Tech track & field announces annual team award recipients

Tech track & field announces annual team award recipients

By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech track & field team celebrated its outstanding 2017-18 season at its annual awards banquet on Monday night, announcing its award recipients from the past athletic year.

The Golden Eagles doubled up the indoor and outdoor Ohio Valley Conference team titles, winning both for the first time in school history and becoming the seventh OVC team to win both conference titles in a single season.

Tech combined for 15 event titles and five OVC championship meet records across indoors and outdoors.

Academic Award – Anna Cooper
This past academic year, Anna Cooper earned a perfect 4.0 GPA in her major of Human Ecology with a concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics. She was named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll after the fall 2017 semester. Cooper graduated from Tennessee Tech on May 4 and will enter graduate school at East Tennessee State this fall, studying clinical nutrition.
Most Improved Award – Lisa Wickham & D'Airrien Jackson
Sophomore Lisa Wickham and junior D'Airrien Jackson both took their sprinting to another level in 2018. At the OVC indoor meet, Wickham won the 60m dash title with an OVC meet and school-record time of 7.41. She had finished fifth in the same event in 2017. She took second in the 100m dash at outdoors and helped Tech set an OVC meet and school record in the winning 4x100m relay at 45 seconds flat.
Jackson won her second career OVC individual outdoor championship when she took first in the 400m hurdles this past weekend. After adding the event just this season, she set the school record at 59.37 in the event prelims. Jackson also added silver medals in the indoor distance medley relay and the indoor and outdoor 400m dashes, as well as gold in the school-record indoor 4x400m relay, outdoor 4x100m relay and outdoor 4x400m relay.
Outstanding Newcomer Award – Khemani Roberts
As a transfer from Coppin State in Baltimore, Khemani Roberts wasted no time in rewriting Tech's records in field events. In just her first appearance in the event as a Golden Eagle, Roberts broke the program's long jump record in Tech's third meet of the season at the Commodore Invitational (that record was later broken by Sharnique Leonce).
She won the OVC pentathlon title at the conference indoor meet, as well as the 4x400m relay, and claimed bronze in the high jump. At outdoors, she helped set a new OVC meet and school record as the anchor leg in the winning 4x400m relay. Roberts also took the runner-up spot in the heptathlon and won another bronze medal in the high jump.
Roberts now holds the indoor pentathlon, high jump and 4x400m relay school records, as well as the outdoor heptathlon, long jump, high jump and 4x400m relay records. The outdoor 4x400m relay time also stands as an OVC meet record.
Most Inspirational Award & Most Valuable Award – Micayla Rennick
After a 2017 cross country season in which she struggled to stay healthy, Micayla Rennick tore up the track in her final collegiate season. Rennick swept the indoor and outdoor Female Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championship awards after combining for five individual OVC titles between the two seasons. She was also the runner-up in the outdoor 800m run and 5k and helped Tech to a second-place finish in the distance medley relay at the indoor meet. Individually, Rennick accounted for 30 points at the OVC indoor meet and 36 at the outdoor meet.
In 2018, Rennick set school records in the indoor mile, indoor 3000m run, outdoor 1500m run, outdoor 5000m run and outdoor 10k. Her mile time of 4:48.11 at OVC indoors marked a new OVC championship meet record.
Most Dedicated Award – Eshe Robinson
One of Tech's multi-athletes, Eshe Robinson ended her junior year with one of the best meets of her career at the OVC Outdoor Championship. Robinson placed ninth in the heptathlon with a career-best 4,115 points and also put up a personal record in the event's javelin, 800m run and 200m dash, as well as the long jump later that day.
Outstanding Freshman Award – Purity Sanga & Ceirra Tate
Purity Sanga continued her outstanding cross country debut into her first track & field season as one of Tech's distance runners. She finished just off the podium in each of her events during both indoors and outdoors, placing fourth in the indoor and outdoor 5000m and fifth in the indoor 3000m and outdoor 1500m and 10k. Sanga set the school record in the indoor 5k with a time of 17:02.18.
Ceirra Tate handled the other end of the spectrum in track events, taking bronze in the indoor and outdoor 200m dash. She is also a two-time OVC champion in the 4x400m relay and holds the event's indoor and outdoor school record (the outdoor 4x400m relay also marks an OVC championship record). Tate also helped win the outdoor 4x100m relay with an OVC championship and school record time of 45.00 and finished fourth in the 100m dash, as well as fifth in the indoor 60m dash.
Most Prestigious Award – Na'Asha Robinson
Na'Asha Robinson became a 15-time OVC champion with seven conference titles between her indoor and outdoor track seasons. The junior successfully defended each of her previous wins in the indoor and outdoor 200m dash and 400m dash, indoor 4x400m relay and outdoor 4x100m relay and also contributed to Tech's first-ever title in the outdoor 4x400m relay. This past season, Robinson set indoor school records in the 200m dash and 4x400m relay and outdoor records in the 200m dash, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay. Both outdoor relays are new OVC championship meet records.
Raven Smith, Sharnique Leonce and Rennick were also recognized for their captainships this past season, while Courtney McCowan, Shaylee Ellingson and Keyanna Word received their first collegiate letters.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information