CSUS hosts Big Sky Championship

Anthony Honrade

In spite of winning the Big Sky Indoor Championships for both the men and women last season, the Sacramento State’s track and field team will have an advantage coming into the outdoor championships.

The Hornets will be able to compete at their own outdoor stadium in an effort to bring two more championships to Sac State on May 11-14.

In order for the event to be a success, Sac State director of track and field Kathleen Raske will have to work with her staff to accommodate the different schools that will be participating in the meet.

“It’s a lot of work,” Raske said.  “This time of year is stressful enough as it is, but to have to put in the amount of work for the conference is a little bit of added stress for us as a staff.  Once we get it all set up, we can just focus on coaching our athletes.”

Though the four-day event will be completely coordinated by Raske and her staff, there are still some areas in which Raske requires assistance.

“We definitely are looking for people to serve as volunteers and we need quite a lot of certified track and field officials to run the event as well,” Raske said. “If you look at the number of officials and volunteers needed over the course of four days, it numbers over 150.”

Some of the duties volunteers would undertake include things like moving hurdles, moving blocks, running results and other tasks, Raske said.

“You don’t have to have any experience or be certified,” Raske said.

“We’re just looking for anybody who is willing to get their hands a little bit dirty.”

The last time Sac State hosted the Big Sky Outdoor Championships was back in 2008, and to host it again so soon is a rare occurrence.

“Our conference has a rotation and everybody is assigned a particular year to host the championships,” Raske said. “We weren’t supposed to get the outdoor championships again until eight years later, and for us to have it again so quickly was actually by default, so we jumped at the chance to host it.”

The University of Northern Colorado was scheduled to host the event, but is unable to do so because its outdoor track and field facility did not meet championship standards, Raske said.

The change in venue could ultimately benefit the Hornets in gaining two more titles for both the men and women.

“I certainly view it as home-field advantage. It offers equality and fairness because everyone is going be to competing at sea level,” Raske said. “We’ll also have more of a local following, so we’d like to see as many fans in the stands as possible supporting our Hornet athletes. There are a lot of advantages with having the meet here at home.”

Senior Ronald Brookins believes the weather in Sacramento will play a role in how the athletes from the other schools will perform.

“One of the biggest advantages we have is our conference has a lot of mountain schools, so they’re not used to the heat that we’re used to, because they’re from different snowy areas,” Brookins said.

Senior Andi Behring is looking forward to competing in Sacramento because of the fan base that will be available for the Hornets.

“It’s really nice to have the support of family and friends to come to this meet versus if it was in Colorado,” Behring said.  “We’ll have a bigger support crowd for sure and it’s also nice to compete in a facility that you are familiar with. When you practice in the same ring or jump in the same pit every day. It’s nice to compete in the venue you practice in because you’re familiar with it. It’s definitely an advantage.”

The Sac State women’s team will be looking to win its fourth consecutive indoor title, something that has never been done in the history of the Big Sky Conference.

“It would be a great way to end my career and I would be really excited to go out on top,” Behring said. “Our girls work really hard and they deserve it.”

The outdoor title has eluded the men. They would want nothing more to win it in their own stadium.

“When I was a freshman in 2008, we almost won the outdoor when it was here, so to go out on a big note and win indoor and outdoor on both sides would be amazing,” Brookins said.

Sac State will also be trying to make history by being the first program in the history of the Big Sky Conference to be perfect on the year. To do this, both the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor teams would need to win titles.

“I’d have to do some research on how many programs have actually won four championships and to be perfect on the year,” Raske said.

“That’s pretty rare and pretty special.  That’s what we’re going for.”

You can reach Anthony Honrade at ahonrade@statehornet.com