Indoor begins season this weekend

Jonah Phillips

The 2012-13 indoor track season is set to begin Saturday when the Toppers travel to Murfreesboro, Tenn., for the Middle Tennessee Christmas Invitational.  

Senior Joseph Chebet and junior David Mokone, who just finished strong cross country seasons, will hit the track for WKU.

Other athletes will be in action for the first time this academic year.

Junior sprinter Marcus Winstead finished third last year in the 400-meter dash at the Sun Belt Indoor Championships. Coach Erik Jenkins expects similar results this year.

“Marcus will be a big and immediate contributor for us this season,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins also predicted big things from sophomore jumper Cyrus Johnson.

“When our competition’s eyes notice the work and hours we put in practice, their jaws will drop,” Johnson said. “This year, the coaching staff prepared more than just a team — they are preparing NCAA champions.”  

The Lady Topper squad will travel into Murfreesboro looking for a new leader to arise. Sophomore Karleigh Parker, junior Gelela Cooley, and senior Sharika Smith will all hope to turn heads.

Parker — a pole vaulter — set and re-set the WKU record books in her first year on the Hill and is looking to feed off the success she found last year.

“The coaching staff is doing a tremendous job preparing us,” Parker said, “They pushed us very hard both in the weight room and running workouts.”

Younger team members look up to Smith, who already gained All-America honors in her career once.

“I look up to Sharika because she’s been All-American, and that’s something I want to accomplish before I graduate,” Cooley said.

Jenkins said WKU is ready for this weekend’s invitational.

“We are going to take advantage of our strengths, take the competition meet by meet, and do everything we can to be successful in the conference championship,” Jenkins said.