Track Shines Bright at Day 1 of Nationals

By Mike McNeely published May 26, 2005

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs track team sent a school record seven athletes to the 2005 NCAA Div II Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Abilene, Texas. All seven of the Mountain Lions competed well on Thursday.

"This was an absolutely amazing day for us," said Mountain Lion coach Graeme Badger.

Moses Tum kicked things off for UCCS in the 1500 prelims. Tum was the top finisher turning in a blazing time of 3:53.04. Tum will now turn his attention to the 800 meter prelims on Friday before running in the 1500 finals on Saturday.

"Moses will probably do very well in the finals," said Badger.

The Mountain Lion women continued their dominance in the steeplechase. Sarah Shepard, Tina Gray and Ashley Birger all qualified for the finals in the steeple after turning in excellent times in the prelims.

"(The steeplechase) was our most impressive performance of the day," said Badger.

Gray had the sixth quickest time at 11:03.34, while Shepard wasnâ€TMt far behind at 11:03.90. Birger also comfortably qualified with a time of 11:07.54. UCCS runners will make up a remarkable 25 percent of the field in the finals on Saturday. No other school had more than one runner qualify.

"To the best of my knowledge we are the only school to have three final qualifiers in any event," said Badger. "That's just spectacular."

On the men's side, junior Brad Winn also ran a good race but came up just short of qualifying for the finals in the steeplechase. Winn clocked in at 9:33.37, less than a half-second off the 12th-place finisher.

"Brad came really close," said Badger. "That's a very big step for him."

Craig Galaydick, the first non-runner to qualify for nationals in school history, represented UCCS in the discuss throw. Galaydick placed 13th with his best throw measuring at 161 feet, four inches.

The night came to a close with an outstanding performance by Shannon Payne in the 10000. Payne, who was the only freshman in the field, finished in eighth place receiving All-American honors.

"This was only the second time in her life that she had run the 10k," said Badger. "Her performance was awesome."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

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