The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference announced the 2013-14 indoor track and field preseason coaches poll and awards on Thursday. Western State Colorado University's Barbara Szabo (Jr., Budapest, Hungary) was named the RMAC Women's Preseason Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year, while the Mountaineer women's team was ranked second in the preseason coaches poll. The Mountaineer men were picked to finish third in the conference.
Along with Szabo, two other Mountaineers were named to Preseason All-RMAC teams, including fellow high jumper Susan Jackson (Sr., Napa, Calif.). Jackson sat out last year after battling with injury. Jackson won the 2012 national championship in the outdoor women's high jump.
The only Mountaineer on the men's side to make the preseason team was Vegard Olstad (Jr., Gjovik, Norway). Olstad is coming off a terrific cross country season where he finished as RMAC champion, South Central Region champion and national runner-up. Olstad was national champion last year at the outdoor track and field championships in the 1,500-meter run.
Szabo is a four-time national champion, five-time All-American and seven-time Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference champion. On March 9, 2013 Barbara Szabo earned her third consecutive NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field National Championship title in the women's high jump. Szabo became just the eighth women's athlete to win an indoor national title three consecutive years in any event. Szabo's winning mark came at 1.85 meters (6' 0.75").
Szabo duplicated her success at the indoor championships by earning her first outdoor high jump national title at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 25 in Pueblo, Colo. Szabo cleared 1.87 meters (6' 1.5") earning her fourth career individual national championship and set a new facility record at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.
During 2012-13, Szabo broke the Western State Colorado University school record in the high jump on Feb. 9 at the Colorado School of Mines Twilight Collegiate Open, clearing the bar at 1.92 meters (6' 3.5"). 1.92 meters was the second highest mark in all collegiate divisions last season and was the third highest ever in Division II. With her 1.92 meter jump, Szabo was ranked eighth in the world by the IAAF and competed at the World Championships in Moscow, Russia over the summer.
Szabo earned conference titles in the indoor women's high jump, indoor triple jump and outdoor high jump. Szabo was an All-Conference performer in the indoor women's high jump, indoor triple jump, outdoor high jump, outdoor long jump, outdoor triple jump and outdoor javelin throw.
Szabo's conference accolades over the past year also included being named the 2013 RMAC Indoor Track & Field Women's Athlete of the Meet, the 2013 RMAC Indoor Track and Field Women's Field Athlete of the Year and the 2013 RMAC Outdoor Track and Field Women's Field Athlete of the Year.
The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) also recognized Szabo as the South Central Region Women's Indoor Field Athlete of the Year and was named to the South Central Outdoor All-Region Team.
While the Mountaineer help athletes begin the 2013-14 season this weekend, most of the Western indoor track and field team will start the season on Dec. 12 at the Air Force Holiday Open.