Track and Field wins two titles in Georgia Invitational

Senior thrower Jenessa Jackson throws during the Hilltopper relays on Friday, April 7,  at the Charles M. Reuter Track and Field Complex.

John Reecer

The WKU Track and Field teams earned 12 top-five finishes at the Georgia Tech Invitational this past weekend,  which included two titles claimed by senior Ventavius Sears in the long jump and junior Eli Minor in the 200-meter dash. 

To kick things off on Friday, senior Jenessa Jackson finished in the top-10 against her competitors for the third-straight meet, tallying a 14.14 meter (46’4.75”) mark in the shot put, good for fifth place, and in the hammer posting a fourth place finish with a mark of 54.30 meters (178’2”).

Moments later in the 100-meter hurdles, senior Kaila Smith posted the 16th-best time (14.36) in the event and redshirt senior Catika Slay followed with a time of 14.89 finishing in 30th. Slay also competed in the long jump, placing sixth with a jump of 5.74 meters (18’10”).

Three Hilltoppers competed in the 110-meter hurdles led by junior Jonathan Hayden and his third place finish. The Florida native ran it in 14.18 seconds, marking the second-fastest time in his career.

Sophomore Maor Seged crossed the finish line at the 14.70 mark to finish 13th,  and freshman Denzel Villaman placed 27th with a time of 15.94.

WKU had two players with almost identical times in the 100-meter dash as Minor (10.482) and Julius Morris (10.489) finished third and fifth in the race. Will Bush tallied a 10.70 mark finishing 13th, a new personal record.

The 100-meter dash on the women’s side saw two players set personal records as junior Khadijah Valentine placed seventh (11.85),  and junior Ariel Terrell tallied a 12.11 time to finish 21st.

To finish up the night, Sears won his second title of the outdoor season in the long jump,  launching for a mark of 7.73 meters (25’4.5”). Junior Desmond Mobley wasn’t far behind, finishing with a jump of 7.07 meters (23’2.5”), good for eighth place.

To start things on Saturday, the 400-meter hurdles were well represented by the Hilltoppers as Smith (1:00.40) placed fifth, Terrell (1:00.77) placed seventh and on the men’s side, Hayden (53.10) tallied a seventh place finish and Seged (53.54) finished right behind in eighth.

Sears pulled out another top-five finish in the triple jump, jumping a 15.99-meter (52’5.5”) mark. Desmond Mobley earned 13th with a mark of 14.23m (48’8.25”).

“I thought our hurdlers competed well as both Ariel Terrell and Jonathan Hayden both ran personal best in the long hurdle race,” Head Coach Erik Jenkins said in a press release. “As a pair, they competed well in the 400-meter hurdles. Ventavius [Sears] had a good weekend in both the long and triple jump. 25’4” and 52’5” are good marks.”

WKU shined in the 200-meter dash on both the men’s and women’s side, starting with Valentine. The junior crossed the finish line in 23.62 seconds to finish in second place. Julius Morris took the crown on the men’s side with a time of 20.66 and Eli Minor followed suit placing second in 20.99 seconds.

“Julius Morris and Eli Minor both put together a solid weekend in the short sprints,” Jenkins said. “Khadijah Valentine continues to make positive strides in the sprints as well.”

To finish off the weekend, WKU’s “A” team, consisting of Maor Seged, Eli Minor, Villaman and sophomore Austin Hayes, took fourth with a time of 3:16.53 in the 4×400 meter relay.

“We saw some things we need to improve upon as we round out the regular season, but overall we had a good weekend and I look forward to us competing next week,” Jenkins said.

WKU will hit the track again on April 28-29 by splitting up and sending athletes to the Memphis and Louisville Invitational.

Reporter John Reecer can be reached at 270-427-8320 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Reece_12_Falcon.