Fast Start to Outdoor Season Gets Mountain Lions Up and Running
The outdoor season is up and running for the UCCS Mountain Lion Track & Field teams after the two first outdoor meets of the season. Both meets produced a number of early season bests and personal records, which bodes well for the season ahead.
First up for the Mountain Lions was a trip to Boulder on March 17th for the CU Potts Invitational. This meet was used by some of the team as a building block for meets later in the year and a chance to experiment with new events and training.
To highlight this point the middle distance athletes who usually compete in the 800m and 1500m events switched to the shorter 400m distance to work on their top end speed. Someone who certainly took advantage of this was Anthony Davis who smashed his 400m PR by over 2 seconds to record a new best of 49.64 and move up to 5th on the UCCS All-Time Record books. He was not the only 800m specialist to dip under the 50 second barrier. Marc Hensley was close behind running a great early season best of 49.77. Similarly, the 400m athletes dropped down to the shorter 100m and 200m events to continue to work on start and acceleration technique. Travis Whitman didn't let the early season rust affect him much, racing to a new personal best in the 200m of 22.87.
Alex Colvin followed up her RMAC Indoor Championship with a win in the pole vault, clearing 3.50m (11'5.75") and just missing attempts at national qualifying heights. Seth Martin cleared 2.01m (6'7") to finish 3rd in a tough field. He just missed attempts at 2.06m (6'9"), which would have been a national qualifying mark. Other highlights from the field events included freshman decathlete Zach Wood, who placed 2nd overall in his javelin debut with a toss of 44.58m (146'3"). The event should be a strong point for Wood as he transitions from the indoor heptathlon to the outdoor decathlon. Seniors Canyon Parcell (43.47m) and Brien Hopkins (43.19m) finished 4th and 5th, respectively.
This past weekend the whole team travelled to 2012 NCAA National Outdoor Championship host CSU-Pueblo to compete against a slew of front range schools from NCAA Division I, II and III. Temperatures soared to over 86 degrees on the track by the late afternoon, ideal conditions for the sprint and power events, of which the mountain lions took full advantage of.
Starting the day was the women's pole vault. Alex Colvin continued her strong start to the outdoor season with a national qualifying mark in her signature event clearing 3.60m (11'9.75") to finish runner-up. She now sits #2 all-time on the UCCS record list, behind only 3-time All-American Lauren Graham. In the men's vault, Chris Myers tied for 4th place with a jump of 4.15m (13'7.25"). Also competing well for the Mountain Lions were multi-event athletes Lauren Roberts, Jess Luna, and Alli Watson. All three athletes recorded personal collegiate bests in the 100 hurdles and posted solid marks in the long jump on Saturday.
The 1500m event saw a good showing from the UCCS Mountain Lions with most of the middle distance and distance event athletes competing in the event. Highlights included Mike English running a new lifetime best of 3:56.57 moving up to number four all-time in the UCCS record books. Others who also recorded new bests were Sam Feldotto in 4:00.44, Carson Aberle in 4:04.67, Ted Schultz in 4:06.86 and Kyle McCloskey in 4:07.24. Matt Winfrey who has a best of 3:57.51 from last year, recorded a great season's opener running 4:00.22.
Similarly in the women's 1500m, the mountain lions had a significant presence, highlighted by a huge personal best by freshman Amber McAfee. McAfee who rarely races over 800m produced a great run in warm conditions to record a new best of 5:04.63.
The warm conditions although not favorable for the middle and long distance events were ideal for the sprinters. The 400m run saw a conference leading performance from sophomore Jon Wright, finishing as the top Division II athlete in 48.71. Travis Whitman followed up his personal best in the 200m last week with a new best in the 400m, breaking the 50 second barrier for the first time in 49.98.
Someone who definately enjoyed the conditions was Ryan Buchanan, who in his first ever collegiate race over 400m hurdles smashed the UCCS school record running 56.00. The freshman from Glenwood Springs now sits number two in the RMAC standings and will look to progress over the next few months to be a contender at RMAC Championships in May. Buchanan finished as the Colorado State runner up in 300m hurdles last year.
After several delays due to timing malfunctions Alexa Urban finally got to run her heat of the 800m and didn't disappoint, running to a 2:17.58 performance and 2nd place in the event which also ranks her second on the RMAC performance list.
The highlight of the day came as the sun began to go down at the CSU Pueblo Thunderbowl. After a two hour delay and scorching temperatures you would have forgiven the athletes for being tired and weary. But that is far from what was on the men's 4x400m relay teams minds. Over the last three years UCCS has established itself as one of the perennial RMAC teams in what is regarded as the most exciting event in track & field. The quartet of Jon Wright, Travis Whitman, Marc Hensley and Alan Ford not only beat RMAC rivals Chadron State and Colorado School of Mines by over six seconds to place as the top NCAA Division II school, but barely missed the National Qualifying mark of 3:15.00, recording a great early season best of 3:16.38. That is just a mere 0.345 seconds per leg away from hitting a national qualifying mark. The team finished 2nd overall, pushing NCAA Division I CSU-Fort Collins all the way to the tape and losing by just 0.25 seconds to CSU's 3:16.12.
The Mountain Lions will next compete as a team on April 7th at the New Mexico Tailwind Invitational, but will have several individuals competing across the country this upcoming weekend while on spring break.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
|Additional News Stories|
|August 6, 2012||Men Pick Up USTFCCCA All-Academic Team Award||NEW ORLEANS – University of Colorado Colorado Springs men's indoor and outdoor track and field teams were one of five RMAC teams and one of 41 NCAA Division II teams to earn All-Academic honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Mountain Lions earned the award after a team cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or greater.|
|August 1, 2012||Four Mountain Lion Men Earn Scholar-Athlete Honors||COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - UC-Colorado Springs student-athletes Matt Cameron, Mike English, Alan Ford and Jonathan Wright earned Scholar-Athlete honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association late last week. The Mountain Lion quartet were among the 164 NCAA Division II student-athletes to earn the honor.|
|May 11, 2012||Men’s 4x400 meter relay captures RMAC title to lead the way for the Mountain Lions||Gunnison, CO: Like a postal carrier, the track & field team competes in all kinds of weather. During their three days at the RMAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Gunnison, Colorado, the Mountain Lions saw rain, snow, high winds, sunny skies, freezing temperatures and lastly in the 70’s.|
|May 1, 2012||California to Kansas...and back again.||Getting things started for the mountain lions were several of the middle and long-distance squad who traveled to Lawrence, Kansas for the KU Relays. Despite swirling winds during the Thursday and Friday evening sessions of the three day meet, several of the UCCS runners recorded personal or season bests. Highlights from the meet included Alexa Urban running a season best in the 800 meters of 2:15.66 to rank her fifth in the RMAC. Ryan Derrick placed sixth among college runners in the 3000 meter steeplechase, Mike English was the seventh placing collegian in the 5000 meters with a time of 15:02.19 which is number five on the UCCS all-time performance list.|
|April 16, 2012||Mountain Lion Tracksters Find Mid-Season Form||The UCCS trackster’s have been busy covering the miles between meets in Albuquerque, Pueblo and Boulder over the past two weeks, setting numerous school records, season, and lifetime bests in the process.|