Category Archives: Track & Field

TRACK: Throwers earn weekly SBC honors

Senior Brian Soverns and sophomore Monte’ka Flowers were named Sun Belt Conference field performers of the week after posting a combined six wins at Austin Peay last weekend.

Each thrower won the hammer, discus, and shot put events.

Flowers’ hammer throw topped her all-time best mark by over 15 feet.

This is Soverns’ third weekly honor of the year. He was recognized twice during indoor season, and this is his first of the outdoor season.

-M. Blake Harrison


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TRACK: WKU officially kicks off outdoor season

Last weekend marked the first full-team competition of the outdoor season for Western as the athletes were split between the Alabama Relays and Stanford Invitational.

While most of the action took place in Alabama, junior distance runner Eimear O’Brien finished the 5K at Stanford with a personal best time, taking third place.

Junior Vasity Chemweno, a distance runner, headlined the weekend’s results with a first-place finish in the 1,500-meter race.

Though she did not win an individual event, senior Samantha Smith was part of the team that brought home a win in the shuttle hurdle relay race. She placed in other events, including the 4×100-meter relay and 100-meter hurdles.

Senior sprinter Gavin Smellie was the highest-placing male athlete of the weekend, as he took runner-up in the 100-meter dash.

The teams will split again next weekend, with athletes competing in the Florida Relays April 2-3 and the APSU Governers Invitational on April 3.

-M. Blake Harrison

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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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Jesang finishes 13th at NCAA Championship

Western’s only female to earn All-American honors in each track discipline (cross country, indoor and outdoor track), senior distance runner Janet Jesang wrapped up her indoor season with a 13th-place finish in Saturday’s 3,000-meter race at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Jesang was seeded ninth before the race. She added 13th place in the 3,000 meters to a 12th-place finish in Friday’s 5,000-meter run.

Look for a full recap of Jesang’s runs at the championships in Friday’s Herald.

-M. Blake Harrison

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TRACK: Jesang competing in NCAA Championships

Senior distance runner Janet Jesang competed in the 5,000-meter race in Friday night’s NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by the University of Arkansas.

She finished in 12th place.

Jesang entered the weekend ranked No. 13 on the national descending order list in the event, according to

Head Coach Erik Jenkins credited women’s distance coach Michelle Murphy Scott with preparing the four-time All-American.

“Janet has been in these situations, so she’s familiar with them,” Jenkins said. “She did a really good job of going out and competing at an extremely high level.”

Jesang, who is competing in the sixth national championship of her career, was not available to comment.

She is slated to run in the 3K tonight at 8:10 p.m. as the ninth seed.

-M. Blake Harrison

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TRACK & FIELD: Men, women lead Sun Belt Championship day one

As day one of the Sun Belt Indoor Track and Field Championships ended, both Western’s men’s and women’s teams stood atop the overall team rankings.

The women, who are looking for their fifth consecutive indoor conference title and 13th track and field conference title overall, hold an 11.3-point margin over MTSU — the host of this year’s event.

The men finished Saturday with the lead as well, besting UL-Lafayette by three points.

If both teams are able to hold on to capture first place, it will mark the first time they have won a conference championship in conjunction with one another since the 2008 Outdoor Championships.

To this point, the women’s distance medley relay team stands out among the rest, having set a Western record time.

“Those young ladies ran very well and were able to get some very positive things going,” Head Coach Erik Jenkins said.

Senior distance runner Janet Jesang, who ran the anchor leg of that event, also took first place in the 3,000-meter race.

Taking top honors in the shot put was Brian Soverns, a senior thrower who has taken first place in both the weight throw and shot put at various events throughout the season.

Jenkins said Western has at least one representative in every sprint race final on schedule for tomorrow.

“That’s something we’re very proud of,” he said.

Events will begin at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Charles M. Murphy Athletic Center in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The women’s mile and 5,000-meter races, as well as the 4×400-meter relay for both the men and women, highlight Sunday’s schedule. Check for a recap of events later in the evening.

-M. Blake Harrison

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Q&A with track coach Erik Jenkins

With his athletes in the final stages of preparation for this weekend’s Sun Belt Indoor Track and Field Championships, I spoke with Head Coach Erik Jenkins today after team workouts.

Jenkins said that this year’s Conference meet, which will be held at Middle Tennessee State University this Saturday and Sunday, is shaping up to be one of the best he’s seen in recent years. Jenkins added that he is hoping that more athletes qualify for nationals, but said he will likely send several to compete in the NCAA Last Chance Qualifier at Iowa State University anyway.

When asked about the men’s 4×400-meter relay team, he said the makeup of the foursome has yet to be decided. Western has won that specific relay three separate times this indoor season.

More of what Jenkins had to say:

M. Blake Harrison: What have both the men and women been doing to prepare for Conference?

Erik Jenkins: Trying to stay mentally sharp and stay healthy — that’s it. All the work has been done at this point, and all you can do is get to the meet … excel in every event you compete in, and make sure you are taking care of business and having a good time while you’re doing it in a very respectful manner.

MBH: At what level do you expect top performers like Janet Jesang and Brian Soverns to compete this weekend?

EJ: Obviously, Janet and Brian have done very well in their respective events. We’ve had a lot of individuals who have done well. Anybody in the meet has the capability of going out and scoring points and helping the team. In a team championship, I don’t care how good one person is — one person can’t win a team championship. We expect everybody to give a quality effort in a very, very tough environment.

MBH: What goes into piecing a relay team together?

EJ: We put the people on the relay teams who are running well and who are compatible at that moment. You can have four fast people, but if they don’t understand what’s going on and they can’t communicate — they have to take care of the small things such as handoffs and navigating traffic — then you make a decision to maybe go with someone else.

Jenkins made it clear that to him, as well as the athletes, anything short of their best effort would be considered a failure.

“We have an expectation to go in and be very successful and represent the university very well and be one of the top finishers, if not the top finisher,” he said.

Check for a full recap of this weekend’s meet.

-M. Blake Harrison

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