Track squads heading across America in weekend meets

Jonah Phillips

This weekend marks the busiest one all season for the WKU track and field squads. The men’s and women’s squads will split three ways in a move that will stretch the team about 2800 miles apart.  

The track squads will be split between the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla., the Bellarmine Invitational in Louisville, KY., and the Stanford Relays in Stanford, Cal. to compete in three separate meets this weekend

No one has higher expectations for the Topper and Lady Topper squads than WKU coach Erik Jenkins.

Yet, will stretching the team literally to separate ends of the country yield positive results for a team with so much potential?  Coach Erik Jenkins said stretching the team to separate ends of the country should bring the most out of his team.

“Going to the Florida Relays doesn’t work well in certain events, just like going to Stanford Relays doesn’t necessarily work well either,” Jenkins said. “Our administration is putting our student-athletes in the best positions possible to qualify for national championships.”

The relay team of junior Elvyonn Bailey, sophomore Kamohelo Mangojeane, freshman Ja’Karyus Redwine and junior Chris Chamness which flourished so well last weekend at Austin Peay — winning the 4×100 and 4×400-meter relays — will travel to Gainesville in hopes of drawing national attention.

“We go to Florida Relays this weekend, and then have Mt. SAC relays two weeks later, which are two of the five biggest meets in the United States,” Jenkins said.  “Obviously we want to work things out and make sure we take care of little things so that we can be competitive.”

Jenkins said he also anticipates senior Joseph Chebet and junior David Mokone to perform well this weekend, carrying on the solid season they have had thus far.

“Joseph Chebet is running the conference leading 5,000 meter time right now and David Mokone is running the conference leading 1500 meter time, and the second leading 800 meter time, so we just need them to keep working hard,” Jenkins said. “I’ve got a competitive group of young men, and we just have got to make sure we take care of the little things so we can compete at the highest level.”

Track athletes are not the only ones to look for this weekend.  The throws team competed very well this past weekend, picking up three individual wins, and Jenkins said he’s looking for them to only get better.

“The student-athletes are responding extremely well to the heavier workloads that are being placed on them down the stretch in order for them to be successful come championship time,” Jenkins said. “We also have a very good strength and conditioning program, and an outstanding strength and conditioning coach in Duane Hall who gives them the capability of competing at the highest level.”

After this hectic weekend the Toppers return home for the Hilltopper Relays on April 13th, then go to Walnut California for the Mt. SAC Relays on April 18th.