By Jared Fields, Editor in Chief
The ACU men’s and women’s track teams returned from the J. D. Martin Invitational in Norman, Okla., with just a few provisional qualifying marks.
Head coach Don Hood said that while no automatic qualifying marks were posted for the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships in Mankato, Minn., the teams still gained valuable experience. Hood also attributed a hard week’s worth of work the previous week to the meet in Oklahoma.
“Honestly, this weekend I thought – as a whole – was pretty decent,” Hood said. “We went there primarily to see how it is to run on a flat track.
“It was a good experience no matter what,” Hood said.
Although none of the athletes who competed over the weekend posted automatic marks, the Wildcats won two events and provisionally qualified several others.
The men’s 4×400 relay team won the 4×440-yard relay with a time of 3:18.88, and two women’s pole-vaulters- Sara Watson and Elizabeth Buyse – tied for the victory with identical marks of 11-7.75 feet.
Other provisional marks for the women were Kim Prather in the 60 meters and 400 meters. Prather’s time of 57.67 in the 400 gave her a surprising provisional time, considering the 400m is not her event.
“I’m not even a 400 runner, but he put me in and I qualified,” Prather said.
Prather finished seventh in the 60m with a time of 7.68 seconds.
The men had three athletes post provisional marks. Raymond
Radway finished third in the 400 meters at a time of 49.04, and Ramon Sparks finished third in the long jump at 23-4.00.
Hood said Sparks fouled on a couple of jumps that looked better than his best official mark.
“He jumped far; he’s just not comfortable on the runway yet,” Hood said. “He finally settled down toward the end and hit some big jumps.”
Andrew McDowell improved his time in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing second with a finals time of 8.20 seconds.
ACU competes again at the Tyson Indoor Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. on Feb. 14-16.
Hood said many athletes are just coming into their own, and that he expects more from his team in the upcoming weeks.
“We’re just knocking on the door on several events that I think we’ll need,” Hood said. “We worked really, really hard last week, and that made a tremendous difference.”