WKU travels to Birmingham for C-USA Indoor Championship

WKU Track & Field’s (left) Alexis Williams, (middle) Brett Bannon, and (right) Grace Turner earned individual event titles on Saturday at the Samford Invitational at the Birmingham Crossplex.

Nick Kieser

WKU Track and Field will travel to Birmingham, Alabama this weekend for the Conference USA Indoor Championships. Last year, the men’s group finished in 10th place and the women finished in 12th. 

This spring, WKU is poised to finish atop the rankings heading into the outdoor season which begins down in Oxford, Mississippi at Ole Miss on March 26-27. 

Director of Cross-Country & Track and Field Brent Chumbley said he was happy with what his athletes have done and individual performances were really good this regular season. 

“I think we can score pretty well at the meet,” Chumbley said. “We’re just low on numbers right now. That’s something we’re working on in recruiting and in that battle.” 

Chumbley said he discovered this morning the dead period for recruiting continues through May. 

“Sometimes it’s hard to sell an out-of-state kid on Western Kentucky when they haven’t been here to see everything,” Chumbley said. “I think our staff has done a good job of that though.” 

Prior to the Hilltoppers leaving for the C-USA Indoor Championship graduate sprinter, Marlowe Mosley was named the C-USA Male Track Athlete of the Week on Wednesday. 

“For me, I just want to get through healthy,” assistant coach Tosha Ansley said ahead of the weekend. “Let them start at the start line, let them in at the finish line and be able to walk away from it. That’s all I really want.” 

Ansley said she would like her group to go into the weekend with as much energy as they normally do, focus and get it done. 

Assistant Track and Field coach Brooks LeCompte said it’s been tough to get access to facilities and places to run prior to the meet in Birmingham. 

“The kids know that one week does not make or break us,” LeCompte said. “Well, you know, this is a really tough distance conference. So we are trying our best to try to put those kids in the fight and try to move them up.” 

Ahead of the throwing event, Chumbley said he expects freshman Kaison Barton to throw well. Barton was named the Conference USA Male Field Athlete of the week on Feb. 10 after finishing third in the shot put and seventh in weight throwing at the Jaguar Invitational. 

“We’re going to have some teams compete that we haven’t seen yet this year, and then haven’t thrown it all this year,” Chumbley said. “So you never know what can happen on that.”

Chumbley also mentioned junior thrower Brett Brannon who has been throwing well at practice and expects him to perform well like Barton. 

An additional event the Hilltoppers could do well in is the pole vault. Chumbley believes there are chances on both sides to be on the podium this weekend. 

“If [Grace Turner] jumps well and [Devon Montgomery] jumps well, they could both be on the podium, they’re both ready to go,” Chumbley said. “It’s just a matter of we have very few training opportunities. So what I’ve seen in the last few weeks we’re ready to hit a big number it’s just Are we going to hit it this weekend?”

Ansley said as for the sprinters she anticipates a top three finish this weekend from her group. 

“If I do not see improvement from them then I’m going to check myself first,” Ansley said. “Just because there’s always something I could have done in my training plan that could have messed that up. And then I’m gonna check them. That’s how I do things.” 

The first event kicks off at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the Heptathlon 60 meter event. Day one concludes with a Distance Medley Relay for the men and women’s event. 

Day two begins Sunday at 8:30 a.m. with Heptathlon 60 Hurdles and concludes with the awards ceremony at 3:15 p.m. that afternoon. 

Sports Editor Nick Kieser can be reached at [email protected] Follow Nick on Twitter at @KieserNick.