Mountain Lions Beat the Snow, Compete at Spank Blasing Meet in Pueblo
PUEBLO - The CSU-Pueblo Thunderwolves broke in their new track while hosting their debut invitational at Friday's Spank Blasing Invitational. As seems typical of early outdoor track season, 25 mile per hour winds prevailed, making an already somewhat difficult day more difficult for the Mountain Lions.
While the meet was initially scheduled for the previous week, it was then moved Saturday, April 4th, but to move into the area early Saturday.
"We had a few really great performances today," said assistant coach Corey Kubatzky. "But all-around, we're going to have to get more competitive to be competitive in the RMAC."
Nonetheless, Steve Gomez opened his outdoor season in the high jump in the same winning style with which he polished off his indoor season. The freshman All-American cleared a provisional qualifying height of 2.05 meters and took home first place a full half meter ahead of second place finisher Jon Spruill of Western State.
"Steve had a huge breakthrough jump""the best one I have ever seen him make""at 2.08 meters. He got his height, but then just missed clearing the bar. Still, to provisionally qualify this early is great," said jumps coach Brandon Masters.
Sprinter David Mueller was undeterred by the slightly unfavorable conditions as he led the men's 400 meter dash with another victory for the Mountain Lions in 50.23 in a field laden with conference rivals. Following Mueller was Jason Shaver in ninth.
Decathletes Brian Hopkins and Rick Rimbert finished third and sixth place respectively in the men's decathalon""spread over two days. While Hopkins competed indoors as a heptathlete, Rimbert had his first go in the multi-events. Hopkins finished with 5718 points while Rimbert scored 4548.
"Both did much better than expected," Masters said. "We just decided to put Rick in this a couple of weeks ago, he hasn't trained specifically for the decathalon yet, he just has the basic fundamentals. So with him having little time to prepare and coming in with nothing, he did a great job."
Chris Reynolds was narrowly bested for second place in the 800 meter run as his 1:56.54 earned him third place in a close field.
"It was pretty windy," Chris Reynolds said following his race. "Mostly just the final 200 meters was where it was the worst, which is where you're hurting the most in the 800, so it made it pretty challenging for everyone today."
Reynolds was followed by Anthony Davis is 11th and Alex Vazquez in 12th.
Kelsey Barry matched Reynolds' performance on the women's side of the 800 as she too brought home a third place finish in 2:22.92. The pair of Tracy Falsetto and Kylie Honigford followed in sixth and eighth.
Dawn Eckert and Jessica Luna brought home fourth and 14th place finishes respectively in the women's 400 meter dash, with Eckert finishing in 1:00.68.
Luna and Eckert then teamed with Jenny Hunt and Jessica Luna in the women's 4x100 meter relay, where the women took fourth in 52.71.
Both the men's and women's 5000 meter runs were stacked with distance runners from the UCCS side.
Alicia Del Pardo was the first of three Mountain Lions across the line as she placed fifth overall with her time of 19:24. Following Del Pardo was Tavia Hammond in sixth and Leslie Bennett in 11th. Christy Severy completed a portion of the race, but was forced to the sidelines partway through due to a nagging injury.
Carlos Ruibal took seventh overall in a large men's field as he finished in 16:30. Micheal Johnson took 12th in his first race since having redshirted the indoor season. Following Johnson were Ted Shultz in 14th, Brad Katchigan in 15th, and Allen Browne in 16th.
The steeplechasers on both the men's and women's side ran their first steeples of the outdoor season, and in Kait Frier's case, the first of her life.
Frier finished fifth in 12:37.
Alex Tiernan finished sixth in a very talented men's field in 9:58, and was followed by Joel Kienitz in 11th.
"Anyone's first steeple of the season might be a little rough," Kubatzky said.
"We're coming along though, they should be ready to really get after it at the KU-Relays in a couple of weeks."
Distance runner Josh Jones took 8th in the 400 meter hurdles in a time of 1:04.67.
Ailena McDonald doubled in both the long and triple jump. Jumping to a distance of 4.70 meters in the long jump, she earned an eighth place finish. In the triple, she took fifth with a personal best 10.34 meters.
Tripling in the throws, Jenn Callan placed fourth with a 36.35 meter toss in the shot put, and followed that up with a sixth place finish in the hammer with 36.15 meters and a 20.73 meter throw in the javelin which was good for eighth.
Preston Willams throw of 38.23 meters in the discus was good for seventh place. Pairing up with Trevor Nau in both the hammer throw and the javelin, Nau placed seventh in the hammer with a distance of 37.73 meters while Williams followed in ninth. Nau then took third in the javelin with 45.26 meters while Williams took fifth.
"Even though today was not a real fun day to compete in and the wind and hot sun were not good, and the week was kind of messed up with the short notice of a changed schedule, we still had some very solid races. At least the effort is behind us now and we can go forward," said head coach Mark Misch.
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