Teams prepare to host Hilltopper Relays

Lucas Aulbach

The WKU track and field teams won’t have to travel this weekend, but Head Coach Erik Jenkins said the season’s first and only home meet doesn’t give anyone an excuse to slack off.

WKU hosts its annual meet, the Hilltopper Relays, on Saturday.

“Even though we’re home this week, we still have to do all of our pre-meet business, and that includes eating right and getting enough sleep,” Jenkins said.

The meet takes place at the Ruter Track and Field Complex, which is located next to Houchens-Smith Stadium on the other side of University Boulevard.

The facility was built in 2008 at the same time as the football stadium’s most recent renovations.

But Assistant Coach Craig Morehead said the proximity to campus likely won’t bring out a crowd to watch the event, and he noted that the home event is still just one of many that makes up an outdoor season.

“This is going to be just another Plain-Jane meet,” he said.

The throwers will start the meet on Saturday at 9 a.m., with the runners beginning at noon. Jenkins said there isn’t a set closing time, but the meet will probably end somewhere between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. 

The event will feature several regional teams, including Murray State, Tennessee-Chattanooga and others from the area. Jenkins said many of the teams are very good and should pose a challenge to WKU.

The loss of senior Vasity Chemweno won’t help the team, either. Chemweno will be out this week with an injury, though she said she hopes to be able to return in time to compete next week.

“Coach told me that a lot of it depends on how I feel later this week,” she said.

Assistant Coach Michelle Scott, who coaches Chemweno, said she hoped the senior would be able to compete, but the loss could have come at a worse time.

“It doesn’t hurt us too much this week, even though we were hoping to have her for sort of a home showcase,” Scott said.

Scott said Chemweno’s injury is a bruised quadricep and, like Chemweno, placed emphasis on her being able to return for her next scheduled competition.

“We’re just hoping she’ll be able to come to California to compete with us next weekend,” Scott said.

Jenkins said one of the biggest advantages of holding a home meet is not having to travel.

“Being able to stay here helps,” he said. “However, when we travel, we try to travel in a manner that doesn’t hurt.”

Scott said the home meet would definitely count in the teams’ favor on Saturday.

“It helps being able to sleep in your own bed and go to a track you know,” she said.

She said while the meet is not one of the biggest on the schedule, it serves as an important point in the season.

“It should be interesting, and it will definitely be competitive,” Scott said.