WKU splits success in California, Tennessee

WKU sophomore Carorol Hardy, center, leads fellow Topper sprinters Sandra Akachukwu, left, and Peli Alzora in the 100-meter dash during the Hilltopper Relays in Bowling Green, Ky., on Saturday, April 11, 2015.Nick Wagner/HERALDNick Wagner/HERALD

Alexus Richardson

With the Conference USA Championships less then a month away, WKU’s men’s and women’s track and field teams are continuing to test themselves against the highest caliber of competition.

This weekend a portion of the team competed in what Head Coach Erik Jenkins described as one of the largest track and field competitions in the nation at the Mt. SAC relays in Walnut, California. 

Jenkins sent the team’s elite sprinters to California, and sent another portion of athletes across a span of events to compete in the Austin Peay Relays in Clarksville, Tennessee.  

While the teams were competing just less than 2,000 miles away from each other, it was both the individual and collective efforts of the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers that found the most success.  

In California, sophomores Emmanuel Dasor and Ventavius Sears finished individually third and eighth in the 200-meter dash, with Dasor finishing with a mark of 20.79 and Sears following at 21.01 seconds.

The two sophomores joined junior Ja’Karyus Redwine and freshman Grant Swinton to combine for third place in the 4×400 meter relay—an event Jenkins said is highly competitive. 

The quartet’s clocking of 3:05.95 is the fifth-fastest time in the NCAA this season, and puts them comfortably in first place in the C-USA by just over two seconds. 

“These meets really expose you to what you need to work on because you’re exposed to some of the best in the country,” said Jenkins.

The women’s 4×400-meter relay was also able to shave some time off their previous mark in California. While finishing 12th in the highly contested final, the Lady Toppers’ mark of 3:45.01 ranks fifth in the conference this season. 

The Lady Toppers finished at the heels of C-USA foe UTSA, who came in 11th in the event with a time of 3:44.02. The team still holds a higher mark than that this season, with a clocking of 3:42.45 at the Texas Invitational just a week before, which ranks third in the league. 

Despite renovations to the grounds at the Austin Peay Relays, WKU was able to notch six individual wins. Seniors Jodi Miler, Travis Gerding, Cedric Stadom and Lemanuel Mosley spearheaded the six-win effort in Clarksville. The four set the tone for underclassmen success, especially freshman pole vaulter Dylan Cornwell. 

Cornwell managed a mark of 15-feet-5.75-inches in his event, grabbing his first career win as a Hilltopper and leaping into third place in the WKU record books.  

Senior Jodi Miller won her first career event in 1500-meter sprint with a time of 4:38.90. Senior Lemanuel Mosley also won his first event as a Hilltopper in the 400-meter with a time of 48.16 seconds.