The grand opening of the new Elmer Gray stadium was successful for the Wildcat’s track and field team. With two victories and 34 top-five finishes, ACU held their own against tope Div. I competition at the home opening Wes Kittley Invitational.
The Wildcats faced big opponents – TCU, Texas Tech, South Plains and Western Texas – in the one-day meet. The meet welcomed ACU alumni and previous players who received multiple honors in their years as Wildcats. Multiple ACU track members were deserving of some honoring this weekend as well.
Sophomore distance runner Marina Guerrero put up big numbers for the ‘Cats. Guerrero placed first in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:17.59. The time earned her a new meet record, a new personal best and a placement in the record books as the sixth fastest all-time at ACU. Guerrero also placed fifth in the women’s 800-meter run with a time of 2:21.91, following teammate Petrene Plummer’s second place time of 2:15.75.
Sophomore distance runner Alexandria Hackett earned a personal best in the women’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:34.02 and a first place finish. Hackett was under half a minute faster than teammate Diana Garcia Muñoz, who finished in second with a time of 18:00.94.
Other big Wildcat contributors were second place victors – sophomore pole vaulter Kenzie Walker, junior thrower Jelani Rainey. junior multi-event competitor Luke Woods and freshman vaulter Jaden Dement. Walker earned a personal record, a new meet record and a fifth place all-time ranking in the ACU record books with a vault jump of 4 meters.
Rainey impressed his opponents in the men’s hammer competition with a throw of 54.15 meters ending in a second place finish.
“I think the meet was good,” said Rainey. “I am becoming more consistent in my throws and correcting the things that need to be fixed.”
Rainey also placed eighth in men’s discus with a throw of 46.33 meters behind teammates Kai Schmidt – who took fourth – and fifth place finisher Morgan Knight.
“I am not exactly where I wanted to be distance-wise, but I am headed in the right direction,” said Rainey.
Woods took second in the men’s javelin with a throw of 48.20 meters. Dement earned second place in the men’s pole vault by achieving a height of 4.85 meters.
“I am extremely happy about the opening of the new track because it is showing ACU’s Div. I progress,” said Rainey. “It is overall great for the program and we are to thank those that have supported us for many years.”