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ACU's Kerjean Takes 2nd In Hammer Throw In Austin

Baptiste Kerjean, likely Abilene Christian University's top performer here this weekend at the 87th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, held the early lead here Thursday in the hammer throw, but he slipped to second in the final standings by the narrow margin of 22 centimeters.
Story contributed by Garner Roberts(Special Contributor for ACU)

AUSTIN - Baptiste Kerjean, likely Abilene Christian University's top performer here this weekend at the 87th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, held the early lead here Thursday in the hammer throw, but he slipped to second in the final standings by the narrow margin of 22 centimeters.

Kerjean, senior who was third here both as a sophomore in 2012 and junior in 2013, opened with 216 feet, 2 inches, and his early-season best remained the leader until the final throw of the second round when Kyle Strawn, junior at University of Florida, reached 218-4 (66.55 meters).

Kerjean threw 210-1 in round two and 209-5 in round three to remain in second and easily qualify for the nine-man final.

Strawn, who was 10th in the NCAA Division I championships last year for the Gators, gave Kerjean an opening by fouling in rounds four and five, but the Wildcat thrower could not take advantage.

Kerjean, runner-up in the NCAA Division II championships last year, improved to 217-7 (66.33 meters) in the fourth round, but he fouled in round five and threw 215-11 in round six.

"Physically, I'm in good shape," Kerjean said.  "I felt good today.  I've only been throwing three weeks so this was pretty good. It was almost a personal best (66.45 meters or 218-0 at the 2013 NCAA meet in Pueblo, Colo., to improve his ACU record).

"We know what to correct," he added.  "My technique is better than last week (64.23 meters or 210-9 to win at McMurry)."

He threw 213-8 (65.13 meters) here last year and is one of only three hammer throwers in ACU history to reach 200 feet.  He is scheduled to throw next weekend at Texas Tech.

"I'm doing the same thing in training," Kerjean explained. "I threw the weight indoors and have been lifting and getting stronger.  I would like to throw 68 (meters or 223-1).  Sixty-eight would be a good goal for me this season since we don't have nationals.

"I reached a peak in my season this week," he added.  "My next goal is the Drake Relays (April 23-27 in Des Moines, Iowa).  I need more practice and more reps (repetitions)."

Jeremy Tuttle of LSU was third for the Tigers at 212-0, and Casey Strong of Texas A&M was fourth for the Aggies at 210-11 as Kerjean and Strawn stayed 1-2 throughout the competition.

Abilene Christian is ineligible for post-season competition as it transitions from NCAA Division II membership to NCAA Division I. The Wildcats are returning to NCAA Division I in track and field and competing in the University Division here for the first time since 1973.

Three other Wildcats competed here Thursday on the second of four days of the Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the University of Texas.

ACU's Daniel Block was fourth in the university men's 1500 meters section B in 1:52.91 behind the winning 3:49.87 of Tarleton State's Chase Rathke.  In the women's division, the Wildcats' Amelia Mitchell was sixth in the university women's javelin throw section B in 146-1, and Shalania Lakey was 20th in the women's hammer throw at 165-8.

Scheduled to compete in preliminaries here Friday for Abilene Christian are the men's 4x100, 4x400 and sprint medley relay teams, Johnathan Farquharson in the men's 100 and Lexus Williams in the women's 100-meter hurdles.

ACU Texas Relays Results - Thursday

Women's Hammer Throw
20.) Shalania Lakey - 165-8 / 50.50m

Women's Javelin - Section B
6.) Amelia Mitchell - 146-1 / 44.52m

Men's 1500m Run - Section B
4.) Daniel Block - 1:52.91

Men's Hammer Throw
2.) Baptiste Kerjean - 217-7 / 66.33m
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