Mokone leads WKU in final meet before SBC title

Andrew Weigel

The WKU men’s and women’s cross country teams wrapped up the regular season on Saturday with one of their top performers of the season, as the Lady Toppers captured top honors as a team and junior David Mokone claimed first place individually for the Toppers at the Evansville Invitational in Evansville, Ind.

The Lady Toppers were led by career-best 5K finishes from all five of their runners. Sophomore Lindsey Hinken (2nd), sophomore Katie Lever (3rd), sophomore Taylor Carlin (5th), junior Jodi Miller (6th), and sophomore Baylee Shofner (7th) all finished in the top-10 for the Lady Toppers, as they collected 23 team points en route to their first team win of the season.

Saturday marked the second consecutive meet sophomores Hinken, Lever, Carlin and Shofner posted career-best finishes.

Coach Erik Jenkins praised the effort of his Lady Topper runners.

“We had all our women finish in the top-ten, and that’s something we’re excited about,” Jenkins said.

Hinken’s second-place finish was the second of her career and her time of 17:38.56 topped her previous record by nearly 17 seconds. Saturday marked the second time this season and fifth time in her career that she finished first among Lady Toppers.

Senior David Mokone captured his first-career individual title, leading WKU to a second-place team finish, its best of the season. He crossed the finish line nearly 20 seconds faster than his closest competitor in the 8K race.

Mokone was WKU’s top runner in each of the team’s four regular-season meets, and recorded his ninth career top-10 finish in a cross country race on Saturday

Freshman Peter Agaba posted a fifth-place finish in his first career cross country race, coming in at 26:00.06. Sophomore Aaron Stevens also recorded a career-best 8K finish clocking in at 26:07.03 for eighth place. Freshmen Kamohelo Mangoejane (27th) and Josh Amos (46th) rounded out the Topper runners.

Jenkins said he was encouraged by both teams’ performances.

“For the women to come in first and the men to finish second is a big positive for us,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the meet was what the teams needed to get ready for the Sun Belt Conference Championships, WKU’s next meet. The Sun Belt cross country teams will meet to compete for the conference title on Nov. 2 in Troy, Ala.

“This was a great meet to prepare us for the Conference Championships,” said Jenkins. “They are in as good a shape as they’re going to get.”

Jenkins plans to carry the confidence from this win over to practice in preparation for the Sun Belt Conference Championships.

“We’re going to bring this with us when we head down to Troy, Alabama” Jenkins said.