Tech welcomes league teams to Cookeville for OVC Outdoor Track & Field Championship

Tech welcomes league teams to Cookeville for OVC Outdoor Track & Field Championship

By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech's outdoor track & field season has, so far, mirrored its indoor one earlier in the year.

Tech has consistently stayed atop the Ohio Valley Conference in its event times and marks, been ranked as high as 14th in the USTFCCCA South Region (a program-best and the highest regional ranking among OVC teams this season) and had a handful of Golden Eagles receive athlete of the week honors from the conference office.

But now, the team finds itself in a position it's unfamiliar with but thrilled to be in – looking to sweep both the indoor and outdoor OVC championships.

Better yet, on its home track in Cookeville.

Tennessee Tech hosts the OVC Outdoor Track & Field Championship from Thursday, May 10 through Saturday, May 12 at Tucker Stadium, welcoming eight men's and 11 women's programs to Cookeville. The championship is at Tech for the first time since 2010, giving the Golden Eagles a prime opportunity to clinch a conference title at home.

They're well-prepared to do it too, a year after finishing in third place at the 2017 championship. Tech leads the league in seven events (200m dash, 400m dash, 800m run, 5000m run, 10,000m run, 4x400m relay and heptathlon) and ranks second or third in five more (100m dash, 1500m run, 400m hurdles, 4x100m relay and high jump).

MEET INFO
OVC Digital Network streaming links: Thursday / throws | Friday / throws | Saturday / throws (throws will be streamed separately due to the events' location nearby Tech Softball Field)
 
Tech will look to its key players from the indoor title run back in February to replicate their successes this week.
 
Micayla Rennick, the Athlete of the Championship at the indoor meet following three wins in the 800m dash, mile run and 3000m run, leads the conference in the 800m run as well as the 5000m and 10,000m runs (the mile and 3000m run are not contested in outdoor track). She also sits at second in the 1500m run by less than .9 seconds.
 
Indoor pentathlon champion and member of the OVC-winning 4x400m relay, Khemani Roberts, is first in the OVC in the heptathlon and the 4x400m relay.
 
D'Airrien Jackson can be a point-scorer in the 200m and 400m dashes and the 400m hurdles, ranking among the top three OVC athletes in all three events. She also has a hand in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays – Tech will look to repeat as the 4x100m relay champion this week, currently ranking second in the conference.
 
Na'Asha Robinson has a handful of individual titles to defend, coming into the meet as a two-time champion in the 400m dash and winner of the 200m dash in 2017. She leads the conference in both events and also is third in the 100m dash. She'll play a role in both relays as well.
 
Ceirra Tate and Lisa Wickham will also serve as cogs for the relays in addition to both the 100m and 200m dashes, while Madison Stremler and Purity Sanga provide depth for distance. Raven Smith and Eshe Robinson will do the same for field events.
 
The Golden Eagles' times and scores from this weekend could also help in their journey to the NCAA East Preliminary, which will be held from May 24-26 on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.
 
MARKS RANKED ON THE NCAA DIVISION I EAST QUALIFYING LIST
Na'Asha Robinson – 19th, 400m dash, 53.04
Khemani Roberts – 23rd, high jump, 1.77m/5'9¾"
Micayla Rennick – 25th, 10,000m run, 34:25.22
D'Airrien Jackson – 34th, 400m dash, 53.62
Khemani Roberts – 34th, heptathlon, 5,353 points (nationally)
Micayla Rennick – 35th, 1500m run, 4:20.92
Na'Asha Robinson – 45th, 200m dash, 23.43
Purity Sanga – 46th, 10,000m run, 35:11.23
Micayla Rennick – 58th, 5000m run, 16:30.27
Raven Smith – 89th, triple jump, 12.14m/39'10"
Micayla Rennick – 92nd, 800m run, 2:09.37
 
NOTE: For each individual event contested at both the NCAA East and West Preliminaries, the top 48 declared student-athletes will be accepted into the competition, along with the top 24 declared relay teams. The heptathlon is not contested at the preliminaries, so the top 24 declared student-athletes in the heptathlon following the completion of all conference championships will be accepted into the national championships.
 
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Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information