Kipchirchir’s win highlights weekend at split meets

Lucas Aulbach

The WKU track and field teams split up and performed at two meets on separate sides of the country this past weekend.

Most members of the teams competed in a meet at the University of Tennessee.

A small group of distance runners took a trip to California on Wednesday to take part in a competition there. They returned Saturday afternoon.

Good performances were put up in both meets.

Sophomore distance runner Shadrack Kipchirchir took first place in the 10,000-meter run in California with a time of 29:35.73, and senior thrower Laura Igaune broke her own WKU and Latvian national records in the hammer throw at Tennessee Thursday with a throw of 207 feet, 2 inches.

Igaune also moved into second place at WKU in the women’s discus with a toss of 167 feet, 10 inches.

“Laura broke her own records and was really able to solidify her position in the national rankings,” Head Coach Erik Jenkins said.

In California, senior Rachel Friedman was able to set personal records in the steeplechase and 1,500-meter run. Her time of 11:08.16 in the steeplechase moved her into fourth all-time in the event at WKU.

“I think as a group, we all took a little extra time to prepare for this meet in particular,” Friedman said.

Assistant Coach Michelle Scott was also with the team in California and said the athletes had a good time and ran well.

“(Junior) Michelle Finn’s run in the steeple was the second-fastest time ever recorded for WKU,” she said.

Finn’s performance in the steeplechase was clocked at 10:51.43.

Freshman David Mokone also set the third-best time in WKU history in the 1,500-meter run.

Jenkins, who was with the majority of the team in Tennessee, said he was pleased with how the teams did in California.

“It’s always good to see that many records fall in one meet,” he said.

The weather played different roles at the separate meets. Friedman called the weather in California “amazing,” with temperatures reaching the mid-80s most days.

The weather in Tennessee was not so great, however. The teams in attendance were forced to struggle with changing weather all day at the meet, including rain, cold temperatures and heavy wind.

“We had a mixed bag of tricks in Tennessee,” Jenkins said. “Any time you have intermittent weather conditions like that, it’s hard to get a lot of things accomplished.”

The teams will be split again next weekend. Most of the team will compete in a meet in Louisville, while some distance runners will go to Vanderbilt, where the five-kilometer run is offered.

“We wanted to run a 5k, and Louisville is just more suited for the steeple,” Scott said.

Friedman said that she and her teammates will enjoy resting before this weekend.

“After these past two meets, I think we’re going to get some good recovery in this week,” she said.