By Chandler Harris, Assistant Sports Editor
The ACU track and field teams traveled to Austin to compete in the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays Wednesday through Saturday at the University of Texas. The Wildcats are competing against top programs including Texas, Baylor, Arkansas and Texas A&M.
Don Hood, head track and field coach, was excited to compete against such quality competition.
“We will run against some real good people there,” Hood said. “There will be 20,000 people in the stands, and hopefully our relays will hit some good marks. It’s a good opportunity to showcase the program and show people the quality of athletes that we have.”
Texas A&M is ranked No. 1 in the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association poll for both the men’s and women’s program. The Arkansas men’s squad is ranked No. 2 in the nation, Texas is ranked No. 7 and Baylor No. 10. On the women’s side, Michigan is ranked No. 10 and Texas is ranked No. 14.
For the most part, the teams will focus on running relays and hitting good marks, but a few athletes will run individual events, Prather said.
Kim Prather will run in the 100-meter along with teammate Wanda Hutson. Harold Jackson will run in the men’s 400-meter hurdles and Desmond Jackson will compete in the 100-meter.
The meet began with the men’s decathlon and defending NCAA Division II outdoor national champion, Camille Vandendriessche, was in third place with three events remaining. High winds delayed the final three events, including the pole vault, javelin throw and 1,500-meter. Results can be viewed online at acusports.com.
Vandendriessche finished first in the shot put with a throw of 47 feet, 1.5 inches. He finished third in the high jump with a jump of six feet, five inches and fourth in the discus with a throw of 135 feet, 6 inches. Vandendriessche racked up 5,290 points in the first seven events and trailed Trinity Otto of Texas A&M by 157 points.
“To us, it’s one of the biggest meets of the year,” Prather said. “It’s important for us to get good times on the relays and I think we will. We would like to go out there and do well, seeing as we are a Texas school.”
Prather said the Wildcats are one of just three NCAA Division II schools competing.
On Thursday, three Wildcats were honored for their performances at last week’s ACU Triangular meet. Desmond Jackson was named co-LSC Men’s Track Athlete of the Week after posting the nation’s third-best time in the 100-meter. Nick Jones was named LSC Field Athlete of the Week after automatically qualifying for the national outdoor meet in both the shot put and discus. Paige Newby earned the LSC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week after posting the nation’s second best mark in the women’s discus.