mya Lesnar dominated the women’s hammer throw with a mark of 58.01 meters. Finally, Celyn Stermer won the women’s pole vault won with a mark of 3.85 meters.

It was Kaase who pushed the hurdlers down the track for a slate of personal records.

“If he was here now, he would have been just as excited as we were,” Bruns said. “He would have been jumping up with us.”

Reach Adam Gross 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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