Track teams break two school records over weekend

Lucas Aulbach

The track and field teams benefited from several record-setting performances during competition this weekend, with the teams splitting for two meets.

Sophomore Karlis Daube and junior Sharika Smith both set new WKU records at the Rod McCravy Invitational in Lexington, and several distance runners got the chance to compete at Indiana University in a 5,000-meter run, an event rarely offered in the regular season.

Sophomore Madison Hale, who was in Indiana, described the teams’ performances as “pretty good.”

“Our goal was to run it in under 18 minutes, 30 seconds, and two of us were able to do it,” she said. 

The 5k run was the only event runners in Indiana competed in.

Assistant Coach Michelle Scott, who coached the distance runners at Indiana, agreed that the meet went well.

“We did what we needed to do and accomplished what we were supposed to,” she said. 

Scott said that with this meet behind them, the teams can now focus on upcoming 3,000-meter and mile runs.

In Lexington, standout performances highlighted what Head Coach Erik Jenkins called a “very productive meet.”

“It’s good seeing this young team continuing to improve,” he said.

Smith continued her dominating year with another first-place performance, breaking the school record she set earlier this season in the long jump. 

Smith’s winning leap went 20 feet, 7 inches, which currently ranks third in the country.

She also clocked the second-fastest time in school history in the 60-meter hurdles.

Jenkins said he was pleased with Smith’s efforts and noted that she isn’t the only one performing at such a level.

Daube finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles, breaking a WKU record that had stood for 27 years.

“Many of our members are moving towards the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Jenkins said.

The meet in Lexington showcased many schools from the Sun Belt, and Jenkins said he believes WKU’s teams gained something just by watching them in action.

“There are a lot of very good, young teams in the Sun Belt, and we got to see them before the championship,” he said. 

The Sun Belt Conference Indoor Championships will take place at the end of February.

Next weekend, the teams will be in action against Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and after that the teams will split up and go to separate meets.

Hale said the teams won’t have the chance to slow down any time soon.

“We’re going to keep training and improving like we have been,” she said.

Jenkins said that while the teams are improving, there is still a lot of work to be done in the next three weeks.

“Every meet presents a different set of challenges,” he said. “There are still a lot of things we’ve got to work for.”