Weather mars weekend but can’t stop Toppers from competing

Lucas Aulbach

Poor weather may have altered a lot of WKU’s plans on the track this weekend, but it couldn’t stop several members of the track and field teams from putting up good marks in Iowa and Louisville.

Most of the team was in Iowa at the Drake Relays, the second-largest track meet in the country. A group of distance runners also competed in a meet at Bellarmine University in Louisville.

Another small group intended to run at Southern Illinois, but the meet was canceled due to bad running conditions.

Head Coach Erik Jenkins, who was with the team in Iowa, said the Toppers were competing against rain, wind and cold temperatures.

“It wasn’t the best kind of weather to go out and compete in, but in an outdoor track field, that’s what you’re going to see,” he said.

The weather didn’t keep the team from competing at Drake. Junior Jade Nimmo, who had been named Sun Belt Field Performer of the Week last Thursday, placed third in the long jump on Saturday.

Jenkins said he was pleased with the experience his team gained by competing at Drake, including the opportunity to see performances from several athletes who will be competing in the London Olympics this summer.

“I think they performed very well considering the weather, which is often a challenge when you go to the Drake Relays,” he said. “People put up big marks across the meet, and we got to see a few Olympians, which is a level we aspire to be at.”

The distance squad enjoyed one of the best weekends they’ve had this season. Distance coach Michelle Scott said seven of the runners recorded personal records at Bellarmine.

“It was a good weekend. We ran fast,” she said. “It’s good to get some confidence at this point in the year, with conference coming so soon.”

Senior Michelle Finn finished first overall in the women’s 1500-meter run with a time of 4.29.63, and senior Monica Akello took the top spot in the women’s 800-meter, running it in 2.09.38.

In the women’s 5000-meter run, freshman Anna Reddin and sophomore Allison Riedling finished first and third, respectively.

Finn said the Toppers were lucky enough to compete before the bad weather hit Louisville on Saturday.

“The weather was perfect when we were running. We just barely missed all of the storms,” she said.

The Toppers now have one more weekend before the Sun Belt Conference Championships on May 11-13. Some of the team will perform at a meet in Indiana this weekend to give those athletes who couldn’t perform at SIU this weekend a chance to compete.

Finn said she plans on using the weekend to take some time off and prepare for the postseason.

“I’m going to rest next weekend because I don’t have any races, but we’re all going to keep training hard and hope for the best for Conference,” she said.

Jenkins said the Toppers need to stay focused as they close out the regular season.

“I think physically we’re where we need to be,” he said. “We just need to continue to put ourselves in the best position to capitalize as we come up to the conference championship.”