Track and Field progressing towards outdoor competition

Jonah Phillips

The WKU Track and Field teams burst into their 2014 outdoor campaigns with nine individual wins at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Cougar Classic.

Head coach Erik Jenkins enters his seventh outdoor campaign coming off being named 2014 Women’s Indoor Track and Field Coach of the year.

This is Jenkins 15th Coach of the year honor since taking the reins in 2008.

“At the end of the day I believe in what I do and I believe in this university,” Jenkins said in response to the honors.  “The formula is very simple. We have to find kids that can compete and develop into top end conference or national athletes. I’m still working hard to perfect it and innovate it.”

Senior David Mokone highlighted WKU’s efforts in Edwardsville.  The two time All-American captured gold in both the 1,500 and 3,000-meter runs with times of 3:58.84 and 8:45.85 respectively.

Senior Chris Chamness nabbed his first-career 800-meter run victory with a time of 1:56.56.

Chamness, Elvyonn Bailey, Karlis Daube, and DeAngelo Strickling, and grabbed top honors at the meet.

The women’s 4X100-meter relay found similar success.

The team of Sandra Akachukwu, Gelela Cooley, Carrol Hardy and Chioma Agwunobi took home top honors with a time of 47.83 seconds.

Junior throws athlete Travis Gerding also reigned supreme with a 52-feet-10 ½ inch heave in the shot put good for first place.  The 2013 Outdoor All-Sun Belt Conference honoree also notched third-place showings in the hammer and discus throws.

“Travis had a really successful sophomore season and has been improving almost on a weekly basis since,” throws coach Ashley Muffet-Duncan said.  “He knows how big of a season this will be for him, setting up his senior season.”

Senior Satrina Oliveira secured her second-career win in the discus throw with a toss of 150-feet-6 inches.

Senior Maryland – Eastern Shore transfer Lexia Robinson continued the success with a win in the shot put, recording a mark of 46-feet-9 1/2 inches.

“We have five girls, and they are all stand outs,” Duncan said of the women throw athletes. “Lexia is right behind Ramsey in the shot put, and she is someone I really wish I had more time with to develop.”

All-Sun Belt Conference field athlete Karleigh Parker cleared 12-feet-1 ½ inches to win the pole vault.

Freshman Antonia Susnjar finished runner-up in the javelin throw, tossing 132-feet-4 inches in her first meet in a Topper uniform.

WKU still finished third out of the seven teams in attendance with 105 points while the Lady Toppers finished fourth out of eight with 74 points.

“We are back into the sprints and conditioning phases of our training, high volume and reps,” Jenkins said, “We are trying to secure our markers as early as possible in the season to qualify for conference championships down the road.”

Both teams are back in action next weekend in Nashville as they participate in the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational at the Vanderbilt Track and field Complex.