NEW ORLEANS (June 7, 2018) - In four short years the Colorado State University-Pueblo men's cross country and track and field programs have become a force at the NCAA Division II level and in 2017-18 finished fourth in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Men's Program of the Year standings.
Last year the ThunderWolves finished seventh in the standings, which is based on where the teams finish at the national championships. In a historic 2017-18 campaign, the Pack gathered 15 first or second team All-American awards by seven different student-athletes and sophomore Thomas Staines (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was crowned an NCAA Division II National Champion in both the indoor and outdoor 800m.
CSU-Pueblo collected 28.5 points and was third among the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference institutions, as Adams State University was second (17.5 points) and Colorado School of Mines was third (25.5 points).
The ThunderWolves got things starting with three All-Americans and a second straight top 10 performance at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships. The Pack were seventh to tie for the second best finish in program history. Marcelo Laguera (Jr., Chihuahua, Mexico), Alec Choury (Jr., Westminster, Colo.) and Paul Roberts (So., Boulder, Colo.) all finished in the top 40 to earn USTFCCCA All-American awards.
CSU-Pueblo totaled 22 points at the indoor championships to tie for ninth place, which was the best indoor finish in program history. Staines' national title was the first indoor championship in program history. The distance medley relay squad were national runner-ups after missing a title by less than a second. The ThunderWolves collected seven All-American honors by five different athletes. The DMR was made up of Staines, senior Dueth Vassell (Denver, Colo.), junior Devundrick Walker (Aurora, Colo.) and senior Derrick Williams (Columbia Falls, Mont.). Williams was also a first team All-American in the 3000m run and Laguera gathered second team recognition in the 5000m race.
Four members of the team totaled five All-American honors after the outdoor championships, as the Pack collected 19 points to finish alone in 12th. The placing for the ThunderWolves marked the third best spot at the outdoor championships in program history behind the 1967 (7th) and 1980 (10th) teams. Staines was a National Champion with his second championship meet record time to guide the Pack. Walker was also an All-American in the 800m. Williams was a first teamer in the 3000m steeplechase and second team in the 5000m. Laguera earned All-American status all three seasons, as he capped the year with a visit to the podium in the 10,000m run for All-America First Team recognition.
The USTFCCCA Program of the Year Award is bestowed annually to the most outstanding cross country/track & field programs in each of the NCAA's three divisions and for each gender. The award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year (spanning the cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field seasons) based on the institution's finish at the NCAA Championships.
In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for each of the NCAA Championships. Scoring is based on the team's finish at each NCAA Championship in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field (i.e. 1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2 points, 31st = 31 points) with the lowest total score for all three championships combined determining the award recipient. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.
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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.