Three meets into the young 2012 outdoor season, and the Abilene Christian Track and Field team has three athletes who have automatically qualified for nationals.
Junior hurdler Dennis Bain was the most recent to add his name to that list, as he won the 60-meter hurdles with a personal record time of 7.95 seconds last weekend at the New Mexico Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.
“I really learned a lot after competing in the first two meets of the season,” Bain said. “I really challenged my competitors in New Mexico and dug deep. I don’t know, the times just came as a result.”
In the preliminary race, Bain posted a time of 8.11 seconds, but trumped that when it mattered. That time tops his previous best time by .46 seconds and makes him ACU’s first automatic track qualifier. Bain joins the company of thrower Nick Jones and triple jumper Amanda Ouedraogo, the other automatic qualifying Wildcats.
In addition to his hurdles performance, Bain placed third in the 200-meter run, posting an NCAA provisional time of 22.13 seconds, and ran the first leg in the 4×400 meter relay, which also recorded a provisional time of 3:19.62. That relay team is composed of Osei Allyene-Forte, Banjo Jayesimi, Jordan Geary and Bain.
“I’m really not a big fan of the 400,” Bain said. “But God blessed me with the talent to run that also, so I’m looking forward to glorifying Him through that and helping my team in the process as well.”
Geary, a junior sprinter, ran a provisional time of 21.88 seconds in the 200-meter, as did junior college transfer Shennae Steele, who recorded provisional times in the 200-meter (25.14 seconds) and 60-meter (7.72 seconds).
Junior decathlete Parker Petty also provisionally qualified last weekend at the Air Force Academy Team Challenge in Colorado Springs, Colo., placing eighth out of 24 competitors in the heptathlon.
Petty tallied a personal record 4,836 points, which ranks him ninth among NCAA Division II heptathletes. He recorded a personal record in six event included in the heptathlon, including a time of 9.12 in the 60-meter hurdles.
“I finally put a whole heptathlon together in Colorado,” Petty said. “There are still quite a few events I can improve my times and distances with, so the goal will be to work on those to get a better provisional mark.”
Petty posted those marks despite tweaking his groin in the first round of the long jump, so he hopes to improve his long jump and all the others alike.
“I tweaked it in the long jump starting off,” he said. “I’m not really sure how I finished. But I’ll be healthy at the next meet and hopefully that will allow me to perform better.”
Senior Lavance Williams matched his personal record in the long jump, recording a leap of 24-6.5, which ranks second in Division II.
Junior thrower Shalania Lakey and transfer thrower Alexis Wilder finished second and third in the weight throw with NCAA provisional marks of 54-03.25 and 54-02.50, while Nick Jones fell close to five inches shy of the provisional standard despite producing a winning toss of 57.00.25. Lauren Hartwick and Milo Parsons each finished fifth with distances of 51-03.50 and 50-03.50.
Jones won the shot put with a distance of 58-07.50, and on the track in Mew Mexico, Karla Hope (400-meter), Chloe Susset (mile) and Lexus Williams (60-meter hurdles) each recorded provisional times in their events.
ACU athletes have recorded 16 provisional marks in the young 2012 outdoor season, 12 of which happened last weekend. Petty said that is a testament to the depth of their team this year.
“Our team has definitely taken a different role this year,” Petty said. “Last year, we had the four studs, and this year the team is more unified and everyone is contributing and doing their part in a more unified effort.”