The Wildcats will face the ultimate test of their talent Monday as they begin the Southland Conference Indoor Championships.
The Championship will take place in Alabama at the Birmingham CrossPlex where the ‘Cats will compete against all 12 of their conference foes – Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, Lamar, McNeese, New Orleans, Nicholls, Northwestern, Sam Houston, Southeastern Louisiana, SFA and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Southeastern Louisiana stole the indoor title at the men’s conference champion last year at the CrossPlex.
This year, the ACU men’s team started off the 2015 season with an eighth place finish at the Texas A&M Team Invitational.
The highest Wildcat finish was claimed by Daniel Block, senior from Saskatchewan, Canada, in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:53.22.
Block, a consistent top competitor on the men’s team, improved his time by more than two seconds and was named the winner of the lone race at the Masked Rider Open.
The third, and final, meet of the season so far featured a new star on the men’s team. Newcomer Rosen Daniel, freshman from Castries, St. Lucia, had a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash, fourth-place mark in the 200-meter race and a fifth-place rank in the 4×400-meter relay in the New Mexico Track and Field Open.
Johnathan Farquharson, junior from Freeport, Bahamas, also stood out during this meet with a 6.80 finish in the 60-meter race – the fastest time in the Southland Conference this season.
Daniel is the leader of the Southland Conference in the 200- and 400-meter race, while Block has the first-place mark in the 800-meter race.
Conference foes SFA and Sam Houston State are closely trailing these marks, but the men’s team, statistically, appears to be capable of beating out the competition.
“The practice we’ve put in and the experience we’ve gained from this season has us prepared and ready to go for this conference meet,” said Ryan Cleary, freshman runner from Prosper.
While the Sam Houston State Bearkats won their fourth women’s title as champions last year at the conference meet, the ACU women’s team is ready to take them on after vastly improving their game as this season has progressed.
The season opener at the Texas A&M Invitational welcomed the ‘Cats with an unpleasant last-place finish at ninth. Diana Garcia MuÃ±oz, sophomore from Phoenix, claimed a second-place finish in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 10:04.05, but her success was not enough for the Wildcats to impress their opponents.
The second meet, the Masked Rider Open, left the women’s team with a better finishing mark with the help of four first-place finishes.
Jessica James, junior from Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, won the 600-yard race and the women’s 4×800-meter race.
Alexandria Hackett, sophomore from Cranston, Rhode Island, won the 3,000-meter race with a personal record of 10:00.86 and was a runner in the 4×800-meter relay where the ACU group won with a time of 9:28.42.
“I’m pretty nervous for the championships,” Hackett said. “I have to run against some really tough competition in our conference that we haven’t raced against yet this season.”
Albuquerque, New Mexico, opened the gate for the impressive ranking of Lexus Williams, senior hurdler from Mesquite. Williams broke her previous record of 8.71 when she finished with 8.60 in the 60-meter hurdles.
James and Kimone Green, freshman from St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, claimed ninth and 10th-place finishes in the 400-meter race with times of 55.83 and 55.69 (a personal best for Green).
Green claims the first-place mark in the Southland Conference in the 400-meter race, nine seconds in front of James – who holds the second spot.
Kenzie Walker, sophomore pole vaulter from Abilene, claimed fourth place in the conference with a height, and personal record, of 3.90 meters.
Hackett holds the fourth-place time of 4:58.30 in the mile and ranks third in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 9:50.31.
“The expectations are high, and I know we can pull off a top-place finish as a team,” Hackett said. “We just all have to give it our best and go in ready to fight.”
The men’s and women’s team will have a lot to prove to their fellow Div. I competitors, but based on their previous results, the ‘Cats can leave an impressive mark.