TRACK: Throwers, Smellie open outdoor season with wins

Saturday marked the beginning of the outdoor season for the track and field teams as they competed in the Austin Peay Spring Fling.

Because the throwers had not competed since the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, throwing coach Craig Morehead said the staff felt it was necessary for them to participate in the first weekend of outdoor season.

Senior sprinter Gavin Smellie was the only track athlete that joined the throwers, taking first place in the 400-meter dash. He ran just twice during indoor season.

“I don’t want to say it was easy for Gavin, but the race didn’t go out real fast, so it was good for him to go out and just be able to control race pace from the blocks and not have to push himself too hard,” Morehead said.

On the women’s side, sophomore thrower Monte’ka Flowers finished first in the discus and shot put to go along with sophomore thrower Adesola Adeduro’s top mark in the hammer throw.

Brian Soverns, a senior thrower who was named men’s Most Outstanding Field Performer at the indoor conference championships, finished first in both the hammer and discus.

“I got a decent season-opening mark, nothing special — just trying to build into late in the season when the meets really matter for the team and that kind of thing,” Soverns said.

Morehead said he hopes Soverns will capitalize on his opportunities to succeed early in the season.

“Brian is first and foremost a hammer thrower, so he’s going to transition pretty well from the weight to the hammer,” he said. “He’s one of those people who tends to throw well early in the season and late in the season. It’s a peaks and valleys type of thing and we’re just trying to take advantage of the peaks … because we know we’re going to fall off a little bit before we come back up.”

Western will send athletes to the Alabama Relays and Stanford Invitational next weekend in the Toppers’ first full-team competition of the outdoor season.

M. Blake Harrison

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