WKU wins 13 events at Hilltopper Relays

WKU senior jumper France Makabu competes in the long jump during Saturday at the Hilltopper Relays. Makabu would record a jump of 19-feet-2.75 inches. (Luke Franke/HERALD)

Jonah Phillips

The WKU track and field team walked away from its only home event of the season with 13 individual wins Saturday at the Charles M. Ruter Track and Field Complex. 

Jessica Ramsey’s shot put heave of 57-feet-4.75 inches broke her own WKU record and moved her up to No. 1 in the NCAA rankings.

“It felt good to go out and compete at home,” Head Coach Erik Jenkins said. “We had great support from the Bowling Green community, from the students and parents that do not get to travel to our other meets. We had President (Gary) Ransdell there cheering on our student-athletes.”

Ramsey shattered her previous WKU and Sun Belt Conference record by nearly two feet, which she set just last week at the Florida Relays.

“Last week was a big improvement,” throws coach Ashley Duncan said of Ramsey’s throw at the Florida Relays. “Usually you don’t see such big jumps in numbers multiple weeks in a row. You just don’t expect a huge jump like that.

“We had been working on things technically in practice that resulted in Jessica throwing really big numbers in practice,” she added. “I didn’t think the changes were going to happen overnight.”

The team found success in a multitude of events, shining light on some not-so-familiar faces.

Carrol Hardy has already dashed her way into WKU record books as a freshman with a time of 11.41 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

Hardy also grabbed gold in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.79 seconds, good for first in the Sun Belt, 12th in the NCAA.

“We had athletes — as did other programs that competed — that were able to compete their way to national rankings this weekend,” Jenkins said.

Fellow freshman Sandra Akachukwu nabbed gold in the high jump at 5-feet-7.25 inches — a mark which ranks second in the Sun Belt and third in WKU history.

Akachukwu wasn’t done there, finishing second in the long jump at 20-feet-3.5 inches to lead the conference.

Senior jumpers France Makabu and Ana Camargo tied for second place in the triple jump, both posting a mark of 43-feet-3 inches.

Makabu and Camargo’s jumps were the longest in the Sun Belt this season and are tied for third in the NCAA as of Saturday.

On the men’s side, jumper Cyrus Johnson also put up a Sun Belt leading mark in the triple jump, taking gold with 50-feet-0.75 inches.

Senior jumper Derrick Hill clenched the high jump with a leap of 6-feet-8.75 inches, a mark that mirrored that of his teammate Johnson, yet Hill took gold in having less misses.

Freshman Antonia Susnjar earned her first career win in the javelin, taking gold with a heave of 137-feet-8 inches.

Sophomore Tomas Guerra also reigned supreme with a throw of 219-feet-11 inches.

Other than Ramsey’s headlining throws, other Topper throwers dominated the shot put, taking first, second, and third place on both men’s and women’s side.

“I want to see execution the next two weeks,” Duncan said in preparation for conference championships May 9. “We need to control the things we can and hone in our technique to be ready for big throws at conference championships.”

Chris Chamness (47.06) and Ventavius Sears (47.07) finished first and second in the 400-meter dash respectively.

Freshman Emmanuel Dasor and senior teammate Elvyonn Bailey were also neck-and-neck in the 200-meter dash. Dasor took to race with a time of 21.063 seconds compared to Bailey’s 21.069 finish.

In this, a friendly rivalry was spawned, as Bailey finished .03 seconds faster than Dasor in the 100-meter dash.  Bailey took second place in the event with a time of 10.36 seconds for third place in the Sun Belt.

“We had a really great meet overall and we look forward to being successful down the road,” Jenkins said. “Physically, we are where we need to be.  Now we have to stay healthy, stay sharp, and compete hard. The work has been done.”

WKU will send athletes to the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., and to the Kentucky Relays in Lexington next weekend.