Abilene Christian’s outdoor track and field team will offically begins their season Friday and Saturday at the Bobby Lane Invitational at the University of Texas at Arlington.
The women’s team return this season with hopes of redeeming their 29th place finish last year.
The Wildcats tied just above the top 30 teams with eight points; the worst finish in the history of women’s track and field at ACU.
The women are hopeful however, and enter this season with several talented athletes.
Amanda Ouedraogo has already made a huge impact on the program this year, winning the NCAA winter nationals triple-jump championship with 12.84 meters. Last season, the junior from Hauts de Seine, France was the runner-up in the competition.
Senior Karla Hope is also expected to put up great numbers for the ‘Cats. The senior from Trinidad currently holds the ninth fastest time in the nation in the 400 meter dash at 56.13. She also qualified for the indoor NCAA nationals.
Along with Hope, freshman Karolyn Palmer is making her NCAA debut this season.
Hope, Palmer, Ayesha Rumble, and Shannae Steele make up the women’s 4×400 relay team that also qualified for the NCAA indoor nationals earlier this year. The team finished in seventh place with a time of 3:50.06
The men enter this meet as the defending outdoor track and field national champions, and have high hopes for continuing their success in this season.
Many members of the championship team are returning this year in hopes of another national championship title.
Nick Jones will be a vital asset to the team this season. The senior has already won four national championships, including winning the indoor shot put title earlier in March.
Also returning for the Wildcats is senior Levance Williams. Williams competed in the indoor championship as well, barely missing All-American status, and finishing in ninth place in the long jump with 23 feet-9.5 inches.
Junior sprinter Jordan Geary will also be returning to the team.
Junior Parker Petty has already started of the year successfully, finishing the heptathlon in seventh place with 5,032 points at the NCAA indoor championship earlier this month.
After finishing 12th in the 60m hurdles, Petty was able to rally back with a tied third place finish in pole vaulting. His outstanding 14-9.00 vault moved him up to third place overall.
Last year, Petty won the LSC decathlon title in Stephenville.
Matthew Stark will participate in field events this weekend. Stark recently finished fifth in the Angelo State decathlon with 6,103 points. He also score career bests in the long jump (6.47m) and in shot put. (34-01.25, 10.39m)
The two-day meet begins Friday at 2 p.m. at Maverick Stadium in Arlington.