WKU starts indoor track and field season, Heckman post third-fastest indoor female mile time in program history

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WKU Athletics

WKU women’s runners (left) senior Haley Webb, (middle) senior Savannah Heckman, and (right) freshman Rory O’Connor conditioning at Charles M. Ruter Track and Field Complex. 

Lynda Eernisse, Sports Reporter

Western Kentucky’s Track and Field team attended its first meet this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. The Commodore Classic, hosted by Vanderbilt University, took place on Saturday and Sunday. 

Senior Savannah Heckman earned a personal record mile time of 4:51.49, breaking her previous time by 19 seconds. Heckman’s accomplishment also earned her the third-fastest indoor female mile time in the program’s history. She also finished second in the event out of a total of 14 runners. 

“I think we had a mixed bag on results this weekend,” Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Brent Chumbley said in a press release. “We had some really good performances and some ‘first meet’ nerves. The biggest takeaway was the huge performance from Savannah.” 

Chumbley said Heckman will be “a more dominant force on the track” this year, and her best will come in the longer events. He could see her taking a few more stabs at the mile before the season’s end.

 “…She’ll be a more dominant force on the track, and today she showed a preview of that,” Chumbley said. “Her best performances will come in the longer events, but I could see her taking a few more stabs at the mile before the season is done.” 

As for the men, senior Dedrick Troxell placed fifth in the mile with a personal best time of 4:09.89. Another senior, Clint Sherman, placed tenth with 4:16.21.

Senior Steve Simmons had a great finish, winning the 300-meter sprint with a 35.07 time out of 15 runners. Right behind him was freshman Gabriel Dozier who placed fourth with a 35.72 time.

Sophomore Demetrius Rolle finished fourth in the 60-meter finals with a personal record time of 6.81.

In women’s sprinting, freshman Queen Couch also broke a personal record in the 60-meter race with a 7.70, but just barely missed the finals. 

For field events, senior Brett Brannon placed fifth in weight throw and sophomore Kaison Barton finished fourth in shot put. Senior John Elam added seventh-place finishes in both events. For the women, freshman Ajla Basic did the same in weight throw.

“Not as surprised with our top performances as I’ve seen the work they’ve been consistently doing.” Chumbley said. “However, I’m extremely proud of how the veterans ran today with three PRs coming from them. The freshmen got a taste of competing in a college meet and have a ways to go, but they’ll get there.”

Up next, the team will be heading back to Nashville next weekend for the Vanderbilt Invitational.

Sports reporter Lynda Eernisse can be reached at [email protected]