Bad weather doesn’t spoil WKU’s weekend

Lucas Aulbach

The weather in Illinois may have offset the plans of most of the WKU track and field teams last weekend, but a last-second move that put some of the team in competition salvaged the day and even helped break a record in another country.

 Last weekend, the teams were scheduled to compete in a meet at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.  However, poor weather conditions caused the meet to be canceled early Friday morning.

“When the meet was canceled, we started looking for meets in the area that could let us compete that late,” Head Coach Erik Jenkins said.  “Vanderbilt was gracious enough to let us in.”

While only the throwers were able to compete at Vanderbilt, they made the most out of the visit.

Senior Laura Igaune, a transfer from Latvia competing in the hammer throw, had a throw of 200 feet 11 inches, which set a new WKU and Latvian national record.

The record-setting toss didn’t impress Igaune.

“It’s not a big deal,” she said. “I broke my own record. I didn’t do some amazing job.”

The throw earned praise from Jenkins, though.

“Laura’s throw was a personal best, and it was a part of a very good opening weekend,” he said.

Jenkins said he thinks the off-weekend for the rest of the team should help them in preparing for this weekend, which will be the first time the whole team is in action this outdoor season.

“I think the time gave our kids an opportunity to continue to mentally prepare,” he said. “It gets us in an ‘I’m ready to get it going’ mentality.”

Junior Sharika Smith had a different outlook on the lost weekend. She said the team missed out on a valuable opportunity to prepare for the 4×1 relay, an event exclusive to the outdoor season.

“People needed the meet to see what the 4×1 is like,” she said.  “Now we’re coming into a bigger meet without that experience.”

The track and field squads will be splitting up to perform at separate meets this weekend. Sprinters will join a few jumpers and throwers at a meet in Gainesville, Fla., and the rest of the teams will be competing in Clarksville, Tenn.

Jenkins said the teams will be up against some tough competition this weekend, especially in Gainesville, where there will be several teams ranked in the top 10, including Florida, the defending national champions.

“All these schools compete at an extremely high level,” he said.

Smith, who will be in Gainesville this weekend, said the weather has affected the teams in their training for the meet.

“We can’t run how we want to when we’re running in the cold,” she said. “We’re ready to put the work in this weekend, though.”