By Steve Holt, Sports Writer
The ACU men’s and women’s track and field teams barnstormed meets in Lubbock and Fayetteville, Ark., Friday and Saturday, qualifying 13 individuals and three relay teams for the 2005 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships. Seven men, one woman and one relay qualified in five events at the Wes Kittley All-Comers Meet at Texas Tech, while four athletes and one relay qualified provisionally at the Razorback Invitational.
The meets were the first of the season for ACU, which will defend its men’s indoor title. The women’s team will look to improve on its fourth-place finish indoors in 2004.
A complete season preview will appear in Friday’s Optimist.
At the Lubbock meet, named for longtime Wildcat coach Wes Kittley, seven men qualified in five events. Senior Ben Washington won the triple jump with a distance of 50-0 1/2, which was a nation-best and provisional qualifying mark. Senior Cory Aguilar also won his event, the pole vault, with a provisional height of 16-1. Junior Delt Cockrell finished well in the 400-meter dash, winning the event with a provisional time of 48.66. Newcomer Vladyslav Gorbenko placed second in the men’s triple jump, posting a provisional mark of 48-0.
Two Wildcats posted some of the nation’s top times in the 200 meters, an event just added to the indoor national meet this season. Sophomore Marvin Bien-Aime and Elton Garus-Oab placed second and third, respectively, in the men’s 200-meter dash, with respective provisional times of 21.34 and 21.55.
For the women, pole-vaulter Angie Aguilar cleared a provisional height of 12-5, winning her event. Newcomer Shauna-Kay Thompson won the 200-meter dash with the nation’s top time, 24.61. Teammate Jessica Hunt also posted a provisional time of 25.34 in the event. The women’s 4×400-meter relay team also ran a provisional qualifying time of 3:52.2.
In Fayetteville, the men’s distance medley relay team (with legs of 1200, 400, 800 and 1600 meters) placed third overall with a provisional time of 9:50.26. This season will be the first to include the DMR on the schedule at indoor nationals. Newcomer Lucky Hadebe ran a provisional qualifying time in the mile, placing eighth in 4:12.1. Senior Marvin Essor was eighth in the men’s 400-meter dash, running a provisional time of 48.36.
Brooklyn Hunt, twin sister of Jessica, ran 25.26 to qualify provisionally in the women’s 200-meter dash, while the women’s distance medley relay squad posted a provisional time of 12:17.93.
Head coach Jon Murray said the first two outings were as good as any opening weekend he’s seen in the last several years.
“It was a good opening for us. We had some real good stuff there,” Murray said. “It was great to have a low-key one in Lubbock and a little bit better one for some of our guys in Arkansas.”
Murray said he expects athletes to improve on times posted this weekend through hard work at practice.
“If we get good weather, more workouts, more chances to compete, we should improve from where we are,” Murray said. “It’ll all come together by nationals.”
The Wildcats will be in Lubbock the next two weekends for the Red Raider Classic and the Red Raider Invitational, respectively.