By Steve Holt, Copy Editor
Christie Van Wyk won the men’s 100-meter dash by such a big margin at the Oliver Jackson Open Saturday, one might have wondered if he had accidentally entered the high school girls’ division. The sophomore star won the event in 10.22 seconds, more than half a second faster than the runner-up and good for an automatic bid to the outdoor national championships.
Head coach Jon Murray said Van Wyk’s speed is a result of perfecting the technical aspects of his race.
“He does a really good job with [the 100-meter dash],” Murray said of the Namibia native, who met the “B” standard for this coming summer’s World Championships in Paris. “He stays relaxed and focuses on what he needs to do. I was pretty surprised at his time because he was struggling a little indoors, the did well at nationals.”
Nine Wildcat athletes and two relay teams qualified provisionally for nationals in a meet that ACU clearly dominated.
Wildcat runners dominated the men’s 1,500-meter run, and sophomore Martin O’Kello and junior Jean-Marie Ndukimana qualified provisionally and finished first and second, respectively. Sophomore Ben Washington won the triple jump and qualified provisionally with a mark of 48-11 3/4, and sophomore shot-putter Shai Shalev provisionally qualified with a mark of 56-3 3/4.
Senior Lakeshia Finch, who won her first indoor national championship last week, won the women’s triple jump Saturday with a distance of 40-6 1/4 to qualify provisionally. In the meet’s first event, freshman Angela Campbell turned in an impressive effort in the long jump, provisionally qualifying in and winning the women’s long jump with a mark of 19-0 1/2.
Senior Althea Johnson came close to qualifying automatically in the 100-meter dash, but managed a provisional winning time of 11.89. Because of the rain during the morning, the women’s pole vault was moved indoors, but Wildcats still placed first and second in the event. Sophomores Val Gorter and Katie Eckley placed first and second, respectively, in the event, each clearing 12-0 and qualifying provisionally.
The men’s 4×100-meter relay team won in a provisional time of 40.55, while the women’s 4×100-meter relay team provisionally qualified in 46.57.
Murray said his expectations for Saturday’s first outdoor meet were surpassed.
“We just had indoor nationals; we get all hyped up there. Then we come back to school and have a meet seven days later,” Murray said. “They did a great job considering.”