WKU has sights set on SBC title run

Jonah Phillips

It’s crunch time for the WKU track and field squads as the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 23 approach.

Some athletes will attend the Purdue Boilermaker Invitational this weekend while others take the weekend off as they prepare for the upcoming title meet in Jonesboro, Ark.

“Obviously, we are only taking a small group to Purdue,” coach Erik Jenkins said. “Mainly the kids that haven’t got to race as thoroughly indoors as we would have liked to.”

As these developing athletes head to Purdue to compete, Jenkins has the rest of his squad maintaining focus on next weekend’s conference championships.

Jenkins said he expects big things in the Sun Belt championships from athletes such as senior Joseph Chebet and junior David Mokone, and those expectations aren’t without merit.

  At the conference championships last year, Chebet earned All-Sun Belt honors in the 3,000-meters and mile run, with first and second place finishes, respectively.

For Mokone, the stakes are arguably higher. At the Sun Belt championships last year, Mokone set a Sun Belt title record in a win in the mile run, placed second in the 800-meter run and anchored the third-place finishing distance medley relay to earn All-Sun Belt honors in each event as well as being named the meet’s Most Outstanding Track Performer.

Jenkins’ ace in the hole on the women’s side is All-American senior Sharika Smith, who will be competing in the sprint hurdles and jumps.

Smith won’t be the only Lady Topper to look for come conference time, as the team is solidified with a strong core group of female athletes.

The coach said WKU will rely on strong performances from several key performers next week at the Sun Belt championship.

“We have an array of student-athletes that have to get it done when it counts,” Jenkins said. “That’s the bottom line.”