January 31, 2017
The newly expanded men’s track and fi eld team is already breaking records as they compete in their first season.
The team ranked 23 in the nation for DII schools while many UCCS athletes are making their debut in the program with national qualifying marks, according to Brandon Masters, co-head coach.
“To see our year-one program in the fi rst-week rankings is very exciting,” said Masters.
Out of the 35 athletes on the team, 24 are freshmen. These athletes have time to mature over the season and the rest of their career at UCCS, said Masters.
“We see so much potential in everybody, and there are many who haven’t realized their potential yet. But these kids are tough and are willing to put in the work that it takes to get better,” said Masters.
“We believe in them. We believe in our training and in our kids, and when they start believing that, that’s when the magic starts to happen.”
The program is focused on creating a winning mentality for athletes as they train both mentally and physically, he said.
This early in the season, the coaches are pushing athletes, and they hope to see results, according to Ross Fellows, co-head coach.
“We’re doing everything we can to build the best team we can, do it the right way and also do it as quickly as possible,” said Fellows.
At the Colorado Mines’ Twilight Invitational, junior sprinter Chris Smith placed fourth in the nation in the 60-meter dash. Smith won his event with a program record time of 6.77 seconds.
Sophomore middle distance runner William Mayhew ran at New Mexico’s Cherry & Silver Invitational, setting a new program record with a time of 1:51.13 in the 800 meter dash. Mayhew’s time placed him second in the nation, just .04 seconds behind the national leader.
Freshman jumper DePree Kimber also made it on the national provisional qualifying list in the Colorado Mines’ Alumni Classic at the No. 30 spot with a program record distance in the triple jump at 14.47 meters.
“We have great kids that get it. We’re building a culture here that our athletes have bought into, and when you have that, the sky’s the limit,” said Masters.
It’s hard to believe the team is just getting started, but there are still athletes who haven’t competed at meets yet, said Fellows. The team is focused on training and lifting through the meets to put in speed work.
“To be honest with you, we’re just kind of scratching the surface of our potential; the sleeping giant is waking up,” said Fellows.
“Times should start dropping, and distances should be increasing. Things should start lining up here in the next few weeks.”
Including the conference meet, the team has five meets over the next two months before the NCAA championships. The coaches expect to compete at both levels, and one of the team’s mains goals is to be in the top five spots in the RMAC conference.
“This is just the beginning. We’ve been telling a lot of recruits that this (success) is coming, and it’s nice to finally be able to say that it’s here. It’s not just words now, there’s proof, and we are on the rise,” said Masters.