After a brief break from competition, track and field will begin its outdoor season Friday in Abilene at the War Hawk Classic.
The meet, which will be at the Wilford Moore Stadium at McMurry University, kicks off the second half of track and field’s season after their impressive showing at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships. Both high schools and colleges will compete. College events begin Friday at noon with men’s pole vault, and finish Saturday afternoon with running events starting at 3 p.m.
The Wildcats’ most recent competition, the Southland Conference Championship, was at the end of February, giving them time to prepare for the outdoor season.
“We had four or five days off just to give our bodies a bit of a break,” said junior Daniel Block, one of ACU’s top performers at the conference championships. “But the last two weeks have been pretty high quality and intensity in terms of workouts.”
Based on their accomplishments at the championship meet, the Wildcats look like they are in a good position to start their outdoor season off strong. The men’s team placed sixth, with a handful of all-conference honorees including Osie Alleyne-Forte (4x400m), Devan Brown (4x400m) Johnathan Farquharson (60m, 4x400m), Luke Woods (heptathlon) and Block (800m, 4x400m).
The women’s team placed ninth out of 14 teams, but is now losing the leadership and talents of senior Reyare Thomas, a two-time conference champion who has used up her NCAA eligibility. Thomas, who attended the 2012 London Olympics on the Trinidad and Tobago team, brought invaluable experience and skill to the Wildcats’ roster.
Despite the loss of Thomas, the ‘Cats have high expectations for their young team which includes 17 freshmen. Some of the leaders and standouts include veteran throwers Lauren Hartwick, Amelia Mitchell and Shalaina Lakey in addition to Lexus Williams in the hurdles and Emily Hill in middle-distance events.
Well-rested and prepared, ACU hopes to dominate in the War Hawk Classic to start its outdoor season, which will be longer and more competitive than the indoor season. The Wildcats look forward to the challenge.
“I’ve always preferred outdoor season because I feel it’s a more accurate representation of an athlete’s abilities,” Block said. “The competitions are often a lot bigger and I find them to be more fun to compete in. When the average person thinks of track and field, they think of outdoor track. In my mind it’s how the sport was meant to be.”