ACU track and field finished its third weekend of the season with another impressive performance, featuring a set of personal bests and top-10 placements at the Masked Rider Open in Lubbock.
The meet, hosted by Texas Tech, showcased the strength of the field event. The Wildcats in particular had significant accomplishments in pole vaulting, weight-throwing and the heptathlon.
Sophomore Luke Woods recorded personal bests in five events: 55m, shot put, high jump, 55 hurdles and pole vault. He earned a lifetime best of 4,880 points for ACU, shattering the previous high of 4,520 which won him the Lone Star Conference championship in February 2013.
Woods’ score included a second-place finish in the hurdles behind teammate Jeremy Tatham, a runner-up spot in the 1000-meter run at 2:53.36, and a first-place leap of 4.10m in the pole vault. Tatham turned in a personal record long jump of 6.21m in his first heptathlon, contributing to his total of 3,850 points, but recorded no height in the pole vault event.
ACU finished second and third in the men’s weight throw, with Baptiste Kerjean and Jelani Rainey throwing for 18.65m and 16.92m, respectively. In the women’s weight throw, Shalaina Lakey earned fourth place with 16.94m, while Lauren Hartwick came in sixth with 16.49m, a personal best.
Kenzie Walker recorded the ninth best women’s pole vaulting height in ACU history, with a personal record of 3.65m that earned her a fourth place spot in the event on Saturday. Darian Hogg and Malcolm Barnes finished fifth and 10th in men’s triple jump with distances of 14.30m and 13.53m, respectively.
“Our goal is to see our athletes improve their marks with every competition.,” said assistant coach Vladyslav Gorbenko, who works primarily with horizontal jumpers. “It will result in their peak performance on the day of the Southland Conference Championship. However, there is still time left and work to do before the meet.”
In track events, the Wildcats came out just as strong. Upperclassmen Reyare Thomas and Daniel Block both finished second in their events with personal records. This is Block’s second runner-up finish of the season, following his notable time of 1:52.67 in the men’s 800-meters at the Texas A&M 10-Team Invitational on Jan. 18.
With the Southland Conference Championships coming up on Feb. 25-27, the Wildcats are hoping to continue the success of their last three weekends of competition.
“It’s still a little early to be able to tell how we’ll do this year,” Block said. “That said, we do have a number of athletes that should certainly challenge for a Conference victory in their respective events.”
The ‘Cats compete again this weekend, Feb. 7-8, at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque.