Sprinters move up record books at Florida Relays

Chela Counts

Competition was tough for sprinters that traveled to Gainesville, Fla., over the weekend to compete in the Pepsi Florida Relays, though WKU runners posted strong times.

Sophomore sprinter David Mokone earned honors as the top collegiate finisher and overall second best in the 800-meter run — clocking a time of 1:48.13.

His collegiate finish has marked the second consecutive year that a WKU athlete has been the top collegian at the Florida Relays — Ignacio Guerra won the javelin in 2011.

“It’s a privilege also to be running for the Florida Relays,” Mokone said. “Only a few can run it.”

Mokone beat some of the nation’s top All-Americans in the race.

“I was so happy I beat All-Americans — that’s what made me happy … but during the 800, I should have stayed with the leaders the first 400-meters, but I did not, so I had to catch up at the end,” he said.

Later on Friday, Mokone also competed in the 1,500 meters. He finished third with a season-best time of 3:47.83 to end day one of the meet.

On Saturday, sophomore sprinter Gelela Cooley became the second fastest performer in Lady Topper history to run the 400-meter dash.

She clocked a time of 53.97. Earlier in the week, the Gainesville, Fla., native said she was excited to see her family and friends support her.

Sophomore sprinter Marcus Winstead said a lot of Cooley’s family and friends came through to support her.

Kristina Volfova competed in her first collegiate 400-meter intermediate hurdle race, clocking a time of 1:01.21 — moving her to third all-time at WKU.

On the field, junior jumper Jade Nimmo earned a fifth-place finish with a leap of 19-11.50. She is now ranked fifth in the Lady Topper record books for the event.

Sophomore sprinter De’Myco Winston set a new personal record and moved to fourth all-time in the Hilltopper 400-meter record books. He placed 15th overall with a time of 47.14 seconds.

The men’s 4×400-meter relay didn’t live up to previous standards. The team of senior Marcus Pope, Winstead, Mokone and Winston placed 12th and earned a time of 3:12.49.

Winstead said he felt as though he let himself and his teammates down.

“I got too nervous, and I ran out too hard,” he said.

Winstead hopes to redeem himself this weekend at home as WKU plays host for the Hilltopper Relays.

“I’ve got to redeem myself,” Winstead said. “I was shocked at myself and so were my teammates.”