WKU track & field will divide but hopes to conquer

Chela Counts

WKU’s track and field team will split this weekend, as members will travel to three different schools — Bellarmine, Florida and Stanford.

Head Coach Erik Jenkins will travel to Florida with the team of sprinters, assistant coach Craig Morehead will be at Bellarmine with the throwers, and women’s distance coach Michelle Scott will travel with distance runners for the Stanford Invitational.

Jenkins expects all teams to do well.

“I think we’ll do good, because everywhere we’re going is set up for good competition,” Jenkins said. “Florida is one of the premier schools for jumping, sprinting and now throws in the country. Stanford is the place you want to be if you’re a distance runner to run fast … It’s no secret Stanford sets up to run fast, and then Bellarmine creates another opportunity for our other kids who aren’t at those meets to go up against quality competition against quality Division I teams.”

Competition at each meet runs from Friday to Saturday.

Although the team has never traveled to Bellarmine to compete in their invitational, senior thrower Adesola Adeduro knows what she’s expecting from herself.

“As of right now, I’m expecting to stay consistent with my marks from last weekend and working the ball to finish the hop and push the ball after countering it,” she said. “This causes the ball to move faster and go further.”

Sprinters scheduled to run on Friday will face temperatures in the high 80s, while throwers and distance runners will compete in weather conditions in the low 60s.

For sophomore sprinters Gelela Cooley and De’Myco Winston, heat is the least of their worries. Cooley, a Gainesville, Fla., native, said earlier in the week that she looks forward to seeing her family and friends the most.

“I’m very excited — I really miss my mom and my siblings. Plus, my old high school track teammates will be there to cheer me on,” Cooley said. “I honestly can’t wait to see everyone.”

A graduate of Gainesville High School and the oldest sibling of four, Cooley has competed once on the Gators’ Pearcy Beard Track. With schools like LSU, Auburn and Georgia making an appearance, she’s expecting competition to be tough.

“A girl from FAMU (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University) swears she can beat me, and I’m ready to show her what’s up,” Cooley said.

One team the Toppers will meet in Florida is Mississippi, a team they competed against last weekend.

Winston, a Ruskin, Fla., native, who said he hasn’t seen his family in the last six months, said the presence of family members at this meet will aid in his success on the track.

“It will mean a lot to see them, and I always do better when I know I have them watching me,” he said.

Since 1939, the Pepsi Florida Relays have been a premiere meet for those in the southern region. Winston and Cooley have been preparing since the beginning of the week.

In practices, they worked on handoffs and finishing off strong.

“I’ve just been getting my mental mind state right to get out there and run against good competition,” Winston said.