Track and field look to keep the ball rolling in Indiana

WKU freshman sprinter Sandra Akachukwu of Tampa Bay, Fl. runs the final leg in the women’s 4X100 meter Saturday at the Hilltopper Relays. WKU finished first in the event with a recorded time of 45.77 seconds. (Luke Franke/HERALD)

Alexus Richardson

After just three weeks of competition, the WKU track and field teams have tallied multiple Conference USA honors and broke multiple top marks in program history. 

Head Coach Erik Jenkins, along with his staff and team, are hoping to continue this trend as they compete on Saturday at the Indiana Relays in Bloomington, Indiana. 

The young team—over half of which are underclassmen—has already had an impact on the program’s inaugural season in C-USA.  

“I’d like to instill a culture early in them of working hard, staying disciplined, understanding what it takes to compete at a higher level and understanding the nuances of certain meets,” Jenkins said. “This is probably the absolute youngest team we’ve had since I’ve been here, but I like what they’re doing.” 

Jenkins wants the team to improve on what he calls “meet etiquette,” or working on preparations during meet time. This week’s competition in Bloomington will be no different. Jenkins expectations are high for this team, as he believes they could be NCAA qualifiers.  

While WKU’s team has been at work for nearly a month, the majority of the C-USA teams just started competition this weekend and won’t be showing off their full potential—which prevents Jenkins and his staff from getting an idea of what they will be facing during the championships. 

“The majority of the league is so new to us. We’re just trying to take it all in, and do as much research on the teams and the kids as we can. It is a new learning experience for us, but I’m excited about it,“ Jenkins said. 

The Indiana Relays are held at the University of Indiana and will consist of strictly Division I schools, where as in the past, Division II schools were present as well as individual athletes. 

On the University of Indiana’s track, the WKU team will get its first crack at a 200-meter bank track, which is what they will compete on in pre-conference championships in Birmingham, Alabama, rather than the 300-meter flat track they are used to. 

“I like where we’re going so far, but we have to stay healthy and stay humble.” Jenkins said.