By Steve Holt, Copy Editor
The ACU men’s track and field team has won 17 Lone Star Conference titles in the 28 years the championship has existed. The women have won all 19 such titles since 1983. Though both Wildcat teams are again the overwhelming favorites to win the LSC championship at Elmer Gray Stadium Friday and Saturday, six conference teams might have something to say to that.
“It’s exciting-if everyone tries to come up and knock us off-we’ve been winning for quite some time,” head coach Jon Murray said. “So we’ll have to watch what we’re doing; otherwise, it could happen.”
The teams entered in this weekend’s meet include ACU, Angelo State, Eastern New Mexico, Tarleton State, Texas A&M-Commerce and Texas A&M-Kingsville. Murray said Angelo State and Kingsville will be the main team competition on both the men’s and women’s side.
The race of the day looks to be the men’s 100-meter dash, which will look more like an elite race than a Division II conference race. The race, which is scheduled to be run at 6:50 p.m. Saturday evening, features the top three Division II sprinters in the nation. Junior Olan Coleman from Tarleton State is ranked No. 1 in the nation and the meet with his season-best time of 10.20. Junior Christie VanWyk is seeded second with his best time of 10.22, followed by senior Nic Alexander at No. 3 with his time of 10.31.
“The sprint races will be really good with our two guys and Coleman from Tarleton State,” Murray said. “That’s probably a preview of the national meet, the top three or four there.”
Alexander is 0.1 away from meeting the automatic qualifying mark of 10.30, but that the meet will be a test to see how healthy he is before nationals.
“I just want to see how well my leg can hold out,” Alexander said. “I’ll be running six times. Next week, I’ll talk to my coaches and see how I’m doing and then maybe change up my training until nationals.”
The women’s team will need to get points from 800-meter runner Angie Waters, 1,500- and 3,000-meter runner Yuliya Stashkiv, 200-meter runner Sofi Hildenborg, pole vaulter Katie Eckley and long jumper Olessya Belyayeva, all of whom are ranked No. 1 in their events going into the conference championship.
Several women will look to better or establish their provisional qualifying mark, as the women’s team has yet to post an automatic qualifying mark.
On the men’s side, Coleman, Alexander and VanWyk will again duke it out in the 200-meter dash, as they are ranked first through third, respectively.
Seeing his first action of the outdoor season will be sophomore Manuel Brandenborn, who will compete in the shot put. Brandenborn was the individual champion in the event at the 2002 outdoor national meet.
Despite a few minor injuries on the women’s side, Murray said he expects the warm weather and sunny skies to favor the next-to-last meet before the Outdoor National Championships in Edwardsville, Ill.
“It’s a busy weekend-there’s a lot of things going on with the tennis regionals and finals coming up, but I would hope we would have a pretty good crowd out there for Saturday night,” he said. “It’ll be a good well-run, on-time meet. I anticipate having some good crowds out there if they want to see some good competition.”
Friday’s action will begin with field events at 3 p.m. and end with the 10,000-meter run at 8:30 p.m. Saturday’s action will start at noon with the remainder of the field events. Running event finals will begin Saturday evening at 5 p.m. and conclude with the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relay races at 8:30 p.m.