Ranked! AState Track 25th
With the Red Wolves recent arrival in the USTFCCCA rankings, Arkansas State track coach Jim Patchell says that is where he wants to program to be all the time.
“That is our goal,’’ said Patchell. “We want to be in the Top 25 every year and we want to be in position to compete for conference championships. If we are not doing that then we are not what we need to be doing.”
The Red Wolves entered the Top 25 for the first time in the 8-year history of the poll for the outdoor rankings. In 2014, the women’s program finished ranked 24th for the indoor season.
“This is our fourth year and we feel like we have been able to accomplish what we needed to build a program,” he said. “A coach really needs five years to build a program; to graduate this first recruiting class. We feel like we are on course to where we want to be.
“It has been a process to fill in the gaps. We have some good people in place. We are about where we need to be. We’ve got to go out and get a few more pieces but I feel happy with this year.”
Patchell said the team, which achieving the lofty ranking, is still young. In 21 individual events AState's best performance of the year has come from freshmen and sophomores in 11 events and junior in three more events.
“The men will need some throwers and the women lose some distant runners, so we need some new ones there,’’ he said.
In the latest Sun Belt meet, the women won their first title since 2001 and the men finished second and was in the running until the 5,000, the next to last event.
“That did not play out like we thought it would,’’ said Patchell. “Will Norris did a good job of getting in there and scoring but no one broke up the UTA runners like they did at the indoor meet.”
In the Indoor meet, the men won the title while the women finished second.
Red Wolves’ sophomore Rolf Pienaar is one of the top performers in the nation and leads the NCAA in the long jump. He won the high point award at the SBC outdoor and recently selected to represent his native South Africa in the World University Games this summer in South Korea.
A-State will compete in the NCAA West Regional in Austin, Texas, May 28-30. Patchell said he expects to take his largest contingent to the meet.
The NCAA championships will be June 10-13 in Eugene, Oregon.
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