Chase Rathke has officially claimed his spot among NCAA Division II's elite middle and long distance runners.
The Tarleton State standout won bronze in the 800 meter at the indoor nationals, and is now ranked third in the nation running the same event outdoors.
At the 87th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin Thursday, Rathke and teammate Dylan Willett ran the fastest 1,500 meter times of any runner in the 'college' or 'university' division. Rathke won the event in 3:49.87, while Willett was right on his heels in second with a time of 3:51.06. The fastest Division I time at the prestigious event was 3:52.74.Both Rathke and Willett posted provisional qualifying marks for nationals.
Rathke heated up the track at Mike A. Myers Stadium again on Saturday, moving from fifth to third nationally with a time of 1:51.78 in the 800.
The distance domination carried over just a bit further south in San Marcos, where Tarleton invaded Texas State's Bobcat Invitational comprised largely of Division I competitors. That's where TexAnns Aly Coughlin and Lindsey Hinton spent their Friday etching their names in the school record book.
Coughlin and Hinton each surpassed the prior school record in the 1,500 and each posted NCAA provisional marks. Coughlin finished in 4:36.42 to officially take over the school mark, while Hinton is now second in Tarleton history at 4:37.18. They placed second and third.
Back at the Texas Relays, Tarleton's performances were highlighted by Randall Kadlacek in the 110 meter hurdles and the men's 4x400 relay team.
Kadlacek hit his second provo mark in the high hurdles, placing sixth in 14.66 seconds. His new best time this season is tied for seventh nationally.
The 4x400 relay team of Marquis Thompson, Blake Eschbach, Cameron Krc and Gilson Umunnakwe ran their best time of the season with a 3:13.91. They were sixth at the Texas Relays and are seventh in the nation.
Tarleton head coach Pat Ponder was pleased with the performances.
"I think overall this was a good weekend, especially for the distance runners," said Tarleton head coach Pat Ponder. "It was also good to see Randall hit a PR in the 110 hurdles. Overall, it was just a good, solid weekend for Tarleton State."
Tarleton returns to action in Angelo State's David Noble Relays next Saturday in San Angelo.