BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Track & Field saw major personal bests across the board in its final weekend of the regular season, with most of the team competing at the Samford Bulldog Invite at the Birmingham Crossplex on Friday. A select few distance runners also competed on Friday and Saturday at Vanderbilt’s Music City Challenge as Savannah Heckman ran the fifth-fastest indoor 5k time in school history at the exclusive meet.
Across the board, WKU had eight top-five finishes including two event titles. Ajla Basic won the women’s weight throw with a PR of 17.78m (58′ 4″) while Kaison Barton recorded an indoor shot put PR of 16.78m (55′ 0.75″) to win the event.
“The meet went very well for the throwers and a few other athletes,” said Director of Cross County/Track & Field Brent Chumbley. “Almost all throwers had PRs today, with the biggest being Brett (Brannon) finally breaking the 18-meter barrier in the weight. Kaison had a good indoor PR in the shotput to win that event, and Ajla won the women’s weight throw with a PR as well. We competed very well as a group and got stronger during the competition.”
Brannon’s 18-meter-plus throw in the weight throw was good for a second while John Elam placed second in shot put and fifth in weight throw, with a PR in the latter.
In pole vault, Grace Turner finished second after clearing 3.66 meters while Devon Montgomery finished fourth in the men’s event with a mark of 4.52 meters.
On the running side of the Bulldog Invite, mid-distance runner Elyssa Tool logged a personal best time of 2:21.22 in the 800-meter race and finished 16th. Zackery Martinez also improved his PR by nearly a second in the 400 to 50.32. Trey Kraimer and Collin Pruitt also shaved off time on their PRs in the 800 and mile, respectively.
“Grace and Devon jumped very well today even if the results show an average day,” added Chumbley. “On the track, I think we had two big standout performances. Both Zack and Elyssa had major PRs in their events and have been improving throughout the season. Everyone is looking to carry this momentum into the next weekend. I’m very excited about the throws and jumps group headed into conference.”
At Vanderbilt’s Music City Challenge, Dedrick Troxell Posted the fifth-fastest mile in the conference at 4:08.89, a new personal best for the runner. Clint Sherman also posted a PR in the event at 4:14.47. He turned around to compete again Saturday morning and recorded another PR in the 3k.
Heckman’s 5k time of 16:45.61 is not only a new personal best by 19 seconds and the fifth-fastest time in program history but is the fastest by any C-USA female this season by 48 seconds.
“Coming to the Music City Challenge serves as a pivotal moment for WKU’s distance group as this isn’t a meet we’ve been able to qualify athletes for in the past,” said assistant coach Brooks LeCompte. “I’m proud of these young men and women for buying in and staying committed because their hard work is paying off. Clint and Dedrick kicked it off with mile PRs while having the best closing 400 meters they’ve had all season which should have them ready for C-USAs. Savannah then ran the fifth-fastest 5k in school history with a 19-second PR and a great finish in a highly competitive field. Clint came back for another race less than 24 hours later with a 3k PR in the morning session.”
WKU Track & Field now has a week of preparation before wrapping up the team indoor season at the Conference USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham on Saturday and Sunday.
28th – Dedrick Troxell – 4:08.89*
49th – Clint Sherman – 4:14.47*
42nd – Lucy Rutherford – 10:37.52
20th – Clint Sherman – 8:27.26*
16th – Savannah Heckman 16:45.61* – fifth-fastest indoor women’s 5k in program history
Samford Women’s Results
9th – Ines Lopez Arias – 11.54m (37′ 10.5″)
1st – Ajla Basic – 17.78m (58′ 4″)*
3rd – Aitana Safont Falomir – 17.40m (57′ 1″)*
6th – Ines Lopez Arias – 15.76m (51′ 8.5″)
2nd – Grace Turner – 3.66m (12’)
11th – Nikki Ogorek – 3.21m (10′ 6.25″)
Allison Ferguson – NH
Heather Gaughran – NH
6th – Samyzia Sears – 5.49m (18′ 0.25″)
7th – Allison Arnett – 1.58m (5′ 2.25″)
Samyzia Sears – DNF
16th – Elyssa Tool – 2:21.22*
27th – Madeline Powell – 2:30.54
Abigail Green – DNF
22nd – Jenna Vaughn – 5:29.24
Samford Men’s Results
1st – Kaison Barton – 16.78m (55′ 0.75″)
2nd – John Elam – 15.57m (51′ 1″)
2nd – Brett Brannon – 18.07m (59′ 3.5″)*
5th – John Elam – 16.63m (54′ 6.75″)*
6th – Kaison Barton – 16.50m (54′ 1.75″)*
8th – Joel Dittoe – 15.73m (51′ 7.25″)
4th – Devon Montgomery – 4.52m (14′ 10″)
30th – Steven Simmons – 7.17
33rd – Gabriel Dozier – 7.22
10th – Cedric Johnson – 8.58
10th – Gabriel Dozier – 22.12
24th – Steven Simmons – 22.97
11th – Zackery Martinez – 50.32*
16th – Trey Kraimer – 1:57.45*
18th – Jordan Eddy – 1:59.36
20th – Keegan Barnette – 4:30.96
22nd – Collin Pruitt – 4:33.68*