TRACK & FIELD: Back on the Hill

John Hurley

Maybe Western should host more track and field meets; the men’s and women’s squads both cleaned up, collecting a total of nine individual titles, including a new school record, at the National City Track and Field Invitational.

“I was satisfied running at home with all the advantages that apply,” coach Curtiss Long said.

With home track advantage on its side, the men’s 400 relay team made up of seniors Brad Eickhoff and Jeremy Chandler, junior Jonathon Brown and sophomore Dennis Mitchell qualified for the NCAA Mideast regional championship and set a new school record with a time of 40.37 seconds.

“We defended our territory,” Eickhoff said.

Long said he was excited by how well that relay team perfomed.

“Eickhoff and Mitchell had great days,” Long said.

Mitchell’s day was not only great but also long. Mitchell, a cornerback on Western’s football team, played in a scrimmage from 8 to 10 a.m. that morning before competing in the track and field meet.

“Mitchell was energetic and felt good before the meet,” Eickhoff said.

The men’s relay foursome weren’t the only Hilltoppers to perform well on the track. The women’s relay team, led by sophomore Lady Topper point guard Tiffany Porter-Talbert, also won the 400 with a time of 46.71.

Junior Raigo Toompuu set a personal best by improving his NCAA-qualifying mark to 179-feet-3-inches in the discus.

“I wasn’t expecting to do it, but since the wind was so good I was able to,” Toompuu said. “I was excited.”

Freshman Courtney Wood and senior Matt McClure also set personal best standards.

Long said he felt as if his teams were a little more motivated to win at home.

“We performed exceptionally well because we wanted to,” Long said.

Despite the nine individual titles, Western did not dominate the entire field.

“Everyone ran well, but Cincinnati was the strongest overall,” Long said.

Cincinnati qualified five people for the NCAA mideast regional championships and defeated Western in both men and women’s competition.

“Cincinnati controlled both men’s and women’s events,” Long said.

Reach John Hurley at [email protected]