By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, Ill. – Tennessee Tech opened the 2018 OVC Indoor Championships on Friday on a high note, collecting an individual title in the first event of the two-day conference meet.
Junior Khemani Roberts took the pentathlon title with a school-record 3,834 points, keeping the event title in Cookeville for another year. Roberts won the pentathlon's high jump with a school-record mark of 1.79m and the shot put at 11.42m to propel her to the title. Teammate Sharnique Leonce, the OVC pentathlon champion in 2017, came in fourth.
As a team, Tech sits in third place with 35 points following the first day of competition, just behind Tennessee State (40 points).
"We had a good day," said head coach Wayne Angel. "It wasn't exactly what we wanted, but it certainly wasn't a bad day. We had some peaks and valleys, but that's athletics. We had some athletes step up and others did not rise to the occasion. That's life.
"I'm very happy for Khemani. She set two records in the high jump and the pentathlon. She made us all proud."
Tech's distance medley relay squad of Stremler, Jackson, Anna Cooper and Rennick finished as the runner-up in the event, timing 12:01.12 and pulling in eight points.
Roberts also received a bronze medal for her third-place finish in the high jump.
Many of Tech's events on Friday served as prelims for Saturday's finals, which means Saturday could be a big scoring day for Tech. In all, the team qualified 10 Golden Eagles to five different finals.
Lisa Wickham, Cierra Tate and Na'Asha Robinson will each appear in the 60m dash finals; Robinson and Tate will also pull double-duty in the 200m dash finals; Robinson and D'Airrien Jackson will be the 1- and 2-seeds in the 400m dash; Micayla Rennick and Madison Stremler advance to the 800m dash finals; and Sharnique Leonce will represent Tech in the 60m hurdles finals.
"Tomorrow we have an opportunity to do something very special," said Angel. "Our ladies have to want it more than us coaches. We have a lot of qualifiers. We are in a good position to score a lot of points. If Tech is going to make their dream come true, they are going to have to want and fight for it."