Standout performances from Sanga, Smith net weekly OVC honors for TTU track and field

Standout performances from Sanga, Smith net weekly OVC honors for TTU track and field

By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech track and field team has generated some early momentum in its quest to defend as indoor champions of the Ohio Valley Conference, as two athletes were recognized by the league office on Wednesday morning for their performances at the Kentucky Jim Green Invitational last weekend.

Purity Sanga and Raven Smith were named Female Track Athlete of the Week and Co-Female Field Athlete of the Week, respectively.

Sanga produced TTU's top highlight in Lexington, placing third out of 58 runners in the 3,000 meters.

Her career-best time of 9-minutes, 44.39-seconds is currently ranked 26th in NCAA Division I, making it the highest-ranked performance of any OVC athlete in a track event last weekend. It is also the best 3,000-meter mark in the OVC this season by almost 15 seconds.

It was the fourth career top-five finish in the 3,000 for the Kapsabet, Kenya native, who fared better than representatives from Kentucky, Ohio State, Xavier, and Mid-American Conference powerhouse Akron, among others in the race.

It's the first Track Athlete of the Week award of Sanga's career, and the first indoor award for the program since D'Airrien Jackson won on Feb. 14, 2018.  

Sanga also won five OVC Female Runner of the Week awards during the cross country season – one after each regular-season meet. This distinction for track and field extends her streak of weekly league awards to six in a row.  

Raven Smith also took home a top-10 finish from the Jim Green, coming in seventh place out of 20 competitors in the triple jump.

Smith's mark of 11.80 meters (38 ft., 8.75 in.) is the best in the OVC so far this season, and was a major improvement on her series-best from the Vanderbilt Indoor Opener in December (11.13m, 36-6.25).

It was the fourth-best indoor triple jump attempt of the Atlanta native's career, and the seventh-place finish gives her a total of eight top-10 results in the event.

This is Smith's first weekly award from the OVC, one she shares with Savannah Amato, a pole vaulter from Austin Peay.

Tech's last Field Athlete of the Week recipient for the indoor season was Khemani Roberts, who was honored on Jan. 31, 2018.