Senior Dominic Kacich and freshman Cassidy Smestad met NCAA provisional marks for their events at the Jim Duncan Invitational. Hitting the marks put the pair in position to qualify for the 2016 NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Two Bulldog track and field athletes advanced one step closer to qualifying for the 2016 NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track and Field Championships as they met provisional marks in their respective events.

Senior Dominic Kacich and freshman Cassidy Smestad finished at the top of the podium at the Jim Duncan Invitational at Drake University and improved upon their season’s best performances. Stepping into the meet as the reigning GLVC Track Athlete of the Week, Kacich ran a season best of 47.84 in the men’s open 400 meter dash to claim first place in his last run on the blue oval of Drake Stadium.

With the NCAA provisional mark requiring a 47.94, Kacich put himself in good position to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year. Kacich says his ultimate goal is to qualify for nationals, but he is first focusing on the GLVC conference championships that will take place May 5-7. Kacich says he hopes to win the conference in the 400 meter run and cut his time to one that will compete if he makes the national championships.

With boosted competition, Kacich says a national qualifying time may take a 47 flat or even down to the 46s. Kacich set a personal record of 47.45 at last year’s conference meet, but he nearly touched that mark last weekend at the Kansas Relays with a 47.49.

Kacich says he set out to accomplish his goal by committing himself to strengthening and rehabilitating his injured hamstring during the offseason. Kacich says his training required 12-15 hours each week, but more importantly, he says he learned how to better take care of his body. Kacich says he focused on eating healthy, icing sore muscles and taking other precautions that set him up with the best chance to succeed.

As he focuses on his personal goals, Kacich says he contributes in other ways to the team. Kacich serves as a senior leader on the track and heads the men’s 4×400 relay team. With the help of freshmen Tahj Gayfield and Elijah Farrales and junior Trevor Gonzales, Kacich says this year’s relay team set the fastest time in his years as a Bulldog.

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