ABILENE – Abilene Christian University will play host to its first outdoor conference meet in 12 years this spring when 26 Southland men’s and women’s teams roll into Elmer Gray Stadium the weekend of May 15-17.
This event marks only the second conference championship event hosted by the Wildcats since their re-entry into the Southland prior to the 2013-14 season. ACU’s first hosting responsibility was the 2017 cross country championships, which was won by the Wildcats’ women’s team; however, the last conference meet welcomed onto campus was the 2008 Lone Star Conference Outdoor Championships.
Additional details about scheduling, ticketing and merchandising will be released in the coming months, but fourth-year head coach Lance Bingham and his staff are already making preparations for a first-class meet.
“Our desire as a coaching staff is to be excellent for Christ in the hosting of this championship,” said Bingham, whose men’s and women’s teams placed second and fourth, respectively, at the 2019 meet hosted by Northwestern State. “That includes the whole package from facilities to hospitality to organization and officials. We want to take the best of what we’ve seen from other places and put it all together, and show the Southland Conference what we’re all about in a positive way.”
In the months leading up to Southlands, the Wildcats will begin their indoor track and field season the weekend of Jan. 17 with the Texas A&M-hosted Ted Nelson Invitational. From there ACU will make consecutive trips to Texas Tech (Jan. 30 and Feb. 14) and visit Pittsburg State (Feb. 14) before competing at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships in Birmingham March 1 and 2.
Outdoor season begins at home March 19 with the three-day Wes Kittley Invitational. The Wildcats again are at home April 22 for the Oliver Jackson Twilight Open, and in between they’ll send competitors to Texas Relays (March 25), Baylor (April 4 and 17) and the Mt. SAC Relays (April 17).
ACU also will make a third trip to Texas Tech May 1 and 2 for the Corky / Crofoot Shootout.
This year’s NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships will be held at the universities of New Mexico (March 13-14) and Texas (June 10-13), while Kansas will welcome West Preliminaries from May 28-30.