The women’s track and field team was all smiles on the podium as they received their second place team trophy Tuesday during the final day of the Southland Conference Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.
ACU’s mens team finished sixth overall with 59 points. The women had a total of 112.5 points collectively while the women’s team from Sam Houston State University had 162 points, pushing them to the top spot.
Day one of competition started on Monday, with all 13 teams in the Southland Conference competing at Birmingham CrossPlex, one of the nation’s top indoor facilities. Once again, junior Allie Hackett showed that this is her year by claiming gold in the 5k. Hackett led from the start, finishing with a final time of 16:39. Second place finisher from Incarnate Word, Christian Castaneda was over 30 second back from Hackett. Freshman Carnley Graham also capped off a strong rookie season with fifth-place finish and also added a lifetime best time of 17:14.
“Winning the 5k right away definitely took some pressure off and gave me a positive attitude heading into the rest of the meet,” Hackett said.
Junior Taylor Yantis also had a strong first day in the pentathlon. Yantis finished in a tie for fourth with a final point total of 3,480. This showing improved her personal best by 107 points and moves her up a spot to second in ACU’s all-time rankings.
Also scoring points for the women’s team were weight throwers Kayla Melgar and Lonnie Smith. Melgar threw 56-10.75 (17.34m), a PR of over four feet to claim the fourth place spot, while Smith PR’d by an inch-and-a-half with a throw of 54-10.25 (16.72m) to follow her teammate in fifth.
Senior long jumper Keaton Hart would jump a lifetime best of 23-04.00 (7.11m) and claim the ninth place spot. This is the first time Hart has jumped over 23 feet at any indoor meet.
Back on the track, the men’s 800 would see ACU’s Ryan Cleary and Sterlen Paul run 1:54.08 and 1:54.12 respectively but it wouldn’t be enough to qualify for finals. Sophomores Jaden Dement and Kai Schmidt were the lone Wildcat men to score points on day one.
In the final event of day one, Diana Garcia-Munoz, Chartia Hurt, Petrene Plummer and Marina Guerrero Puigdevall teamed up to capture the bronze medal in the women’s distance medley relay. Despite running 10 seconds faster than last year, they still captured the same spot on the podium.
The second day of competition would allow the women’s team to add onto the 34 points they had at the end of Monday. Pole Vaulter, Kenzie Mascarro would end her last indoor season at the top spot, claiming first place with a final vault of 13-01 (3.98m), a personal best for Mascarro.
Hackett would once again hit the track to compete in the 3000 meter run as well as the mile. Hackett would go back and forth with Verity Ockenden of Lamar but would ultimately claim the second place spot in the final stretch of the race. Hackett’s final time was 9:31. Teammate and freshman, Aubrey Till wasn’t too far from her and would get to stand on the podium in third place with a time of 9:49.
Garcia-Munoz would also help in the point total for the women, claiming third in the mile with a time of 4:56. Hackett would take second in her final race of the day with a time of 4:50. Hackett finished with 26 points to be the second highest scorer in the meet only two points behind SHSU’s Danielle Demas.
In sprints, Corniel Lionel would take second place in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.78. In the 200, Rosen Daniel would take silver with a final time of 21.47. Daniel would also take bronze in the 400 with his time of 47.08. The men’s 4×400 meter relay would be the last event run at the championship meet and ACU would take the fifth place spot with a time of 3:18.
The women’s 4×400 would land a silver medal with their time of 3:45.
“If I could sum up this season in one word it would be exhilarating,” Hackett said.
The men’s and women’s team will take a slight hiatus and then being practicing for their first outdoor meet on March 18 when they travel to Texas Christian University.