Men's 2001 Track & Field Outlook
WHAT WILL BE THE FALCONS' STRENGTH IN 2001?
The Falcons may have their strongest crew in years in the middle distance and distance events. The 800m, which has not had an all-conference performer since Jeff Kuzma in '94, should be in capable hands with C1C (Sr.) Joe Lopez (1:52.53 in '2000) and C2C (Jr.) Brian Carpenter (1:53.02). C3C (So.) Jason Sanders may be on the verge of a breakthrough year, as well.
In the 1500m, Lopez and Carpenter went 3-4 in the Mountain West Conference last spring, and both have the potential to be NCAA qualifiers in 2001. MWC champion and NCAA finalist Shane Rogers returns for his senior season in the steeplechase, where he ran 8:46.73 last year. C2Cs David Romero and Al Kelly both scored in the MWC championships last spring as well and make the steeplechase arguably the Falcons' best event in 2001.
The 5000m and 10,000m events will be manned by some of the standouts from head coach Mark Stanforth's cross country team which placed third in the MWC last fall and 16th in the NCAA Championships. C1C Joe Monaco leads that group-he scored in the MWC Championships last spring in both events. C2C Zach Richter, and C4Cs (Fr.) Chris Acs and Ben Payne also figure prominently in the Falcons' goals for the long distance events.
HOW ABOUT THE SPRINTS AND HURDLES?
The Falcons suffered heavy losses to graduation after the 2000 season, and will be a young but talented group in these events. C3C Paul Mayo is the top returnee in the 100 and 200m dashes, but C4Cs Nick Bromberek, Matt Norris and Derrick Powell could make an immediate impact in the MWC. C1C Kurt Duffy and C3Cs Marc Fulson and Tom Clark all scored in the hurdle events in the conference last year. They'll be joined by an extremely talented freshman group of Jim Campbell, Brian Mancini, Luke Marker and Sean Temple. Head coach Ralph Lindeman believes those youngsters will develop into the best group of hurdlers since the world record-setting group of the early '70's.
HOW STRONG WILL THE FALCONS BE IN THE FIELD EVENTS?
After years of excellence in the high jump, the Falcons will be hard-pressed in that event in 2001. C2C Paul Golando leads a promising group of freshmen hoping to score in the MWC. C1C Ben Gensic (16'0 3/4" last season) leads the pole vaulters, aiming to duplicate graduated brother Jake's 2000 accomplishments (MWC runner-up both indoors and out). The long jump will feature two freshmen with outstanding credentials- Nick Bromberek and Anthony Park. Park will also triple jump, an event where Lindeman also has high expectations for the versatile Paul Golando.
Shot put school record-holder Shawn Johnson returns for his senior season attempting to better his personal record of 58'0 1/4" and improve on his best of 170'2" in the discus throw. C2C Justin Collup is also a very capable thrower in both the shot and disc. C4C Jason McNeal promises to give the Falcons depth in those events as well. C1C Dan Macsay leads the hammer throw with a PR of 186'11", and hopes to surpass the 200-foot barrier in 2001. C3C Justin Stoner is also a capable thrower. C2C Zach Johnson and C3C Brian Willis both scored in the MWC in the javelin in 2000, and both could throw past 200 feet this spring. Assistant coach Scott Irving has added a promising group of young prospects in the javelin as well, and the Falcons could begin a domination of that event in the MWC. Duffy and Clark both scored in the MWC decathlon last season, and will be joined by Idaho State transfer Nick Herald to give the Falcons a powerful group in the combined events.
HOW DOES THE 2001 MEET SCHEDULE LOOK?
In addition to a complete slate of exciting home indoor meets and annual treks to the major relay meets (Texas, Mt SAC, Penn and Drake), the Falcons have some exciting scoring meets on tap in 2001 as part of the USTCA/Collegiate Series. Indoors, UTEP and Washington join CSU in meeting the Falcons at the Air Force Classic Quadrangular the first weekend in February. Outdoors the Falcons travel to Fresno State where they will also meet Sacramento State in a triangular the last weekend in March, then travel to Missouri in mid-April for a four-way vs Notre Dame, Iowa State and Missouri. The first weekend in May always features the traditional triangular vs Colorado and CSU, a meet the Falcons won in 2000.
HOW DOES THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE SHAPE UP?
BYU again will be a heavy favorite to win both indoor and outdoor championships in 2001. Some longtime followers of the conference contend the Cougars may have their strongest team ever. After placing second outdoors, the Falcons hope to finish at least as high this season. CSU should provide the major obstacle towards reaching that goal.
WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED NATIONALLY?
One goal of the entire coaching staff is to qualify more individuals than ever for the NCAA Championships. Those with the potential include Shane Rogers (two-time NCAA qualifiers) in the steeplechase, Lopez and Carpenter in the 1500m, and Shawn Johnson in the shot put. Of course, the coaching staff is looking for several others to surprise with national caliber performances over the course of the indoor and outdoor seasons.