Toppers finish regular season at Kentucky Relays

Morgan McIntyre, of Ashland, pole vaults during the Hilltopper Relays, April 11 at the Ruter Track and Field Complex. Ashley Cooper/HERALD

Alexus Richardson

The WKU Track and Field team traveled to Lexington this weekend to compete in the Kentucky Relays.

The Kentucky Relays offered a more relaxed setting for a program that has been competing against some of the most elite programs in the country at top-shelf meets such as the Penn Relays and Mt. SAC Relays. 

The Kentucky Relays marked the last event for the team before the Conference USA Championships in El Paso, Texas.

“This relay allowed us to stay sharp and give the players an opportunity to do what they love to do,” Head Coach Erik Jenkins said. “Although most didn’t run in their primary events, they still executed   all the little things and were able to have fun.”

Seniors Travis Gerding and Karleigh Parker, continuing their success, broke records for WKU in the hammer throw and pole vault respectively.

Parker came in at 13-feet-9.75 inches (4.21m) in the pole vault, making it her thirteenth win in that event. 

Coming in at third place, Gerding tossed the hammer throw 199-feet-7-inches (60.48m) and was also able to earn a third place finish in the shot put with 57-feet-3-inches (17.45m).

Pole vaulting and hammer throws weren’t the only events the Hilltoppers did well in, as they had personal record best in the 800 meter run, 400 meter hurdles and the 5,000 meter run. 

Sophomore Kaila Smith found her niche, coming in third place in the 400 meter hurdles along with Jodi Miller, a senior, who placed fourth in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:37.70.

In the 4×100, the men’s team was able to set a record of 40.38 seconds for the UK Relays with the endeavor of senior Prince Charles Iworah, freshman Grant Swinton and sophomores Emmanuel Dasor, and Ventavius Sears.

Sophomore Peter Agaba, who earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors in cross country, earned a personal best time of 1:52.62 in the 800 meter run, for a sixth place finish.

Both the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers will take a break this weekend before returning for Conference Championships starting on Thursday, May 14 and going through the 17th in Texas. 

“The Kentucky Relays were another warmup for us,” Jenkins said. “And because May has five weekends this year, we didn’t want to have two weeks off.”