Track teams finish final prep for indoor championships

Lucas Aulbach

For the final full meets of the indoor season, the WKU track and field teams were split three ways to focus on specific events before the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Indoor Championships.

The teams were all over the country last weekend, with a small group going to the University of Washington and the larger majority split between competitions at Grand Valley State University in Michigan and Middle Tennessee. 

About 20 combined athletes were in Michigan and Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Head Coach Erik Jenkins said this past weekend was the last time the whole team will be in competition before the conference championships, which take place Feb. 27-28 in Jonesboro, Ark. 

A small group from WKU will have limited entries in a meet at Purdue this weekend.

Assistant Coach Michelle Scott was with a group of distance runners in Washington this weekend and described their meet as “very competitive.”

The teams left Bowling Green on Thursday, competed Friday in Washington and came back on Saturday.  Scott said several of the runners turned in great performances despite challenges like fatigue and the two-hour time change.

Jenkins was with the team in Michigan, which consisted of a majority of the throwers, sprinters and jumpers, and said he was pleased with what he saw.

“It was a good meet from top to bottom,” he said, citing the high points as big improvements in the throws and senior Vasity Chemweno’s 800-meter run.

Chemweno set a new WKU record in the 800 meters with a clocked time of 2:08.34.

“(Chemweno) followed the 800 with a very good mile run,” Jenkins said.  “I’m very happy with her.”

Junior Sharika Smith also won the open long jump in Michigan, while senior Toms Andersons took first in the open high jump.

Sophomore Landon Taylor, a distance runner, was in Murfreesboro for the weekend and said the teams performed well.

“It was a good meet,” he said.  “Several people ran new (personal records).”

Freshman David Mokone claimed wins in both the mile and 3,000-meter runs at MTSU, and sophomore Evan Pitt won the pole vault.

Jenkins said he was optimistic about the teams’ performances this weekend and the future of the team, with the Sun Belt championship looming ahead.

“Across the board, we got a lot of things done,” he said.  “I feel the team is moving in the right direction.”

Taylor said the coming weeks are an important time for “fine-tuning.”

Scott agreed, saying the teams now have to rest and prepare.

“The goal now is to stay fresh and get our legs ready for conference,” she said.

Jenkins also stressed the importance of staying healthy.  Several athletes are currently recovering from the flu, which kept many members out of competition last weekend, though Jenkins said most are over it at this point.

“In the championship, we need to be as healthy as possible, both mentally and physically,” he said.