A strong Topper presence was felt across the eastern seaboard this weekend as the track and field squads sent student-athletes to Troy, Ala., Philadephia and Louisville to compete in separate meets.
This was the last heavy-duty weekend for WKU. The Sun Belt Conference Championships begin a week from Friday.
Freshman thrower Tomas Guerra stole the show at the Penn Relays, winning the javelin throw title with a personal-record heave of 230-feet-8 inches.
His personal-record throw caught the eye of WKU coach Erik Jenkins.
“For Tomas to go in and win the javelin in that sort of environment is a huge accomplishment, and we want him to continue to build off that,” he said.
Guerra’s efforts were not the only ones to bring attention to WKU in Philly.
The 4×400-meter relay squad posted a 3:08.66 clocking and a fourth-place finish. The squad ran the 10th-fastest time in the country at 3:06.09 at last week’s Mt. SAC Relays.
Jenkins said his team should benefit from performing in front of the strong crowd at the Penn Relays.
“Penn Relays is the biggest meet in the country, and when you are competing in front of almost 50,000 people that are just strictly track fans from different countries all over the globe, it makes for a good atmosphere,” Jenkins said.
While the relay squad was making headway up north, the majority of the track and field athletes took a trip to Louisville for the Bellarmine Classic, where they found three individual victories and a slew of other personal records and accolades.
Junior high-jumper Derek Hill claimed gold when he leaped 6-feet-8 ¾ inches, while junior jumper and Bowling Green native Donovan Halsel finished behind him in second place.
Senior jumper Ana Camargo notched her first triple jump victory since the outdoor season began, reigning supreme with a leap of 36 feet.
Sophomore pole vaulter Karleigh Parker claimed top honors at 12-feet-9 ½. While this did not eclipse her school-record vault of 13-feet-3 ½ inches that she set on April 13, she still ranks second in the conference this season.
The throws team traveled to Alabama for the Troy invitational, where junior Jessica Ramsey was named field athlete of the meet after winning the shot put and discus events and placing second in the hammer throw.
Ramsey had personal-record-breaking performances in all three events, highlighted by her 52-foot-4 ½ inch school-record shot put heave.
The WKU track and field teams will head to Bloomington, Ind. next weekend for the Billy Hayes Invitational in the final regular-season tune up for the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by FIU in Miami.
Jenkins said his players need to be focused on doing well at the conference championships.
“We had athletes compete very well this weekend across the board which bodes well for us down the road — with that being said, nothing you do before Conference’s matters once it’s time to compete,” the coach said. “On championship day, rankings and (personal records) don’t matter.”