By Steve Holt, Sports Writer
Junior Ben Washington qualified automatically for the Division II Indoor National Championships Friday, posting a mark of 51-7 in the triple jump at the Texas Tech All-Comers Meet in Lubbock. Washington, who was the only automatic qualifier for the Wildcats, also qualified for the U.S.A. Indoor National Championships in Boston, Feb. 27-29.
“He just works really hard-that’s what it all comes down to,” said head coach Jon Murray of Washington. “He just puts the time and effort into his event and gets stronger and is able to run faster and jump farther.”
Eight other ACU athletes qualified provisionally at Friday’s meet, including five men and three women.
Sprinters Christie VanWyk and Marvin Bien-Aime posted provisional times in the 55-meter dash, with VanWyk winning the event in 6.28 and Bien-Aime placing fourth in 6.38. Sophomore Cory Aguilar won the pole vault, clearing a provisional height of 16-1 1/2, while sophomore Delt Cockrell provisionally qualified in the 400 meters, placing fourth in 48.11. The other male qualifier was sophomore Yevgen Paschencko, who qualified provisionally in the long jump with a second-place jump of 24-7.
The men’s 4×400-meter team, which Murray expects to be much improved this season, ran 3:12 in the event but was called for a false start and disqualified. Murray said the squad could run under 3:10 during the outdoor season.
Freshman Liga Klavina, who arrived at ACU earlier this month as one of the top heptathletes in the world, competed in the women’s shot put Friday, posting a provisional mark of 45-5 3/4 in the event. Junior Val Gorter won the women’s pole vault with a provisional qualifying mark of 11-6, while transfer Stephanie Warren qualified provisionally in the triple jump with a jump of 38-6 1/4.
“It was our first meet of the year, so we were just trying to get everything going,” Murray said.
The women’s track and field team took a hit earlier this month when sophomore distance star Yuliya Stashkiv of Ukraine transferred to Texas State for reasons unknown. Stashkiv was the 1,500-meter champion at the NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championships last May, also finishing fourth in the 3,000-meter run. After a strong cross country season, Stashkiv was expected to contend for individual titles in the middle distance events during the 2004 track and field season.
Both teams will be in action at Saturday’s Red Raider Classic in Lubbock, the second of three consecutive meets on the campus of Texas Tech.