By Jared Fields, Editor in Chief
After the first weekend of competition, the Wildcats automatically qualified four women, and one male athlete for the NCAA Division II Championships in Mankato, Minn.
The four women all came from the team’s 4×400 meter relay team. Members Kim Prather, Keva Wilkins, Shawna- Kaye Thompson and Azraa Rounds won the event at the Texas Tech Invitational and posted the best Division II time in the country.
The Wildcats’ time in Lubbock of 3:43.31 currently bests the next D-II time by more than four seconds. Head coach Don Hood said the women’s time is the fourthbest time in school history.
“All other times better than that were run at Division II championships,” Hood said.
Two of the relay team members qualified individually for the 400-meter dash: Keva Wilkins and Azraa Rounds.
Wilkins and Rounds placed 2nd and third at the meet with times of 55.15 and 55.62 seconds, respectively.
Recent transfer Daniel Maina posted the men’s only automatic time with a mile time of 4:09.60. A Kenyan native, Maina, came to ACU at the beginning of the spring semester from Cowley County Community College in Kansas where he won the steeple chase and 5,000 meters at the NJCAA Outdoor Championships last year.
Anchoring the women’s mile relay, Rounds said the team’s expectations going into the meet were not very high.
“All the girls just ran for time and to see what we do,” Rounds said. “[Hood] was very surprised, he didn’t know what we were going to do.”
Hood said another word would best describe his reaction to the weekend: encouraged.
“I thought we started at a higher level than we did last year,” Hood said. “I’m encouraged by the fact that we know our students better than we did last year.”
Another encouraging factor for both teams is the amount of work put in by the athletes, and Hood said the teams have been working harder this year than last.
“They realize to be better athletes requires a tremendous amount of time,” Hood said.
“Talented freshmen and sophomores we’ve had the last two years are starting to realize the clock is running out for them.”
Five ACU athletes automatically qualified over the weekend for the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships in Mankato, Minn., on March 14. To start the 2008 indoor season, ACU’s track and field teams were split up between the Texas Tech Invitational in Lubbock and Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.
*Daniel Maina, mile
*Keva Wilkins, 400m
*Azraa Rounds, 400m
*Women’s 4x400m relay team (Kim Prather, Wilkins, Shawna-Kaye Thompson, Rounds)