Track and Field opens 2018 season at Purdue

Junior Mark Stice leads the pack during the men’s 3000 meter distance event at the Music City Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Alec Jessie

WKU track and field has now finished two meets in their indoor season following their season-opening meet at Purdue and their trip to the Vanderbilt Invitational last weekend.

Purdue hosted the Gene Edmonds Open Jan. 13, where the Hilltoppers earned 22 top-10 finishes. The men accounted for 13 and the women tallied nine.

Head coach Erik Jenkins was very happy with his team’s effort.

“These early season meets always provide valuable lessons,” Jenkins said in a WKU press release. “We had a few good things happen, but we saw several areas to improve upon with the team. Overall, we gave a competitive effort against quality teams.”

Senior pole vaulter Morgan McIntyre led the way for the Lady Toppers in the field events. McIntyre notched a third-place finish after a 12’6” clear. As she rounds out an impressive career, she ranks fourth on WKU’s indoor list.

Getter Lemberg set a personal best with a 12’0” height, which also came out to be the fifth-best clear of the day.

Ariel Terrell led the Lady Toppers on the track with a 7.75-second finish in the 60-meter preliminary, earning a spot in the finals. She also set her new season best mark in the hurdles event, finishing in just 9.50 seconds.

Chard Muhwanga was the top male performer in field events, registering top-10 finishes in shot put and the weight throw. The freshman set a new personal best in both events.

Alec Tanksley competed in both track and field events, and was one of four Hilltoppers to clock top-five showings in the 600.   

Both Eli Minor and Will Bush earned a spot in the 60 finals. Minor registered a 6.91-second finish to qualify and Bush finished in 6.99 seconds.

In the final day, the Hilltoppers got two more top three finishes in the 4×400 relay. The ‘A’ team and the ‘B’ team finished in second and third place, respectively.

IUPUI, Kennesaw State, Purdue and Murray State were among the competitors in the event.

WKU followed up the Purdue meet with the Vanderbilt Invitational where Julius Morris and Jonathan Hayden both recorded top-five times in program history. Morris’s 60 preliminary time of 6.7 was a personal best and the second-fastest time ever recorded by a Hilltopper indoors.Hayden notched a 8.14 finish in the 60-meter hurdles preliminary, earning the senior a spot in the finals. Hayden went on to run WKU’s fourth-best indoor mark in the event, posting a 7.99 to take fourth place.

Jenkins said after the meet that he knows there is work to be done, but he’s happy with the progress made.

“We had some pretty good things happen for us today,” Jenkins said in a WKU press release. “There were several schools from Conference USA, the SEC and the ACC that provided quality competition in a very good facility. We have a lot of work to do but I like the direction we are headed.”

Tanksley continued to impress with a personal best long jump of 22’6.25”, which ranked 13th on the day.

Ariel Terrell and Savannah Ames stood out for the Lady Toppers. Terrell ran 9.24 seconds in the 60 hurdles, which is the best finish from any Lady Topper this year. Ames ran a WKU season-best 2:23.68 in the 800.

In the 4×400 relay, the ‘A’ team ran a season-best time of 3:53.48 in the Invitational.

Twenty-two teams competed in this event, including Alabama, Auburn, Maryland, Memphis and Oklahoma.

The Hilltoppers will be back in action on Jan. 26-27 for the Indiana University Relay.

Sports reporter Alec Jessie can be reached at 502-648-7190 and [email protected]. Follow Alec Jessie on Twitter at @Alec_Jessie.