ABILENE – Tarleton track and field delivered an encouraging start to its Division I journey in its first outdoor meet in nearly two years at the Wes Kittley ACU Invitation on Saturday.
The Texans demonstrated the program has athletes who are more than ready to handle the uptick in competition. Indeed, four athletes and the men’s 4x400m relay team turned in top-three performances and Tarleton had eight combined top-five finishes.
Indeed, four athletes and the men’s 4x400m relay team turned in top-three performances and Tarleton had eight combined top-five finishes.
Depth across the board was apparent, too. In total, 31 athletes placed inside the top-10 of their respective events over two days of competition at Elmer Grey Stadium.
Tarleton began the day’s events by delivering a strong statement in the men’s and women’s long jump as five athletes qualified for the finals.
Alan Palmer claimed second place and matched his personal record with a leap of 24′ 0.75. The junior previously hit the mark and broke the school record in the event at the 2020 Lone Star Conference Indoor Championships. Joining Palmer in the men’s finals was Erikmycal Powell, who finished seventh (22′ 09.25) in his Texan debut. Senior and NCAA Division II All-American Jasmine McQuirter took third place at 19′ 06.25 while Chloe Goodman (17′ 07, 8th) and Reagan Gallagher (17′ 06.25) rounded out the women’s effort.
Palmer then delivered a third-place finish in the high jump (6′ 06.25). Joining him in the top-10 were freshman Maxon Newell (6′ 00.75, 9th) and senior heptathlete Skyler Sandusky (5′ 10.75, 10th). Fellow heptathlete Emily Simon and high jump specialist Gentrye Munden tied for fifth in the women’s high jump at 5′ 03.00.
Perhaps no individual performance was more impressive, though, than Anterius Brown in the 400m. The fifth-year senior clocked a time of 47.68 seconds to place second as an individual, then helped Tarleton’s “A” 4x400m relay team finish third in 3:16.52 to conclude the meet. Brown and junior Brandon McKissick, who took seventh in the 400m (48.74), led the team, which also included Palmer and Zachary Martinez.
Three more athletes joined Palmer, McQuirter and Brown as individual top-five placers: Alessa King, Hanna Dudley and Cornelius Coleman. King took third in the 800m (2:22.76) while Dudley and Coleman each nabbed fourth-place honors, respectively, in the 100m (11.98) and 110m hurdles (14.40).
Simon notched a personal record in the 100m hurdles (14.50) to place sixth. Ashlynn Cash later finished 10th in the 400m hurdles in 1:08.72 while freshman Brady Sisneroz nearly cracked the top-10, taking 11th place in 57.03 seconds.
An influx of underclassmen talent was on display in the sprints and hurdles for Tarleton. Particularly, the women’s 100m, as the Texans had five athletes place inside the top-11.
Dudley was seventh in the 200m (24.87) while sophomore Nyla Barlow, who arrived in Stephenville in 2020 from Houston Baptist, was Tarleton’s No. 2 finisher in the 100m and 200m. She finished seventh in the 100m at 12.14 seconds and eighth in the lengthier of the two sprinting events with a time of 24.92 seconds. McQuirter and Gallagher were eighth and ninth in the 100m with times of 12.16 seconds and 12.25 seconds. Freshman Summer Croxton was not far behind Gallagher, as she finished 11th in 12.34 seconds.
Freshman Ethan Hood was the Texans’ top sprinter on the men’s side. He placed sixth in the 100m in 10.83 seconds and ninth in the 200m at 22.23 seconds.
Two fellow freshmen delivered sixth-place performances in the triple jump. Jaden Hall leapt 46′ 11.00 feet and Brianna Arline turned in a measurement of 39′ 03.25 feet.
The Texans also placed three athletes in the top-10 of the men’s and women’s discus throw. Ethan Bratton recorded a personal best in the event (151′ 05.00) to finish sixth and Jacob Bowers claimed ninth place and set a personal record at 144′ 08.00. Later, senior Elena Reagan secured a seventh-place finish with a heave of 133′ 03.00.
Sophomore Bailey Smotek finished ninth in the 800m at 2:02.03.
Tarleton next competes in the Texas Relays, which are scheduled for March 24-27 in Austin.