WKU takes steps forward at MTSU meet

Jonah Phillips

The WKU men’s and women’s track and field teams were at it again Saturday at the Middle Tennessee Invitational.

The Topper presence was felt in Murfreesboro, Tenn., as the squads brought home five first-place and five second-place finishes.

Senior Sharika Smith marked the second-longest jump in the Sun Belt Conferene this season with a winning leap of 40-feet-5 inches.  She didn’t call it quits after that either, with a runner-up showing in the 55-meter hurdles.

Two newer names to the Lady Topper squad that had big impacts were junior Jessica Ramsey and sophomore Satrina Oliveira.

Ramsey earned a shot put win with a 45-foot-8 inch clip and a fourth place in the weight throw, while Oliveria claimed a weight throw victory with a 50-feet-7 inch toss and a second place in the shot put.

The Lady Toppers 4×440-yard relay took the win, clocking a time of 3:57.50, and beating out Eastern Kentucky by a full two seconds.

Freshman Lindsey Hinken, who earned all-Sun Belt honors in her first cross country season this previous last fall, posted a second-place finish in the 3,000-meter run with a 10:28.38 mark.

Former Lady Topper Michelle Finn, a 2012 Sun Belt Conference champion, competed unattached in the meet and won the mile run in a time of 4:59.77.

Three WKU throwers – senior Houston Croney, sophomore Travis Gerding and sophomore Zach Michaud – all had success tossing the weight, finishing second, third and fourth, respectively. Gerding set a personal record in the event for the third-consecutive week, topping his previous high by more than a foot.

Sophomore Cyrus Johnson, who won the high jump at last weekend’s Rod McCravy Memorial, placed second in the 55-meter dash, and junior sprinter Marcus Winstead ran his way to a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash.

“We’re continuing to improve and learning valuable lessons in race strategy,” said head coach Eric Jenkins. “We’re doing the kinds of things that we need to be doing to be successful come championship time.”