By Steve Holt, Copy Editor
The list of nationals qualifiers is now four individuals and a relay stronger for the Wildcat track and field teams after the Oklahoma Indoor Invitational in Norman, Okla. Saturday’s provisional qualifiers for the NCAA Division II Indoor National Track and Field Championships included sophomore long jumper Tarrant Fuller, freshman sprinter Danieal Manning, sophomore shot-putter Amy Williams and senior long-jumper Shauna-Gaye Stephens.
For some, Saturday was their last chance to qualify for indoor nationals.
Senior Nic Alexander, and freshmen Ricardo Johnson, Cory Aguilar and Delt Cockrell formed the ACU 4×400-meter relay team that qualified provisionally at Saturday’s competition. Last weekend, the team ran an automatic qualifying time and nation’s best 3:12.25, but the performance was disqualified a day later because one of the runners stepped out of his lane.
Fuller reached 24 feet, 0.25 inches in the long jump for a provisional mark, placing third in the event, while Manning placed eighth in the 60-meter dash with a provisional mark of 6.88.
For the women’s team, Williams threw the shot 44-1 1/2 for a provisional mark, while Stephens jumped 18-11 1/4 to qualify provisionally.
Several other athletes who had already qualified bettered their marks Saturday. Sophomore Katie Eckley cleared 12-2 1/2 in the pole vault for fifth place, while freshman Olessya Belyayeva placed third in the long jump with a season-best distance of 19-2 3/4. Sophomore Martin O’Kello placed first in the men’s mile, posting a better time of 4:12.27 in the event.
Aside from the additional qualifiers, the story of the day was Alexander’s performance in the men’s 60 meters. The senior has already qualified automatically for nationals, but “trained” his way to a second place time of 6.66 in the event. Alexander’s lost only to sprint superstar and former TCU sprinter Kim Collins, who won the event in 6.64.
The Trinidad and Tobago native continued a stellar senior season Saturday, one that has solidified him as one of the best sprinters in the nation, regardless of division. At the Tyson Indoor Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., Feb. 15, Alexander won the 60-meter dash over all Division I competition in a blistering time of 6.63.