Wildcats get five top-5s in Austin
ACU's 400-meter relay posts third-best time this season in DII
AUSTIN, Texas -- Led by hurdler Andrew McDowell and triple jumper Ramon Sparks, both former NCAA Division II national champions from Kansas City, Mo., the ACU Wildcats turned in five top-5 performances Saturday in Myers Stadium on the final day of the 84th annual Texas Relays.
McDowell, a senior who is coming off a redshirt season, finished second in the men's 110-meter hurdles in a windy 14.17, just off his NCAA Division II leading mark of 14.16 from earlier this season. His Wildcat teammate, Kevin Johnson, was fourth in 14.49 in a race won by NJCAA champion Aleec Harris of Barton County Community College in a quick 13.55.
Sparks improved his ranking as the No. 2 triple jumper in NCAA Division II this season with a wind-aided leap of 52-10.75 to finish fourth in the men's triple jump section. A. Julian Reid of Texas A&M was the winner with a windy 54-8.75.
McDowell is a former NCAA Division II indoor champion in the 60 hurdles, and Sparks owns three NCAA Division II titles in the triple jump. Both are graduates of Raytown South High School.
The other top 5 performances Saturday came from two relay teams -- the men's 400-meter relay team (fifth in 40.33 in the college division) and women's distance medley relay team (fifth in 12:09.02 in the combined university-college race). Anais Belledant (1200), Lauren Atkinson (400), Chloe Susset (800) and Alyse Goldsmith (1600) combined on the distance medley.
Saturday's time by the men's sprint relay was its best of the season and ranks third in the latest 2011 list for NCAA Division II behind Lincoln (39.83) and Texas A&M-Kingsville (40.30). Running for coach Roosevelt Lofton were McDowell, Paris Robertson, Lavance Williams and Desmond Jackson.
Robertson matched his 10.50 in Friday's qualifying with another windy 10.50 here Saturday afternoon to finish sixth in the college men's 100-meter dash. Everett Walker, JC indoor sprint champion from Barton County CC, won in 10.33.
In the only other relay event for ACU Saturday, the quartet of Robertson (48.5), Jackson (51.6), Williams (51.1) and Jordan Geary (49.0) placed eighth in the men's college 4x400 relay in 3:20.16. Butler County CC won with 3:09.17.
Nick Jones was ninth in the men's university-college shot put section A with 56-8.5, Johnson was eighth in the college men's 400 hurdles in 56.67 in the first of his two races, and Amos Sang was 10th in the Jerry Thompson mile in 4:16.26 in a race in which the elite distance runners were noticeably hampered by the windy conditions. Alabama senior Fred Samoei won in 4:13.86.
Jones is still chasing the elusive 60-foot barrier in the shot put, seeking to become the ninth Wildcat to reach that mark, and Sang was hoping to become the fifth Wildcat to win the Jerry Thompson mile here.