Three victories were achieved by the ACU Track and Field team last Saturday at the J.D. Martin Invitational while nine individuals medaled in the events.
Two members of the men’s team brought home victories as sophomore Kai Schmidt won the shot put with a distance of 16.47 meters, and freshman Avery Williams won the 400m dash with an indoor best of 49.67 seconds.
But the biggest story from the weekend was junior Lonnie Smith breaking an 18-year school record in the weight throw category with a distance of 18.95 meters. The throw was 2.23 meters farther than her previous best achieved at last year’s Southland Conference Championship, and topped a record previously set in 1999 by Selena Bettis, by 1.56 meters.
Smith beat a field of 17 other women, besting the runner-up Sara Lenman from UTA by more than half a meter.
ACU throwing coach Jerrod Cook said that not only did this affect the school’s record, but also gave her national recognition.
“At that point, you’re starting to really make an impact on national rankings.” Cook said in an interview with Grant Boone. “I couldn’t exactly tell you now where she’s ranked overall, but it’s starting to get near the top 50, top to bottom across the nation.”
Smith herself said she knew she had broken the record on the second turn, when her coach cheered her on from the sidelines.
“I knew upon release I broke the school record because my coach yelled,” Smith said. “But while I was throwing I had no idea how far the weight was going to go.”
Smith started throwing in her junior year of high school, but started throwing weights her freshman year at ACU. After she broke the record, she couldn’t celebrate with her coaches immediately because she still had to throw.
“After breaking the record I became nervous,” Smith said. “I still had three more throws in the competition and I did not want that one throw to be the only reflection of capability as an athlete.”
Smith ended up faulting her 5th and 6th throws, but her 4th throw went 18.25 meters- the second furthest throw in school history.
Smith says that although the record is a culmination of her time here at ACU, people can expect more from her in her, including breaking her own record.
“As for my future with weight, I see Saturday’s victory as uncovering the tip of an iceberg,” Smith said. “I still have two more years of eligibility so as long as God keeps blessing me, I will strive for greatness. Breaking my own record is definitely possible.”
Track and field will head to Frisco next week to participate in the Dunamis Sports Group Indoor Classic.