PUEBLO, Colo. (May 5, 2017) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's and women's track and field teams are set to compete at the 2017 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships May 7-9 in Gunnison, Colorado. Western State Colorado University serves as hosts of the event, held at the Mountaineer Bowl.
The ThunderWolves have 32 student-athletes competing (17 women and 15 men) at the championships. Events begin Sunday at 9 a.m. with the first events of the decathlon and heptathlon. Running events begin at 9:35 a.m. with field events getting underway at noon. The final event is the 4x400m relay Tuesday, which is set for 3:30 p.m.
Last season the Pack women finished fourth with 97 points, while the men were fifth with 78 points.
On the men's side, CSU-Pueblo ranks No. 26 nationally and have been in and out of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) top 25 rankings this outdoor season. The Pack have accumulated eight NCAA provisional times and an NCAA automatic qualifying mark this season.
The ThunderWolves will look to score team points in the 5000m run with five athletes running. Included in that mix are junior Derrick Williams (Columbia Falls, Mont.), senior Dante Carter (Las Vegas, Nev.) and freshman Paul Roberts (Boulder, Colo.), all of which have NCAA marks in the top 30 this season. Carter will also run the 1500m run where he has the fifth fastest time in NCAA Division II this season and owns an automatic mark. Williams has the 12th best time in the 3000m steeplechase this season and will defend his RMAC crown in the event.
The men's 4x400m relay team has the fastest time in the RMAC this season and will look for the indoor/outdoor sweep after finding their way to the top of the podium in February. The group is made up of Tevin Donnell (So., Fountain, Colo.), Thomas Staines (Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.), Dueth Vassell (Denver, Colo.) and Shawn Horne (So., Camp Casey, South Korea). Staines will also run in the 800m race where he has an NCAA provisional time that ranks sixth nationally. Horne is on the bubble to make the 400m race and will likley have to run faster to qualify for nationals in the event, as he ranks 23rd.
For field events, junior Ron Sweeten (Falcon, Colo.) has the third best leap in the RMAC in the triple jump and fourth longest in the long jump.
The women's team has totaled 10 NCAA provisional marks this outdoor season. The Pack will rely on their multi-event athletes to score a lot of team points Sunday-Tuesday. Senior Andrea Tuck (Canon City, Colo.) was an indoor All-American in the pentathlon and currently ranks seventh nationally in the outdoor multi, the heptathlon. She will compete in five events to help the team, as she is slated to run, jump and throw in the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
Junior Tatianna Clanton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) also has a busy championships with five events on the docket. She will run in the 100, and 200m dash, leap in the long jump and carry the baton with both relay teams.
On the track, senior Sydni Riley (Florissant, Colo.) will attempt to win the 800m run for the indoor/outdoor sweep, as the indoor RMAC Champion and All-American owns the 14th fastest time nationally in the event this outdoor season. She is also the anchor for the 4x400m relay squad, which have won the RMAC Outdoor Championship two years running.
Junior Miriam Roberts (Boulder, Colo.) will run the 5000m race. She won the event as a freshman when the ThunderWolves hosted the championships in 2015. Roberts has four NCAA provisional marks this season and will also run in the 1500m.
A strong handful of field athletes are expected to score, as the team totals three marks that rank in the top 5 among RMAC athletes this season and post 10 top 10 marks. Junior Catherine Tiona (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is fourth in the pole valut, sophomore Nikol Podlacha (USAF Academy, Colo.) is fourth in the shot put and freshman Lauren Fairchild (McKinney, Texas) is fourth in the long jump.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.