2011 UCCS Track and Field Preview
2011 Track and Field competition for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs begins this Friday, Dec. 10, at the Steinhouser field house in Golden with the CSM Alumni Extravaganza hosted by Colorado Mines, starting a 1pm. Seven All-Conference Mountain Lions and an NCAA All-American will be returning to the track.
The track and field schedule has 21 track meets on the schedule with 32 competition dates. 15 of the track meets occur within the State of Colorado. The most used road will be to the Golden/Boulder area with four track meets in Golden and three in Boulder. The Indoor Conference Championship will be in Kearney Neb. on Feb. 25-26 and the Indoor National Championship will be in Albuquerque, N.M. on Mar. 11-12. The Outdoor Conference Championship will be in Golden on May 8-10 and with Outdoor National Championship will be in Turlock, CA on May 26-28.
Coach Mark Misch has set up something that UCCS track and field has never attempted before. This coming April most of the team will go to California and compete in a series of three track meets. The three meets will all be in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. It has been five years since UCCS track and field athletes competed at a non-championship meet in California and that 2006 group include now assistant coach David Harmer, who ran in the 800 meter at the Mount Sac Relays. Still, UCCS track and field has never traveled outside of Colorado on the level that they will be this spring.
Adding to the excitement for the 2011 UCCS track season is the return of Shannon Payne as an assistant coach. Payne was a six time All-American while running for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Payne spent last year as the distance coach for the Palmer high school track team.
The UCCS men begin the season preseason ranked sixth in the RMAC and the UCCS women are preseason ranked eighth. Now for an event by event break down of Mountain Lion track and field.
It all begins and ends with sophomore, Lauren Graham in the pole vault. Last year she was first team Indoor All-Conference, Outdoor Conference Champion, third team Outdoor All-American and placed 8th at the U.S. Junior National Championship. Graham has never cleared less then an NCAA provisional qualifying height in any track meet during her freshman year. Graham just missed making the NCAA indoor championship by three centimeters and is in the hunt make and placed in both the indoor and outdoor track and field National Championships. Plus, Graham was the 2010 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.
Teagen Hughes, is a freshman from Minnesota and will be a solid training and competition teammate for Graham. Hughes has a good four years of pole vaulting during high school in Minnesota.
Another strong freshman women's jumper is Emily Weeks from Los Altos, N.M. Weeks comes to UCCS from the New Mexico track and field powerhouse of Los Altos High School. Weeks qualified for and competed in and placed at the New Mexico Class 4A State Championship all four years of high school in combination of jump, sprint and relay events. She won the long jump State Championship last May and then placed 3rd at the prestigious Great Southwest Track Meet. Her Great Southwest long jump mark of 19'9" was good enough to qualify for the 2010 U.S. Junior National Championship but Weeks opted to not go.
Some other women jumper that could have big springs are Sophomore Ailena McDonald and Freshman, Chelsie Kay Overocker. Overocker comes in with a high school best 35' triple jump.
The top returning men's jump is Sophomore Anthony Cardinale. Last year, Cardinale won the long jump Outdoor Conference Championship. He missed an NCAA provisional qualifying mark by one centimeter. Look for Cardinale to be in the hunt for both the indoor and outdoor Conference Championship in both the long and triple jump. He also has a 2011 goal of qualifying for both the indoor and outdoor National Championships.
Freshman Robert McDougal, Palmer H.S., brings his 21' long jump and 40' triple jump and Freshman Adbiel Martinez Ramos, brings his 21'1" long jump and 6'3" high jump, to the party this year. It should be great spring in long and triple jump with McDougal, Ramos and Cardinale.
Men has a strong group of returning pole vaulters with Junior, Brien Hopkins, last year third team All-Conference, and Joel Fraser coming back along with Freshman Chris Myers, out of Chicago, IL, joining the group.
UCCS track and field is greatly blest to have assistant coach Brandon Masters has the jumps coach. He is one of the best jump coaches in the intermountain region and perhaps the country for all divisions of the NCAA.
Sophomore, Alan Ford, Junior, Jon Christian and Senior, Jason Shaver all return. They were three of the members of the 4x400 meter relay indoor Conference Championship team, which also followed it up with a fourth place at the outdoor championship. The men's sprint crew has gained some needed depth with the addition of freshmen Jonathon Wright, Travis Whitman and Air Force Academy transfer Chad Liscar.
The women have Junior, Ailena McDonald returning off of strong improvement during the 2010 season. McDonald will be joined by the biggest group of incoming women's sprinters in program history. There are five freshman, four are home grown product in Colorado, of Iris Suzanne Vollmer, Alexa Urban, Alena Kay Hartmen and Briana Kay Alley.
Emily Weeks should also be sprinting and a potential relay team member. Weeks was a member of a relay team that placed in the 4A New Mexico State Championship all four years of high school. Sophomore, Dawn Eckert is transferring from Arizona State and with her previous best 400 meter of 58.10, will begin the season top UCCS 400 meter runner.
