Hilltopper Relays show program’s progression

WKU’s Peter Agaba splashes into a pool of water during the steeplechase event during the Hilltopper Relays Saturday at the Charles M. Ruter Track and Field Complex in Bowling Green, Ky. Nick Wagner/HERALD

Alexus Richardson

This weekend, the WKU track and field team showcased their talent in Bowling Green— an opportunity that only comes once a year. WKU student athletes broke personal and school records as they competed in the Hilltopper Relays at the Ruter Track and Field Complex. 

It was the seventh straight year WKU hosted their annual home event. With the weather in their favor, 21 teams from 12 institutions came out for competition, including multiple Conference USA schools and two of the strongest NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) schools in the country. 

Head Coach Eric Jenkins said that he was excited to be able to bring in such a high caliber of competition. 

“We started out with 4 or 5 teams, and now having 15 really shows our progression,” Jenkins said. “We hope to continue to enhance our facilities and provide experience where people can come out and really enjoy their Saturday.” 

In Saturday’s relay events, pole-vaulters senior Karleigh Parker and freshman Ria Mollers both set a new WKU record at 13-feet-7.5 inches. 

They finished with Mollers in second and Parker in third, with Mollers finishing with less misses. 

On the sprinting side, WKU sophomore All-American Emmanuel Dasor won the 200 and 400-meter dashes with times of 20.85 and 46.58 respectively. 

“It was really exciting to compete at home— it was great,” Dasor said. “This year was an even bigger expectation, because we can always improve.”

Dasor also said he felt most comfortable in the 200 meter. 

“I don’t care about my strides in 200,” Dasor said. “It’s all about finishing, and this was my first time doing the 200 in outdoor— it was really great.”

Dasor’s time in the 400-meter dash ranks 4th in WKU history and first in C-USA this season. His time in the 200-meter dash ranks second in the league. 

Dasor also contributed to the Hilltoppers’ win in the 400-meter relay, finishing with a time of 40.54 seconds. Freshman Grant Swinton, sophomore Ventavius Sears and junior Ja’Karyus Redwine were the other contributing athletes on the way to clocking a 40.54 showing. 

WKU also had high accomplishments from their throwers, including senior Travis Gerding, who nabbed a win in the discus with a toss of 166-8 and finished third in the shot put at 54-8 1/4. 

Senior Jatavia Wright finished 100-meter hurdles with the second fastest time in Lady Topper history of 13.91 seconds. She finished fourth in the event.  

Lady Topper sprinter Carrol Hardy won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.61 seconds.

Overall, the team earned three top 25 performances in the meet and several of the athletes had performances that moved them in the top eight of the conference rankings. 

The Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers will be competing again this weekend, the team will be split with half going to Mt. SAC Relays and the other half going to the Austin Peay Invitational.