By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – There's no question that the Tennessee Tech women's track and field program is on the rise, but the evidence is starting to mount as the Golden Eagles opened up practice on Tuesday with its first-ever Top 15 in the South Region indoor ranking by the USTFCCCA.
The Golden Eagles placed 11th in the list, flanked by an impressive roster of schools. Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Florida State, Middle Tennessee and Georgia Tech were in the top 10, followed by Tennessee Tech in 11th, with Miami, Auburn, Memphis and North Florida rounding out the first regional indoor poll of the season.
D'Airrien Jackson and Na'Asha Robinson have the top two times in the 400m on the USTFCCCA South region charts at 53.57 and 53.59 respectively, while Micayla Rennick is fifth in the mile run (4:48.99), and Rennick (17:12.98) and Purity Sanga (17:29.53) are third and fifth in the 5K.
"This is exciting for our program," said Tech head coach Wayne Angel. "To earn such a high ranking at this point of the year is a testament to how hard our student-athletes have been working and it's just the beginning of the season. It's a distinction and an honor, but we know that we're only just getting started."
And it's hard not to see why when you look at national results, provided by the Track and Field Results Reporting System. In the 400m, Jackson and Robinson have the sixth and seventh best times in the event nationally. In the mile and 5K races, Rennick is 47th nationally, while the 4x400 relay team is ranked 41st nationally (3:43.43), but is 28th after factoring out duplicate teams from other schools.
Comparing Tech's results to the rest of the Ohio Valley Conference and there's no question the Golden Eagles are starting to set their sights on the OVC Indoor Championship next month at Charleston, Ill.
Currently among OVC competitors, Lisa Wickham (7.57) and Ceirra Tate (7.62) are first and third in the 60m, with Robinson in eighth at 7.74 and Sharnique Leonce in 18th at 7.90. Tech has four of the top five finishes in 200m and six of the top seven with Robinson (24.36) in first, Jackson (24.83) in third, Khemani Roberts (25.01) in fourth, Tate (25.11) in fifth, Leonce (25.43) in seventh and Wickham (25.61) in 13th.
In the 400m, Jackson is the top of the chart with a 53.57 mark, closely followed by Robinson at 53.59 in second. Tate is eighth at 57.96 and Roberts in 12th at 58.44. Rennick leads the 800m with a 2:14.65 time, while Madison Stremler is fourth with a 2:17.97. Rennick also has the conference's best finish in the mile so far this season, with Sanga in eighth with a 5:09.79.
Sanga is also 5th in the 3000m, posting a time of 10:04.41. Rennick and Sanga are third and fourth in the 5K, recording a 17:12.98 and a 17:29.53 respectively.
In the 60m hurdles, Leonce is third with a time of 8.71, while Roberts is 12th with a 9.17 finish. Tech's 4x400m team also has the top finish so far in the conference with a 3:43.43 time.
In the high jump, Roberts is third at 1.70m or 5' 7", NaScottisha Drummond is fourth at 1.65m or 5' 5" and Leonce is 13th at 1.58m or 5' 2.25". In the long jump, Roberts is eighth with a distance of 5.50m (18' 0.5"), followed by Raven Smith at 5.20m (17' 0.75"). Smith is also sixth in the triple jump with a distance of 11.64m (38' 2.25"). Roberts is 17th in the shot put with a throw of 11.50m (37' 8.75").
The Golden Eagles return to action this weekend as they compete at the Fred Wilt Open, hosted by Purdue in West Lafayette, ind. Tech competes on Friday and Saturday as it tries to improve on its marks.
Photos by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information