Graham vaults to top spot in nation

By Matt Rigby published February 12, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS - Lauren Graham vaulted to first place in the nation as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs track & field team completed its participation at the two-day Air Force Invitational Saturday at the Cadet Fieldhouse.

Graham cleared 4.06 meters in the pole vault, the best mark by an NCAA Division II athlete this season and breaking her own school record of 3.90 meters. She has already earned an automatic qualifying mark to compete at the Division II National Indoor Championship meet in Albuquerque on March 11-12.

Graham took fourth place overall as the only Division II vaulter in the field.

It took a photo finish to relegate Mike English to a second-place finish in the men's 3,000-meter run. Ryan Frey of BYU paced out to the early lead, but English pulled ahead about half way through the race. He was caught at the finish line by Adams State's Jobanny Godinez and lost by a tenth of a second. English's altitude-adjusted time was 8:38.06.

Then there were the UCCS women in the 4x400 relay, which was also the final event entry for UCCS. The relay team of Ashley Benfield, Dawn Eckert, Alexa Urban and Emily Weeks ran a strong relay. Benfield was the starter and got out strong. When Benfield made her hand off to Eckert the heat was a close race between three teams. During the second leg it became a two team race with Wayland Baptist. Wayland opened a small gap going into the third leg. Urban was able to close much of the gap and Weeks was almost able to bring it home for the heat win but Wayland still won the heat.

The UCCS women did set a new school record in the event at 4:02.53.

Other mark of note were:
Alexa Urban in the women's 400 meter final-59:80 and tenth place
Erika Cshnie in the women's high jump-1.60 meters and 16th place
Chelsea Overocker in the women's triple jump-10.75 meters and 16th place
Kaitlin Frier in the women's 3,000 meter-11:45.73 and tenth place
Melissa Buchanan in the women's mile-5:35.18 and tenth place
Veronica Sandoval in the women's mile-5:41.03 and 11th place
Ryan Derrick in the men's mile-4:34.81 and eighth place
Jonathon Wright in the men's 400 meter final-49.51 and ninth place 
Chris Reynolds in the men's 800 meter final-1:57.36 and sixth place

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Christopher ReynoldsChristopher ReynoldsMid-Distance
Christopher ReynoldsChristopher ReynoldsMid-Distance
Christopher ReynoldsChristopher ReynoldsMid-Distance
Christopher ReynoldsChristopher ReynoldsMid-Distance
Christopher ReynoldsChristopher Reynolds
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Christopher ReynoldsChristopher Reynolds
Kaitlin FrierKaitlin FrierDistance
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Mike EnglishMike EnglishDistanceSr.
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Melissa BuchananMelissa BuchananDistance
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Ashley Benfield Ashley Benfield Hurdles/Sprints So
Ashley Benfield Ashley Benfield Hurdles/Sprints
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Lauren GrahamLauren GrahamJumps
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Ryan DerrickRyan DerrickDistanceSo.
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Alexa Urban Alexa Urban Sprints So
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Additional News Stories
May 27, 2011Graham vaults to sixth place at nationalsTURLOCK, 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, 2011Benfield wins 400 hurdles as track season ends for all but one Mountain LionGOLDEN - 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, 2011Twelve UCCS track & field athletes named All-RMACThe 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, 2011Graham wins pole vault as UCCS completes RMAC championshipsGOLDEN, 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, 2011Quad meet provides final tuneup prior to conference championshipGOLDEN, 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.
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