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Buff Blitz: 2009 Indoor Nationals

Mar 12, 2009

For two members of the University of Colorado's track and field team, this weekend holds a lot of potential. Jeremy Dodson and Kenyon Neuman are among the three preparing for the upcoming NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, held in College Station, Texas.
 
Dodson is preparing for his first indoor championships in a black and gold uniform. He said he spent the past few weeks making sure his academic work is taken care of since the team is traveling so he can focus on athletics. Finding a balance between school and sports doesn't seem to faze Dodson as he gets ready to leave for Texas.
 
"I'm not stressed," he said. "I'm just trying to be prepared."

At the Air Force Invite, Dodson ran to a school record time of 20.88 seconds and first place in the 200-meter dash. He also recorded a personal record at the same meet with his time of 6.72 in the 60-meter dash, also earning him first place.
 
"I'm just doing what I came to do and what the coach tells me to do," he said. "I'm just producing what I'm supposed to."
 
Dodson is a senior sprinter who broke a 32-year old school record in the outdoor 200-meter dash with his time of 20.37.

He has also earned eight of the top 10 marks in CU's indoor 200m record book.
 
This season has been different for Dodson because his two younger brothers, Quinton Dodson and A.J. Whitaker, are true freshman on the team. Quinton Dodson has enjoyed success on the track in the 60, 200, 400-meter dashes and the long jump. Whitaker is focusing on the 60 and 200.
 
For the elder Dodson, their presence on the team is a learning experience that goes both ways. His experience as a sprinter will serve his brothers and teammates well.

"It has been more relaxed, having them on the team," he explained. "It's also been more interesting and informative as I have to coach them as well and I learn from them. I'm having so much fun being around them."
 
As nationals approach, Dodson reflected on what would be the perfect ending to his indoor career.
 
"The perfect ending would be to be a national champion," said Dodson. "So hopefully I can do that."

Senior distance runner Neuman earned his first track All-American honor in the 5,000-meter run in 2008 during the outdoor season and is looking to earn his first indoor honor in the event. Neuman's outdoor time of 13:45.54 ranks 10th on CU's all-time performance list. He ran with Stephen Pifer and Brent Vaughn, who also rank high on CU's all-time performance list, in the final.

"It felt good to become an All-American," said Neuman. "I really enjoyed racing with Pifer and Brent Vaughn. I learned a lot from them as far as racing and training. Going to the NCAA Championship with those guys made it that much easier. I was that much more comfortable; they took some of the panic and nerves away from my first championship."

Neuman holds the third fastest time in the indoor 5k at CU, behind Adam Goucher and Vaughn. He credits his performance to the strength of CU's team and the caliber of his teammates.

"The two guys ahead of me are both very talented and very strong runners, he said. "The people behind me are strong runners and it's just an honor. I feel fortunate to have been in such a fast race to run that time."

This trip to nationals will be Neuman's first. He is "taking it easy" in preparation for the competition.

"I'm really happy I made the indoor championship since I haven't been there yet," Neuman said. "I should have made it last year but I ran into some problems. I am just excited to race and compete and I feel like this is the first time I've been in a national championship race and I'm at a certain fitness level to compete and finish high. If I'm feeling better than I have been, I think I can compete with some of the top guys there and finish in the top five."

Dodson will race in the semi finals of the 200 at 6:45 p.m. (CST) on Friday night. The finals are set for 8:10 that evening. Neuman will run the 5k at 7:30 p.m., also on Friday.