WKU breaks three record at Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational

WKU junior Chioma Agwunobi, left, and freshman Carrol Hardy, right, compete in the Women’s 60 Meter Dash at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational Track and Field on Saturday Jan. 25, 2014.(Jeff Brown/HERALD)

Jonah Phillips

The WKU track and field teams continued on in their indoor-season campaign this past weekend at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational.  The Toppers’ efforts combined for three new records, posting seven marks that rank in the national top 25.

The weekend was highlighted by defending Sun Belt Conference Athletes of the Week Elvyonn Bailey and Jessica Ramsey, both of whom have emerged as senior leaders this season.  Bailey had only himself to beat when he shattered his old 400-meter dash record with a new time of 46:52, while Ramsey set a new weight throw record of 65-feet-5 ½ inches.

Bailey’s dash was good for runner-up honors on the weekend, and a time that ranks ninth in the NCAA, while his senior counter-part Ramsey took top honors in Nashville, and currently ranks 22nd nationally.

“Anytime you can go into a big meet like that and compete like we did against SEC competition, it’s huge,” coach Erik Jenkins said. “We’re definitely moving in the right direction as a program.”

David Mokone ran his way to a runner-up finish, placing second in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:49.95. He currently ranks 11th in the country in the event and has been named a two-time All-American.

Freshman Carrol Hardy managed to sprint her way into the WKU record books for her 60-meter dash time of 7:48 seconds, nabbing runner-up honors on the weekend.

Sophomore distance runners Katie Lever and Lindsey Hinken also displayed eye-catching performances.  Lever continued her strong sophomore-year campaign with a 16:44.20 clocking in the 5,000-meter run—a mark ranking ninth nationally. Hinken finished behind Lever in third with a time of 17:03.35, which ranks 14th in the country.

Junior jumper Cyrus Johnson leaped his way into a 23rd national rank with a mark of 50-feet-1 ½ inches. Johnson’s jump was the second furthest in program history and leads the Sun Belt Conference.

The Toppers 4X400-meter relay rounded out the top 25 performances for the weekend, winning the relay in 3:10.85. Ventavius Sears, Chris Chamness, Ja’Karyus Redwine and Bailey found themselves ranked 24th nationally.

Redwine also recorded the fastest 60-meter dash in the Sun Belt Conference at 6.79 seconds—a new personal record.

“We did all the heavy lifting in the fall months” Jenkins said of where the team stands, “and we have the young men and women to compete at the level we want to be at.  We have to stay disciplined, healthy and humble.”

Defending Sun Belt co-athlete of the week Jessica Ramsey set a personal record 178-08 feet in the weight throw at Vanderbilt, and said that setting personal records is what is driving an already highly motivated team.

“We are really coming together as a team,” Ramsey said. “We are constantly motivating each other and giving each other strength. The coaches have just been stressing to take everything one day at a time, and have really been focusing on technique.”

The track and field program will head to Bloomington, Ind. next weekend for the Indiana Relays.