Track teams step up at national meet

Lucas Aulbach

The WKU track and field teams were able to perform this weekend at a location where much of the team is hoping to return to next month.

Most of the team competed at the 102nd annual Drake Relays in Iowa this weekend, the site of next month’s NCAA National Championships. The distance squad traveled to Butler University in Indianapolis to compete in another meet.

Head Coach Erik Jenkins was at Drake with the team and said the meet went well for WKU.

“The weather out there was great,” he said. “Drake is notorious for having iffy weather.”

The Drake Relays are one of the largest national meets of the outdoor season. Jenkins said the competition at the meet was at a very high level.

“We were up against some of the best teams in the U.S.,” he said. “Some of the toughest pro, collegiate and high school talents were there.”

Several WKU athletes fared well despite the competition.

Junior Ignacio Guerra continued his dominant streak in the javelin throw with another first-place finish, this time with a distance of 246 feet, 5 inches.

In the hammer throw, senior Laura Igaune had another strong showing with a throw of 208 feet, 5 inches, finishing in second place in the event.

Freshman David Mokone was also able to place in the 1500-meter run, finishing in third with a time of 3:47.49.

Jenkins said the teams have stepped up at the biggest stages this season, including this weekend and the competition in Florida earlier in the year.

“We’ve competed in two of the top five meets nationally, and we’ve performed well at both of them,” he said.

Assistant Coach Michelle Scott was with the distance squad at Butler, where the teams competed late into the night Saturday.

“It was a very long trip, but it was worth our while,” she said.

Senior Rachel Friedman competed in the five-kilometer run at Butler on Saturday and said the event wasn’t over until around 11:30 p.m., though the time of day didn’t hurt the squad.

“Most of us had pretty good times,” she said. “We did well for it being so late.”

The teams benefited from good running conditions. While the afternoon was windy, Scott and Friedman both described the weather later in the night as perfect for a meet.

With the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Championships looming on May 13, most members of the teams will have this weekend off. A small group will go to Indiana University for a meet, Jenkins said, as a tune-up for conference.

Friedman will join a few other teammates at the meet in Indiana next weekend to run in the 1500-meter run. She said the teams still have work to do before the conference championships.

“We’re all training a little harder coming into conference,” she said.

Jenkins said the teams are in a good position coming down the stretch.

“We’re getting things done now,” he said. “I’m excited about where we stand going into conference.”