By Steve Holt, Copy Editor
Two proven seniors track and field athletes did what they’ve been doing their entire careers, while a freshman made a great first impression at Saturday’s Red Raider Open in Lubbock.
Seniors Maresa Cadien-head and Nic Alexander, as well as freshman Yuliva Stashkiv qualified automatically for the Division II National Indoor Track and Field Championship for their marks in ACU’s first indoor action.
Cadienhead, to whom winning the women’s high jump has become second nature, cleared 6-1 1/2″ on her way to a victory in the event. Alexander took first in the men’s 55 meters in 6.20, but it was his preliminary time of 6.19 that first qualified him automatically. Stashkiv, who came to Abilene earlier this month from the Ukraine, blistered the competition with her time of 4:49.62 in the women’s mile.
About Cadienhead, Murray said “it is always good to have an athlete you know will always score high,” and that her consistency at clearing high has improved since her freshman year.
“When she was a freshman, 6 feet was a magical thing,” Murray said. “Now she’s opening up at 6-1. It’s been fun to see her develop as an athlete.”
Murray said the injury-riddled Alexander of the past two seasons has apparently been replaced by the dominant sprinter of three years ago.
“He looks like the Nic of his freshman year,” Murray said. “He has been held back by injuries the last two seasons, but he has been staying healthy and has worked hard this fall.”
In addition to the three automatic qualifiers, 10 ACU athletes qualified provisionally for the national meet. The men’s qualifiers were: Christie Van Wyk, 55m (6.34); Shai Shalev, shot put (57-0 3/4″); and Cory Aguilar, pole vault (15-7 1/4″).
The women’s provisional qualifiers were: Althea John-son, 55m (7.08); Angie Waters, 800m (2:12.81); Alice Berg-strom, high jump (5-5 3/4″); Olessya Belyayeva, long jump (19-2 1/4″); Lakeisha Finch, triple jump (39-5″); Shauna-Gaye Stephens, 55m hurdles (8.36); and the 4×400-meter relay team (3:54.58).
This weekend Murray said he will send only part of the team, primarily field event athletes, to the Red Raider Classic in Lubbock.