By Steve Holt, Copy Editor
ACU picked up three more provisional qualifiers Saturday at the Red Raider Classic in Lubbock, bringing the total number of provisional or automatic qualifiers for the Division II Indoor Track and Field National Championship to 16.
Sophomore Ben Washington, and freshmen Daray Sims and Yevgen Pashchenko met the provisional qualifying mark in the triple jump. Washington won the event with a jump of 50 feet, 3.5 inches, putting his name at the top of the Division II performance list and setting an indoor personal best.
Freshman Cory Aguilar, who provisionally qualified for nationals at the Red Raider Open, had another good showing in the men’s pole vault, placing sixth in the event with mark of 15-7 1/4. Sophomore pole vaulters Katie Eckley and Val Gorter both were close to provisional marks, clearing 10-10 1/4 and 10-4 1/4, respectively.
Washington said Saturday’s national-best jump is not where he wants to stop improving.
“Individually, I feel good about it, but also I’m not satisfied because I believe I can do better,” Washington said. “It’s a big stepping stone, I know, but it’s only the first stepping stone.”
Washington jumped last season with four-time all-American Terrance Woods, who completed his eligibility. Washington said Woods, with second-year assistant coach Sergei Bykov, have been invaluable to his early success this season.
“I’m still learning, and Terrance is still out there periodically,” Washington said. “I receive a big brother-type guidance from him. He and my coach, Sergei Bykov, helped me understand more about my event. I’ve gotten a lot of coaching since last spring.”
Of Washington’s performance, head coach Jon Murray said the sophomore is getting some of the best training around in a tough event.
“It is a timing event where you’re working on strength and fitness,” Murray said. “Coach Bykov does a good job with it. He sets a good example as someone who has been an international star about how to do good.”
Murray will take about 45 athletes back to Lubbock this weekend to participate in the Red Raider Invitational, the last of three straight indoor meets on the Texas Tech campus.