After four straight weekends of meets, track and field took Easter weekend off before gearing up for the final stretch, which starts with a second consecutive Baylor meet this weekend.
While in Waco two weeks ago at the Baylor Invitational, the Wildcats made it to the medal stand twice, with two bronze medals each coming in the 1500-meter race. Despite the windy conditions which head coach Lance Bingham said did play a small role, sophomore Carnley Graham took third in the women’s 1500 with a time of 4:47.37, while Rivers finished just one second shy of the runner-up’s pace of 3:57.97, with his time of 3:58.23.
Among a competitive 15-team field, which consisted of the likes of teams from the Big-12, SEC, Conference USA and Northwestern State and Lamar from the Southland Conference, juniors Ryan Cleary and Kyle Mann also posted fifth-place performances. Cleary finished just one-tenth of a second ahead of senior teammate Sterlen Paul at 1:51.52 in the 800-meter run, and Mann posted a lifetime-best pole vault of 16 feet.
“I felt like that the intensity of the competition was there, but I felt like the guys and girls stepped it up,” Bingham said.
Redshirts Kai Schmidt and Morgan Knight competed unattached in the meet and would have placed first and third for ACU had they been eligible to compete. Wildcat throwers also took victories in seven of the eight events in a short meet at McMurry before the break.
“Across the board we have to continue to get sharper but overall it was quality meet,” Bingham said. “For our team I feel like we are in a good place and as we continue I think we’ll get sharper.”
As stiff as the competition was at the Baylor Invitational, Bingham said he expects this weekend’s Michael Johnson Invitational to be similar, but stronger in certain areas.
“It will be a little bit better across the board, but still similar in terms of quality of competition overall,” Bingham said.
After heading to Baylor this weekend ACU will host back-to-back meets at Elmer Gray Stadium, before traveling to Louisiana May 12-14 for the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships.
Bingham said he has seen improvement from the team at each meet so far and look to peak at the conference championships.
“Well ultimately track is so different than anything because everybody plays conference teams throughout and we are constantly working toward the conference meet at the end of the year.”
The Michael Johnson Invitational will take place all day Saturday and run similar to the Baylor Invitational.