Track and field impressed again on Saturday at their first home meet of the season, the inaugural Wes Kittley Invitational at Elmer Gray Stadium.
With almost a dozen schools invited to the meet, the Kittley Invitational was the first major regular-season meet the Wildcats have hosted in several years. ACU combined a sole victory by Baptiste Kerjean with several top-five finishes to make a statement on their home field.
“Competing at ACU is always special,” Kerjean said. “We do our sports to represent the university around Texas and the United States, so it is very important for us to show what we can do in front of ACU’s students and local supporters.”
Kerjean certainly showed what he can do, bringing home the Wildcats’ only title of the meet with a dominant victory in the men’s hammer throw. He defeated second-place Southland Conference rival, Sam Houston State’s Brek Christensen, with a distance of more than five meters. Teammate Jelani Rainey finished sixth in the same event, earning a personal record of 51.98 meters.
Johnathan Farquharson finished third in the men’s 100-meter dash with a wind-aided personal record of 10.34. Junior transfer Daniel Block set a personal record in the men’s 800-meter run with a time of 1:51.27, finishing in fifth place. Block also helped the men’s 4×100 meter relay team to a fifth-place finish with a 40.35. Sophomore Jeremy Tatham finished fifth in the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a personal record of 14.55.
Senior Aaron Bynum turned in another impressive performance for the Wildcats, finishing in second place in the men’s javelin with a personal record. His 59.45 meters were just shy of the winning distance of 60.40 meters by Angelo State’s Asael Arad. Teammate Luke Woods finished just behind Bynum, coming in fourth place with a personal record of 48.18 meters. Woods also finished seventh in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, setting another personal record of 14.75.
“I think that our team did very well at the invite,” Woods said. “Many of us recorded some personal bests, and our team as a whole is improving and becoming more prepared for the conference meet in a few weeks. I see everyone across the board becoming more mentally focused.”
The Wildcats also picked up a few top-five finishes in the women’s categories. Lexus Williams turned in the best performance for ACU, finishing second in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a 13.83. Freshman Diana García Muñoz stood out in her first home meet, finishing fourth in women’s 1500-meter run with a 4:41.95 and ninth in the 800-meter dash with a 2:20.96.
Senior Amelia Mitchell finished third in the javelin throw with 40.41 meters, and Shalaina Lakey finished third in the hammer throw with 53.00 meters. She barely edged out teammate Lauren Hartwick, who finished fourth in the hammer with 51.70 meters.
The Wildcats have three meets left before the outdoor Southland Conference Championships on May 9, beginning with the Oklahoma Invitational on Saturday, where they will be competing with top teams across the country.