Hinken finds success early in career

Jonah Phillips

It hasn’t taken Lindsey Hinken long to become a standout at WKU.

The freshman was the first Lady Topper to cross the finish line this weekend at the Greater Louisville Classic, finishing 14th out of more than 250 runners.

She also finished first on the team at the Belmont Opener and second among WKU runners at the Commodore Classic.

Hinken came to WKU after being named the 2011 Northern Kentucky Female Cross Country Runner of the Year. She helped lead St. Henry District High School in Erlanger to three state championships.

 Hinken was part of a recruiting class that had the coaching staff excited.

“With this class, there is a variety of talent in several events,” head coach Erik Jenkins said. “Our goal will always be to have a well-rounded team and not just focus on one area.

“This class continues to exemplify that.”

Hinken said in an email that her decision to come to WKU was “an obvious choice.”

“I loved the campus, the Honors College, the friendly environment and the cross country program — including its rich tradition in the Sun Belt Conference and the caliber of its athletes,” she said.

“…when (women’s distance coach Michelle Scott) reached out to me and told me WKU was interested in having me join their cross country team, I was extremely excited to accept their offer.”

Her consistency thus far has caught the eyes of many, but Jenkins predicted her success.

He said in a preseason interview that he expected her to contribute immediately to the success of the program.

“I think I ran pretty well at the first two meets, considering I’m still adjusting to collegiate running,” Hinken said, “However, I am hoping to improve a lot as the season progresses, to run faster and place higher in our key races to better help the team.”

Hinken has done well while a lot of the Lady Toppers are still trying to establish some consistency.

“I knew (Hinken) was going to do really well — it is other people that haven’t lived up to expectations,” Scott said.

Hinken has managed to catch the eye of senior teammate Vasity Chemweno. She was out-run by Hinken in the Belmont Opener and Greater Louisville Classic but finished in front of her at the Commodore Classic.

“Lindsey is one girl with potential,” Chemweno said. “She started her season well, and she is getting better every day.”

As a freshman, Hinken has done well transitioning to collegiate running and to college life, Chemweno said.

“During practice, she is focused on her workout and puts in a great effort,” Chemweno said. “I personally am happy to have Lindsey as a teammate.”

Hinken attributed much of her success to Scott.

“She always challenges the team during workouts, has high expectations of us and is a great motivator,” Hinken said. “Even though I’m very new to the team, I feel that I have already improved as a runner under her coaching.

“I am extremely lucky to be part of this team.”