By Jared Fields, Editor in Chief
The Lone Star Conference track and field championships came easy to the men’s and women’s teams this year.
The men won their 15th title in a row this weekend, outscoring Tarleton State, 290-125, while the women won their third straight title and 23rd of the last 25 years, beating runner-up Angelo State, 259-223.
But head coach Don Hood said the expectancy to win didn’t take away from the meaning for his athletes.
“It was nice to see that the conference meet means something to them,” Hood said. “You hope you don’t overlook something like this, and I’m impressed with how hard they competed.”
For the men, Raymond Radway and Billy Walker won multiple titles.
Radway easily won the200- and 400-meter races, anchored the 4×400 relay team to its win and ran on the winning 4×100 relay team.
Walker had a similar day for the Wildcats as he won both hurdle races and ran on the 4×100 relay. Walker’s 110-hurdle time of 13.92 ranked him second in the nation and was the fourth best time for the event in ACU history. Teammate Andrew McDowell finished second in the 110-meter hurdles with a 13.99, ranking him third in the nation for such an event.
Pole-vaulter Stephen Toler automatically qualified with his jump of 17-1.00, ranking him first in Division II.
The women’s team had a pair of double winners. Winrose Karunde dominated her events, as she has all year, winning the 3,000- and 5,000-meter races.
Destinee Nixon won the triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and was on the winning 4×100 relay. Her time of 14.06 in the hurdles relay would have ranked her in the top 10 in the country, but the wind was above the allowable limit for a legal time. Her triple jump of 39-10.5 qualified her for the national meet.
Jessica Withrow won her third-straight conference heptathlon, posting an automatic qualifying mark of 4,971 points. Withrow won the heptathlon at the national meet last year as a sophomore. She then competed individually in the high jump, long jump and 100-meter hurdles and won the high jump, placed second in the long jump and sixth in the hurdles.
Two women pole vaulters made good marks for nationals while placing first and second at the conference meet. Callie Young won the meet with a vault of 12-10.25, which automatically qualified her for the national meet. Katy Abner finished second with a provisionally qualifying mark of 12-6.25.
The teams have one more meet before nationals in Walnut, Calif., May 22-24. The Wildcats will host the annual ACU Twilight Open on Thursday.