Freshman Duo Takes Second and Sixth in Decathlon at RMAC Track Championships
ALAMOSA - Entering the homestretch of the final event of the men's decathlon - the 1,500-meter run - a hint of a smile crossed Brian Hopkins' face.
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs freshman had already had an impressive performance at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, putting himself into contention for a top-three spot after nine of the decathlon's 10 events.
But Hopkins' smile gave away something his opponents didn't yet know -he had a little something left in the tank. He overtook Western State's Jeremy Bubb to not only win the race, but also score 586 points in the process. Those points vaulted Hopkins from third to second in the final standings.
"The last time, I went too fast at the beginning and got too tired (at the finish)," said Hopkins. "(Coach Mark Misch) set me up with a pretty slow start. Everybody else just died around me.
"He did a good job; that was all coach Misch."
The strategy was part of a plan concocted by Misch and his coaching staff. They determined prior to the 1,500 that Hopkins would need to run a perfect race.
"We did the math before the race and we should have all had about the same score if we ran our normal times," said Hopkins. "I guess that's why (the coaches) made me run so well."
Misch and his coaching staff also did a good job with fellow decathlete Rick Rimbert, who finished sixth, giving the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's team 11 of their 23 points on the day.
Rimbert, who came into the RMAC Championships seeded eighth, crushed his personal record in the javelin throw with a toss of 44.40 meters. The 506 points he earned for the throw - second only to Bubb among decathletes - were instrumental in pushing him up the standings.
Not only did Hopkins and Rimbert score the bulk of the Mountain Lions' points on the day, they also gave a glimpse into a very bright future as UCCS placed two freshmen among the top six in the event. Bubb, and third-place finisher Jake Brummer from Chadron State are both seniors.
Hopkins came back less than an hour after finishing the decathlon to compete in the preliminaries of the 400-meter hurdles, where his time of 58.38 was less than two seconds from qualifying for the finals.
Scoring eight points for UCCS was high jumper Steven Gomez, who took second with a jump of 2.02 meters. Three more points came in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, where Joel Keinitz took seventh and Alex Tiernan took eighth.
Soccer player Dami Oladiran took second in his heat of the 100-meter dash, qualifying for Tuesday's finals. He came back later to also qualify for the finals in the 200-meter dash. David Mueller also qualified for the finals in two events, the 200 and the 400.
Also competing for the Mountain Lion men were Carlos Ruibal, who took 12th in the 10,000-meter run. Jason Shaver took 14th in the 400, Brad Kachigan was 10th in the steeple, Josh Jones finished 16th in the 110-meter hurdles and Vy Nguyen was 18th in the 100 and 27th in the 200.
Scoring for the UCCS women were Tavia Hammond, whose time of 42:50.57 in the 10,000 was good enough for seventh place and two points, Kaitlin Frier, who took sixth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 12:58.16
Kylie Honigford posted a time of 59.97 in the 200-meter dash, good enough to qualify for Tuesday's finals.
Ailena McDonald and Josi Heer barely missed scoring in the long jump for the Mountain Lions. McDonald took ninth overall with a jump of 5.13 meters, while Heer was 13th at 4.97 meters.
Julia Saenz was 17th in the 100-meter dash, Jessica Luna was 19th in the 200,
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