Track and field athletes are split this week between two major meets: the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin and the Bobcat Invitational in San Marcos.
The Wildcats will send nine standout athletes to the Texas Relays at Mike A. Meyers Stadium. One of the largest meets in the NCAA, the Relays bring in dozens of top teams including University of California Los Angeles, University of California, Baylor, Auburn, Duke and Oklahoma to name a few.
ACU is entered in two men’s relays. Johnathan Farquharson, Maliek Golden, Osie Alleyne-Forte and Daniel Block will run in the spring medley, while senior Darian Hogg will compete in the 4×100 in Block’s place on the anchor leg. Block is also entered in the 1,500-meter run. Senior Baptiste Kerjean rounds out the men’s entries for ACU with the hammer throw.
Only three female Wildcats traveled to the University of Texas with the team. Senior hammer thrower Shalaina Lakey and senior javelin thrower Amelia Mitchell will compete on the field, while junior sprint hurdler Lexus Williams will represent ACU on the track.
Several of these athletes have previous experience in the annual Relays. Kerjean placed third in the hammer in both of the last two Relays, and fell only to UCLA’s Alec Faldermeyer and Oregon’s Greg Skipper last year. This is also Farquharson’s second year in attendance, following last year’s impressive fourth-place performance in the 4×100. Mitchell brings the most experience to the women’s team with last year’s sixth-place finish in the javelin throw. Block, Hogg, Lakey and Golden all make their Texas Relays debut this week.
The Relays began on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., with only the women’s heptathlon and men’s decathlon taking place. The Wildcats were not entered for either event and began competition on Thursday. The final event of the meet begins at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Meanwhile, 25 other track and field athletes will compete at Texas State University from Thursday to Saturday this week. The Wildcats are entered in 15 events, beginning on Thursday at noon and wrapping up on Saturday with the men’s 4x400m at 4:45 p.m.
Players to watch include freshman Kenzie Walker, who has excelled at pole vaulting in her rookie season, Luke Woods, a seasoned veteran in the men’s decathlon and Lauren Hartwick, who is entered in the women’s hammer throw. Sophomore Jeremy Tatham, in the middle of a solid season, leads the Cats in events with the 400m, 110 hurdles and triple jump.
This week’s events follow the Wildcats’ impressive showing in their opening outdoor competition last weekend. They earned six victories at the McMurry War Hawk Classic, placing fourth out of 12 teams. Junior Emily Hill earned the only first-place victory on the track in her 800-meter run, while the other five were all won on the field. Walker won the women’s pole vault, Lakey and Kerjean swept the hammer throws, while Mitchell and Aaron Bynum took home the javelin events.
The track and field season will continue next week on April 5 at the Texas Tech Open.