When Hopkinsville native Sherria Hester transferred to WKU from Lindsey Wilson College in 2011, she didn’t have initial intentions of joining the track and field program.
Assistant coach Jamaine Gordan had previously recruited Hester back when he coached at Union College, wanting Hester to come run track there.
Gordon was hired by WKU as an assistant coach before the 2011-2012 school year, right as Hester transferred to the school as well. The two reconnected and soon enough, Hester, who was a part of the Lindsey Wilson track team after turning down an offer to be on the soccer team, was sprinting for the Lady Toppers.
“He heard that I was transferring to WKU and asked if I was interested in continuing to run track,” Hester said. “I couldn’t turn it down, because of how good the program is here, and how much I missed the sport.”
She joined WKU in time for the 2011 indoor track season, but said her times as a transfer student through the season were difficult.
“Being a transfer student isn’t easy,” Hester said. “Between credits not transferring and classes being taught in a different direction that I was used to, it was hard. But WKU has helped me through all of it.”
Coach Erik Jenkins said her work ethic has helped her become an important part of the track and field squads.
“She strives to get batter, and that’s all you can ask of a walk on,” Jenkins said. “She came in, she worked hard, she earned scholarships, and now she has the opportunity to help her team on their way to a Sun Belt Conference Championship.”
Hester was a tri-athlete at Christian County High School, playing basketball, soccer, and track.
She said sometimes even she wonders how she ended up running track at WKU with that athletic background.
“I was recruited by small colleges for basketball and soccer,” Hester said. “It’s funny because I haven’t completely figured that out myself, how I ended up at WKU running track, when I wasn’t even looked at for track in high school.”
While she was recruited for soccer, she stuck with track because she wanted to stay true to what made her happy, Hester said.
“I had a lot more confidence, and I felt more accomplished when I competed in track than I did in soccer or basketball,” Hester explained, “I really had a passion for track more so than the other sports.”
Though she has been working with the team to prepare for the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Championships, Hester, a recreation management major, said right now one of her biggest focuses is on academics.
“I’ve been making sure my grades are where they need to be to remain eligible,” she said. “As far as training, I’ve been working on the little things, like getting out of the start and finishing strong so that once Conference time comes, it will be on point.”
Jenkins said her academics-first mindset helps Hester and that the rest of his team should look to her as an example.
“They are student-athletes,” he said. “They are here to receive a top-notch education, and happen to be blessed with the ability to run, jump and throw at a superior level.”