The WKU men’s track and field team received a No. 25 national ranking from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The rankings were released Tuesday, awarding WKU its first ever appearance.
Head Coach Erik Jenkins—a WKU alum, former NCAA qualifier, graduate assistant and assistant coach before taking the reigns as Head Coach in 2008—describes the honor as quite exciting, but far from an easy task.
“I think it is a great honor,” Jenkins said. “We are a program that has had Track & Field for a long time, and to be ranked top 25 amongst some of the nations best, I think it is an outstanding honor, and I am glad people are recognizing what we are doing at WKU.”
This week the team will be competing in the Crimson Tide Invitational, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Tops are one of eight teams invited to the contest, with the majority of the other schools representing the ACC.
Over the course of the season, the program will test itself against the highest levels of competition, competing in three of the five “major meets” in the nation. These meets include the Florida Relays, Mt. SAC for the elite runners and the Penn relays—the largest meet in the country.
“Competing in these more challenging meets gives us a chance to showcase every element of our program,” Jenkins said. “We have to go in confident, and knowing who were representing because it gives us an opportunity to show our three letters just as they see LSU or FSU.”
The team hopes to get good competition for the sprinters and throwers in this week’s meet in Alabama. The runners are hoping to practice in for the Florida Relays, which will be important for the team to see where they stand in preparing for the last two meets.
After being awarded the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Most Outstanding Freshman and scoring points as a NCAA qualifier in four events, sophomore Ventavius Sears still believes he can’t do anything without his teammates.
“When we pick each other up in the meets and practices it helps us all perform well, and I think we did well in indoor so I’m looking forward to our transition in outdoor,” Sears said.