Three for the money: Rams hit title trifecta in 1 remarkable day

In one amazing day, three CSU athletics teams did something that might never again be duplicated.

Saturday, the men’s and women’s indoor track teams and the women’s basketball teams all won Mountain West Conference titles. The three-titles-in-one-day feat is thought to be a first in the long history of Rams athletics.

“What a tremendous accomplishment for our women’s basketball, women’s track and field and men’s track and field teams,” said Joe Parker, director of athletics. “It is unique to have three teams secure conference championships on the same day. I’ve never experienced this unique trifecta. It also speaks to the culture of winning that we’re seeking to create at Colorado State University. Congratulations to the students and coaches who contributed to earning these championships.”

Interestingly, the titles were wrapped up at about the same time. The men’s and women’s track teams held off the competition to sweep the team titles and the Mountain West Indoor Championships in Albuquerque late Saturday afternoon. Within minutes the women’s basketball team had completed its 80-46 rout at San Diego State to clinch its fourth consecutive league title.

Senior Ellen Nystrom has been part of four consecutive league championships. (Photo courtesy of Javon Harris)

Four in a row

For coach Ryun Williams’ Rams, the league title broke new ground. No other basketball program – men’s or women’s – had won four consecutive Mountain West title before. And the Rams (22-6, 14-2 MW) clinched the title with two league games remaining on the schedule.

“It’s so hard to do,” Williams said of the title run. “We feel really good about it. I’m so proud of these kids. They don’t have to share the (MW regular season) title with anybody. It’s a tremendous accomplishment. We can check that one off our list, but now we’ve got to finish strong, keep our momentum and head into Las Vegas (for the league tournament) feeling good and ready to go.”

The Rams had earned no less than a share of the title earlier in the week, beating New Mexico 58-55 in their annual “pink out” game at Moby Arena. They close out their home season at 7 p.m. Friday against Nevada, when seniors Ellen Nystrom and Elin Gustavsson are honored for their standout careers.

Title sweep is program first

On the track, both men’s and women’s titles were up for grabs until the final two events before the Rams wrapped up the first title sweep in school history. The men topped Air Force 183-177, while the women held off UNLV 102.5-99.

Junior Mostafa Hassan shattered the Mountain West record in the shot put and leads the nation in the event. (Photo courtesy of Juan Labreche)

Five men – Mostafa Hassan (shot put), Jerrell Mock (5,000 meters), Cole Rockhold (3,000), Hunter Price (high jump), Josh Cogdill (heptathlon) – won individual titles, with Hassan and Rockhold breaking conference records en route to their titles. Hassan’s shot put of 69 feet, 10¾ inches not only established him as the national leader, it beat conference’s No. 2 effort by a remarkable 12 feet.

On the women’s side, Aaliyah Pete won her third consecutive shot put title, while Emily Romo made it back-to-back titles in the 400.

“Our staff felt really good about our team coming in,” CSU coach Brian Bedard said. “We have some good senior leadership and some folks that really like to compete. Over three days, anything can happen; we didn’t have a perfect meet. What I was most proud of was that our team just stuck together. Where we had some mishaps along the way, we had some people step up that we weren’t necessarily counting on to place that well. The bottom line is that our team just stuck together.”

Still work to do

Several members of the track program will seek national honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships, set for March 9-11 at Texas A&M.

CSU is still very much in the running for a fourth conference title this season. The men’s basketball team currently is tied with Nevada for first in the Mountain West with two games to play.