In his first outdoor season at the helm of the track and field team, head coach Lance Bingham continues to be impressed by the individual performances posted from week to week. And this past weekend at the Texas State Bobcat Invitational it was the men’s 4×400 meter relay team racing to a gold medal to earn the weekly honor.
“I saw a lot of desire even though things didn’t all happen right in that relay,” Bingham said. “The mental effort was phenomenal and it was encouraging for the whole team.”
The team comprised of freshmen Blaze Brownlow, Avery Williams, Ryan Linton and senior Lee-Andrew Bloomfield was ACU’s only gold medal of the weekend. But it came it dramatic fashion as Bloomfield overcame being cut off on the second leg and Linton raced pass Texas A&M on the final leg to win by just .43 seconds. The winning time of 3:11.21 ranks second fastest in the Southland Conference this season.
Although the team was unable to produce anymore gold medals, the Wildcats did visit the medal stand twice more with a couple of personal bests by javelin throwers and sophomores Cecil McKinnon and Reagan Mabery. McKennon recorded a toss of 170 feet-6 inches to earn second in the men’s competition and Mabery launched it 128 feet-2 inches for third place among the women.
Redshirt junior Michaela and Alexandria Hackett also competed unattached this weekend among some of the nations best at UCLA. Alexandria finished at the top spot, followed closely by Michaela in second place.
Through three meets this outdoor season junior Josh Hunter is ranked as the top discus thrower in the Southland Conference with a throw of 170 feet-6 inches. However, had junior Kai Schmidt not redshirted, he would lead the conference in discus by over 30 feet with his best throw of 202 feet-6 inches.
Bingham said the team as a whole is starting to hit mid season form, ahead of the halfway mark this upcoming weekend.
“A lot of the runners are finding their speeds,” Bingham said. “We’re starting to get in the groove of things more. I think we’re just going to keep the momentum that we started. We can look for some really positive things this meet and throughout.”
This weekend when the Wildcats travel to Waco for the Baylor Invitational, it will mark the fourth straight weekend of competition. After taking the week off for Easter, the team will return to Baylor before finishing up with two home meets before the Southland Conference championships.
“I think they’ll be able to work through this week for sure,” Bingham said. “I think they can really have a good week and rest this next week. We’re going to stay strong and be smart about our training, and then we’ll lighten it up in volume at our home meets.”
The Wildcats will get the opportunity to see competition from various conferences. Along with host Baylor and Southland Conference competition Northwestern State, the meet will include Arkansas, Central Michigan, Fresno State, Lamar, North Texas, Oral Roberts, Prairie View A&M, Tulsa, UT-Arlington and UT-Rio Grande Valley, as well as women’s athletes from Midwestern State and New Mexico State.
The meet begins Saturday morning and finishes up in the late afternoon, with the full meet being condensed to one day.