WKU Track and Field nabs trio of third-place finishes on final day of C-USA Championships

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.

Drew Toennies

WKU Track and Field concluded its indoor season with another three third-place finishes to close out the 2021 Conference USA Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Sophomore Grace Turner tied for third place in the high jump with a personal best performance. Turner jumped 1.69 meters and had 5 points.

Graduate senior Marlowe Mosley snatched a bronze medal in both the 200 and 400-meter dashes. Mosley ran 21.58 seconds in the 200-meter for 6 points.

“Overall, we improved from last year in scoring,” Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Brent Chumbley said. “We have to rest up and get healthy in order to tackle the outdoor season.”

WKU’s first notable performance was from Turner in the high jump pit. She jumped 1.69 meters to tie for third place in the competition and to beat her previous record by three whole inches. This mark is the same as Lady Topper indoor and outdoor high jump record holder Katie Isenbarger scored at the 2020 C-USA Championship to get fifth place in the tournament. 

“For Grace to go out today and jump a lifetime best today was outstanding,” Chumbley said. “I’m incredibly proud of her.”

WKU junior John Elam continued the Hilltoppers career day by logging a PR for the second day in the row and scored with a throw of 15.40 meters. He finished sixth overall.

“John led us all weekend with two solid PRs and scoring for us in both of the throwing events,” Chumbley said. “We want to peak at the conference and that’s exactly what he did.”

To start off the running events, juniors Dedrick Troxell and Clint Sherman added more points for the men’s team as they finished six and seventh, in the mile. Troxell added three points whereas Sherman contributed two points.

“Today was a decent day for our group,” WKU assistant coach Brooks LeCompte said. “In one year we have come so far, but we are positive about the future and will continue to build the culture of being a competitive distance group in C-USA.”

Next up for WKU was Mosley who recorded a time of 48.05 seconds, which was enough to give him third place and six points for WKU in the 400 meter dash. Senior Dartex Hamlin fished just behind Mosley in fourth place in the 200-meter with a 21.74 finishing time.

“It wasn’t what we expected. We wanted more, but it’s a learning experience,” WKU assistant coach Tosha Ansley said. “Hopefully, we’ll use that to continue to push forward, continue to train and keep us motivated with the knowing that we have another opportunity once outdoor comes.”

WKU finished the day off with the 3,000 meter races and the men’s 4×400 meter relay.

Sherman and Emerson Welles finished off 15th and 16th place in the 300-meter races, whereas senior Savannah Heckman led the women’s team in 16th place and Lucy Rutherford made 23rd place. Maddy Hurt and Carley Maskos both recorded PRs at 28th and 31st place as well.

“The younger student-athletes stepped up with some big PRs including Carley and Maddy in the 3k,” LeCompte said. “Lucy probably had the biggest improvement of anyone this meet with an 11 second PR in the mile and 16 second PR in the 3k.”

As for the men’s 4×400-meter relay, WKU freshman Jonathon Allen, freshman Casey Buchanan, Troxell, and sophomore Devon Montgomery managed to finish seventh place in the tournament. 

WKU’s Track & Field program saw 24 more points than in 2020 for the men’s tournament as they finished seventh place overall with 42 points. The women’s team finished 12th place with six points. 

Women’s basketball beat reporter Drew Toennies can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @drew_toennies