ACU indoor track and field member, Irene Rono, broke an ACU record in the women’s 3k, and several others set a personal record at the Charles Thomas Invitational and Multis at A&M in College Station.
Head coach Jerrod Cook said the highlight of the meet was the women’s distance. Almost every athlete got a personal best in their event. Briahna Gerlach, Prudence Kiyeng, Tessa Holderman and Grace White each came home with personal bests in the women’s 5k, all four ranked top 11.
Irene Rono received WAC athlete of the week after her first-place win in the women’s 3k this weekend. Along with setting a personal best, Rono broke the ACU school history record with a 9:22:72, previously held by Michaela Hackett, who set a 9:30.75 in 2017 at the southland championships in Birmingham.
Rono originally was supposed to run the 5k with the rest of her team, but Rono said distance coach Jarvis Jelen saw the 3k as an opportunity for her to try and keep up against high-level runners from schools like the University of Alabama and A&M.
“During the race, I just tried to stay behind them and follow them and hang in there, and then I felt good, and the last few miles I passed them and ended up winning it,” said Rono, a sophomore from Eldama Ravine, Kenya.
Jamal January also was honored as WAC athlete of the week for his performance in the 60m hurdles over the weekend. His time of 7.88 is a personal record as well as second in the history of ACU track and field behind to Andrew McDowell who ran a 7.82 in 2010.
“My goal this year was to get to a 7.91 and to hit a 7.88 made me feel great really, just knowing all the training I’ve put forward came out to play,” said January, a junior from Austin.
After three straight weeks of traveling and competing, the team has a full week of training in order to prepare for the conference meet on Feb. 18-19 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“We can really work and sharpen up this week without having to consider a met coming up, we can go into the conference more prepared and refreshed,” Cook said.
The women’s and men’s teams have the potential to win the conference title, which would be for a second year in a row for the women.
“We are in a position that we are gonna race well and perform well,” Rono said.
January said he hopes the teams return home with conference title rings.
“My main goals are to come back with some hardware,” January said.
Cook will take only the throwers to Texas Tech this weekend for another competition, while the rest of the team will stay back, train, and refresh for the conference meet in Albuquerque.