The ACU indoor track and field team traveled a smaller group to Texas Tech leaving with three leading conference performances last weekend.
All those conference-leading performances were on the women’s side, junior Ella Anttila placed sixth in the triple jump, senior Annina Brandenburg placed third in throwing, and junior Payton Kirk placed sixth in long jump. Anttila was later named the Western Athletic Conference’s athlete of the week for field on Monday after her standout performance in Lubbock.
Jerrod Cook, the head coach for indoor and outdoor track and field, was really proud and excited for each athletes’ opening meet, even though they were not able to take many athletes since the meet was added to the schedule last minute.
“I was really excited to have that group go out and compete and do some great things,” Cook said. “This meet provided opportunities to get a group out there and make some marks and shake off the dust.”
One of the athletes able to go to the meet was Levi Chambers, a junior from Evans, Colorado, who runs distance for both ACU cross country and track and field. Chambers was happy to be back running and was proud of how he and his teammates trained over Winter Break.
“For me especially, it was my fastest opener that I have ever had,” said Levi Chambers, “As a team, we had people who trained a lot over winter break that did really well, and then people who didn’t, did not run so well. So it was good and bad, a lot of people had ups and downs.”
This will also be ACU’s first season of indoor track and field in its new home, the Western Athletic Conference. The WAC contains some schools like Lamar University, Cal Baptist as well as others that only run distance events, meaning they do not compete in the regular sprinting and field events. Though this is will be a challenge for distance runners like Chambers, he is ready for that challenge.
“This hurts the distance team because they can get a lot of better runners on scholarship than us,” said Chambers. “Because of that, it’s going to be kinda fun to rise to the occasion.”
After a first-place finish in the outdoor track and field season in the 2021 Southland conference meet, moving to the WAC is going to be a challenge. But Cook has the same goals in previous seasons, for the team to win every conference meet.
“Both the men’s and women’s side in the WAC, we have a great opportunity,” Cook said. “The level of competition is going to be elevated with the new additions.”
Now, the team will prepare for their next meet by undergoing one hard workout and easing up to be rested before they head back to Lubbock to run in the Red Raider Open on Jan. 21.
“I am excited for our group to go out and compete and be able to put up some great performances,” said Cook, “I hope that it sparks a fire.”