NEW ORLEANS – After a weekend of action in which the Grizzly track and field squads saw 15 total NCAA Championships qualifying marks reached, the ASC men have jumped up eight positions to fourth while the women are holding steady at No. 2 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) Team Rankings, released Tuesday.
ASC’s men achieved a total of 10 qualifying efforts, including a trio of automatic qualifiers. Five women’s efforts also reached the NCAA standards as Grizzly athletes were split between the University of New Mexico’s Don Kirby Memorial Invitational and Stanford Invitational in California.
After opening the season ranked 10th in the USTFCCCA’s computer-based rankings, which currently take into account both prior and current season data, the Grizzlies slipped to 12th last week but climb to their highest ranking of the outdoor season this week and surpass Western State as the top-ranked Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) squad.
Saint Augustine’s (N.C.) continues its hold on the top spot of the rankings with 192.04 points, followed by Texas A&M-Kingsville with 154.47, with Abilene Christian close behind in third at 153.87.
Adams State, which made the largest point jump in the top 25 this week, is up 52.06 points for a total of 150.15, which bumps Angelo State (Texas) down to No. 5 with 138.72 points.
The Mountaineers also climbed this week, and now occupy the No. 6 position, one spot better than last week, with 132.40 points after gaining 24.74 over the weekend.
Lincoln (Mo.) and Johnson C. Smith (N.C.), each down two spots from a week ago, Pittsburg (Kan.) State and Grand Valley State (Mich.) conclude this week’s top 10 in DII.
The largest rankings jump of the week was accomplished by indoor men’s team champion Grand Canyon (Ariz.), which gained 41.3 points and jumped to No. 11, up 10 places.
The Grand Valley State women continue to keep plenty of distance on the rest of the DII landscape, leading that rankings with 288.17 points. The Grizzlies, who improved upon their score by 9.73 points over the weekend, stand at No. 2 with 184.47 points.
Lincoln and Central Missouri are third and fourth this week, with 160.68 and 139.10 points, respectively, while Johnson C. Smith and Grand Canyon each gained more than 10 points and have taken over the Nos. 5 and 6 slots.
Western State is seventh this week, down two spots from a week ago, followed by Alaska Anchorage, New Mexico Highlands and Ashland (Ohio) to round out the women’s top 10.
No RMAC teams appear in the top 25 outside of the top 10 in either the men’s or women’s poll.
For the Grizzly men, fast times in the three longest events highlighted the weekend, as redshirt-freshman Tabor Stevens (Canon City, Colo.), freshman Kevin Batt (Sydney, Australia) and senior Matt Bond (Worcester, England) each have their tickets punched to the 2012 NCAA DII Championships in Pueblo with automatic qualifiers.
Stevens finished as the runner-up at the Don Kirby meet in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. His time of eight minutes, 52.96 seconds (8:45.95 adjusted) came in under the Lobo Track Complex stadium record, but was just over two seconds off the event’s winning time on Saturday. He currently ranks second in Division II with the time.
Batt and Bond both put forth their automatic qualifying efforts at the Stanford Invitational. Batt clocked a time of 13:59.35 in the 5,000 meters, a time that currently ranks second in the nation. Bond’s time of 29:08.69 in the 10,000 meter run is the third fastest of the season.
Also reaching track event provisional times for the ASC men were freshman Matt Daniels (Arlington, Texas) and junior David Sanchez (Farmersville, Calif.) in the 1500 meter run as the pair finished 1-2 in the event, freshman Boris Berian (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in the 400 meter dash, and senior Rushane Scott (Allentown, Pa.) in the 100 meter dash.
In the throwing ring, sophomore Wesley Lavong (Philadelphia, Pa.) achieved a provisional mark in Friday’s hammer throw, and was joined by freshman Jamarius Mathis (Fountain, Colo.) in reaching a qualifying distance in the shot put on Saturday.
Sophomore Alicia Nelson (Craig, Colo.) boasted the top women’s performance for ASC of the weekend, running an automatic qualifier in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, and doing so in Lobo Track Complex record fashion. Nelson decimated the field by more than 20 seconds and shaved four seconds off the stadium’s record with a clocking of 10:31.03 (10:14.66 adjusted) in the race. Her time leads the nation, and was just three seconds shy of her own ASC record for the event.
Senior Lindsey Grasmick (Fowler, Colo.) achieved a provisional mark in the 400 meter hurdles in Albuquerque, while the 4×100 meter relay squad of senior Indira Spence (Trelawny, Jamaica) and sophomores Kayon Robinson (Clarendon, Jamaica), Chelsea Fenderson (Aurora, Colo.) and Zenobia Sims (Sierra Vista, Ariz.) teamed up to running a provisional time as well.
Sophomore Katie Kruger (Alamosa, Colo.) improved upon her season opening toss in the shot put for her second qualifier of the season in the shot put, while freshman KrissAnn Walters (Kingston, Jamaica) had a provisional showing in the long jump.
Action resumes for the Grizzlies this weekend as they make their second of three trips this season to the ThunderBowl for the Colorado State-Pueblo Invitational on Friday and Saturday, April 13-14. Adams State will then make one last trip to the venue for the 2012 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships on May 24-26.