By Jared Fields, Editor in Chief
If you look on the ACU track and field teams’ schedule, the teams have no meet scheduled for this weekend. However, head coach Don Hood will take about 30 athletes to the Texas Tech Invitational.
Hood said the event fell on what he originally scheduled as an off week, and that the opportunity for his athletes to compete another weekend at a meet so close benefits everyone.
“We were going to take this weekend off, but after this weekend, we’re short a meet,” Hood said. “It’s a chance to run everyone and not have to load them up for a lastchance meet.”
For this weekend, Hood said the women’s pole vault team needs a solid performance the most.
In the NCAA Division II standings, the highest ranking women’s pole vaulter is Katy Abner at No. 17. Sara Watson and Elizabeth Buyse rank Nos. 19 and 22, respectively.
Hood said Kim Prather also needs a good meet in her 200- meter race.
“She doesn’t have a mark yet, so that would be a big boost,” Hood said.
Returning shot put indoor all-American Kelli Clements will be participating in her first meet this weekend and could be another athlete Hood hopes can become a qualifier.
On the men’s side, the pole vaulters are just as important as on the women’s team. Landon Ehlers holds the No. 5 ranking in Division II, but Hood said he would like to see a few more men’s pole vaulters put their names on the qualifying list.
Just as important for the men are the long jumpers.
At the beginning of the season, Hood said as many as five men could qualify for the indoor championships in the long jump. But currently, just one, Ramon Sparks, has a provisional qualifying mark.
“They’ve got the potential to have some big jumps; we just haven’t done it yet,” Hood said of his long jumpers. “All these guys that are new on our list. I feel like they’ve got to do something.”
Other athletes want to improve on times already posted. Andrew McDowell ranks at No. 13 in the 60-meter hurdles, but his time of 8.20 is just one-tenth of a second from a top-six ranking. Freshman Billy Walker holds the No. 5 ranking so far with a time of 8.09 seconds.
“We’ve been getting real technical lately, and I just want to have a real technical race where everything is real smooth,” McDowell said.”I think I already have the speed; it’s just the technical stuff is where the time’s gonna drop.” McDowell said he wants to post an automatic qualifying time in the 60-meter hurdles this weekend so he can turn his focus to training instead of continuing to post better times. “Hopefully we can get the drills in and the technique,”
McDowell said. “We should be well rested and go out there and get some good times.”