By Jared Fields, Editor in Chief
Atop the steeplechase hurdle on the first lap, Winrose Karunde lost her shoe on the landing.
Head coach Don Hood has seen a runner finish a race without a shoe before. The athlete finished without much of the skin on his foot too.
Long distance coach, and Don’s brother, Derek ran down to Karunde at the end of the race, fearing her foot, too, would be in bad shape.
Karunde won the race by about 13 seconds at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays and posted the best time in NCAA Division II this year.
“Derek ran down, she said, ‘Coach, I’m fine; I’ve always run without shoes. It’s no big deal,'” Don Hood said.
It was Karunde’s first race without shoes, as the freshman continued her dominance this season.
“I know how I can do without a shoe, so I can know how I can do with shoes,” Karunde said.
Karunde’s steeplechase win was the second for her in the last two days. Wednesday, Karunde, who won the 5,000- meter indoors last month, cruised to the 5,000-meter win, with a time of 17:04.30, winning by 25 seconds and again posting the top time for the event in Division II.
“She buried everybody in the 5,000: it wasn’t even a contest,” Don Hood said. “She was the most impressive distance runner at the meet on the women’s side.”
Another impressive performance came from decathlete Camille Vandendriessche who broke ACU’s record for points on the second day of the event and posted the highest point total in Division II.
Vandendriessche placed fifth at the event with 7,559 points. Teammate Chris Pounds finished 12 with an automatic qualifying total of 7,010.
“He almost didn’t compete because his knee (tendonitis) was bothering him,” Hood said. “That would have been a bad decision. He’s just tough; he’s smart enough to be able to make an adaptation during the events to relieve some pain.”
Vandendriessche’s discus throw also provisionally qualifies him for the championship meet next month. His throw of 162-10 broke the ACU record for the discus throw by a decathlete.
Some athletes didn’t compete in Austin and stayed in town for the McMurry Relays. There, Kelli Clements highlighted the Wildcats competing at McMurry, winning the shot put with a throw of 48-8.25.
“Actually, when I threw it, I mean it felt good, but the lines were off so it didn’t look that far,” Clements said. “Then when they measured it, I was just like, I felt really good.”
Back at the Texas Relays, the men’s and women’s 4×400 relay teams ran their best times of the season, posting automatic qualifying times.
The women’s team finished sixth with a time of 3:40.80, the top time in Division II.
The men’s team finished fifth with a time of 3:08.04. Raymond Radway secondleg split of 46.5 led the team, and surprised himself.
“I didn’t think that I was really going as fast as they clocked me,” Radway said. I was trying to run relaxed and smooth, so I guess it paid off at the end.”
Hood said Radway’s experience is nothing unexpected or unique to just him.
“We’re at the point of the season where the high-volume, long workouts are done,” Hood said. “I’ve heard some great sprint coaches say once you get to the point in the season where you start running fast in practice it’s going to click, and all a sudden it’s going to get easy.”