Sophomore, Ashley Benfield returns in the 400 meter hurdles, where she was first team All-Conference by finishing second at the 2010 Conference Championship. Benfield will also add depth to the women's relays. Sophomore, Allison Watson had good 2010 season, after taking a couple years off of competitive track and field. Her best individual event in the 100 meter hurdles.
Be on the lookout for Freshman, Michael Crumley. Crumley was 5th in the 110 meter hurdles and 9th in 300 meter hurdles at the 2010 Class 5A Colorado State Championship. He also comes in with a solid 50.7 time in 400 meter. His strength may make hime better in the 400 meter hurdles then the 110 meter hurdles at the collegiate level. He should also be an asset to the men's relay depth.
Freshman, Matthew Feola will be joining Crumley in the hurdle events. Feola placed in the top seven or better at the Class 2A Colorado State Championsip during his last three years of high school.
Sophomore, Mike English had a break through cross-country season. He should be able to bring that momentum onto the track starting in January. Sophomore, Sam Feldotto and Freshman Ryan Derrick were not far behind English during the cross-country season and should have solid track seasons, as well. The rest of the young distance runners matured a lot during the fall and we should see some good times from that crew during the spring time.
The crew of 800 meter runners that did not run the cross-country season have been looking good in practice. Junior, Anthony Davis will be back on the track, after an injury plagued 2010 track season. Junior, Chris Reynolds came very close to an NCAA provisional qualifier last spring and was the alternate member of the 4x400 relay team that won the 2010 Indoor Conference Championship and placed fourth outdoor. Freshman, Matt Winfrey comes with a high best 800 meter time of 1:55.
For the women's distance runner Kaitlin Frier will be running her senior campaign. Frier ran her best collegiate races during this last cross-country season. Look for her to have a break through senior season on the track.
Freshman Veronica Sandoval comes to UCCS from El Paso, TX with a 5:10 time in the 1600 meter. Sandoval qualified through to the Texas high school regional three times. She also had a good freshman cross-country season.
All of the 800 meter runners of, Sophomores-Sara Kettelkamp, Kassie Mazzocco and Melissa Buchanan, for the women competed during the cross-country season and should continue the improvements they experienced last year on the track.
Junior, Brien Hopkins will be returning after a 2010 second team All-Conference effort in the Decathlon and third team All-Conference effort in the open pole vault. Hopkins also, was a first team All-Conference performer in the indoor heptathlon. Hopkins was close to an NCAA provisional qualifier both in the indoor heptathlon and the outdoor decathlon. Watch for him to break through that barrier this year and potentially qualify for the NCAA National Championships.
Sophomore Joel Fraser has an injury plagued 2010 season and Sophomore, Mitch Jones had a solid 2010 year of improvement, finishing with ninth place effort in the outdoor decathlon and as a third team All-Conference performer in the indoor heptathlon.
Transfers Colby Elliot and Canyon Parcell will be joining the men's multi event crew this year. Elliot placed tenth at the 2010 Junior College National Championship in the Decathlon. Parcell was a strong track and field athlete while during high school in Montana. He comes in with a 44'6" triple jump best and a 20'3" long jump best so we may also see him in the open jumping events as well. From the outside looking in, UCCS appears to have a really good multi event men's team this spring.
Allison Watson will come back into the women's indoor pentathlon and the outdoor heptathlon. She competed in the multi event for the first time last year and did fine, especially considering that she had never attempted a throwing event before the spring of 2010.
|Additional News Stories|
|May 27, 2011||Graham vaults to sixth place at nationals||TURLOCK, Calif. – Lauren Graham of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs took sixth place in the pole vault Friday evening at the 2011 NCAA Division II National Outdoor Track & Field Championships.|
|May 15, 2011||Benfield wins 400 hurdles as track season ends for all but one Mountain Lion||GOLDEN - Ashley Benfield won the 400-meter hurdles as the outdoor track & field season ended Sunday for all but one University of Colorado at Colorado Springs athlete at the Colorado Mines Last Chance Qualifier at Stermole Track & Field Complex.|
|May 11, 2011||Twelve UCCS track & field athletes named All-RMAC||The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs had 12 athletes from nine events gain All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference honors during the RMAC Outdoor Track and Field Championship on May 8-10 in Golden.|
|May 10, 2011||Graham wins pole vault as UCCS completes RMAC championships||GOLDEN, Colo. – Lauren Graham won the pole vault Tuesday during the final day of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In doing so, she set new records in the event for the RMAC, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the Stermole Track & Field Complex.|
|April 30, 2011||Quad meet provides final tuneup prior to conference championship||GOLDEN, Colo. – The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs track team had its final tuneup preceding the conference championship meet when the Mountain Lions competed Friday at the CSM Quad Meet at Stermole Track & Field Complex.|