Roberts’ high jump performance paces Tech at Black and Gold Invitational

Roberts’ high jump performance paces Tech at Black and Gold Invitational

By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Khemani Roberts was the top performer on Saturday for Tennessee Tech track and field, notching a third-place high jump finish, as the Golden Eagles wrapped up their first meet of the 2019 outdoor season at the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational.

Roberts elevated over the bar at 1.71 meters (5 feet, 7 1/4 inches) to place third out of 19 athletes, finishing behind only Carly Hinkle and Ellen Ekholm of Kentucky, the No. 7-ranked team in the country according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association. Hinkle won the event, passing over 1.81 meters on her second attempt.

The effort was Roberts' fourth best in her outdoor career at Tech, and was just two and a half inches shy of her personal record. It also marked her fourth career top-five finish in the event while out in the elements.

Roberts competed in the 100-meter hurdles as well, taking 17th place overall with a time of 14.91 seconds.

Raven Smith finished 10th among 20 entrants in the long jump, leaping 5.47 meters (18-0). It was her fourth-best outdoor distance, and was a considerable improvement on her first attempt outside to begin last season (4.88m).

Na'Scottisha Drummond joined Smith in the long jump, recording a mark of 5.37 meters (17-7 1/2), which was not far off her PR of 5.53 (18-1 3/4 ).

Sophomore Ceirra Tate was Tech's top finisher in the 400 meters, clocking a time of 57.52 seconds.

While Tate is a fixture on the 4x400-meter relay team, her attempt at the Black and Gold was just her second in the standalone 400. Her time was an improvement of more than four tenths of a second on her only previous jaunt (57.96).

Jordan Toney and Teauna Anderson were also entered in the 400m competition, and ran times of 1-minute, 2.49-seconds and 1:03.46, respectively.  Toney's mark narrowly missed her all-time best of 1:02.20.

Alexa Brugere led TTU in the 800 meters, and completed the race in 2:19.86 while running outdoors for the first time as a collegian. That mark is the new No. 2 on Brugere's personal leaderboard, and is second only to her 2:18.69 from the OVC Indoor Championships.

Vivien Chesire and Courtney McCowan were alongside Brugere, and finished in 2:33.60 and 2:34.43, respectively.

Tech also sent three runners to the starting line for the 100 meters, paced by Toney's mark of 13.02 seconds. Eshe' Robinson ran in the standalone race for the second time in her career and finished in 13.86.

A pair of freshmen, Janet Kwambai and Sharon Chepkemboi, competed in the 3,000 meters and produced times of 10:11.59 and 10:17.66, respectively.

Kwambai's time was a huge new personal best, as she cut nearly seven and a half seconds off her top mark from the indoor season (10:19.13).

Chepkemboi's was also a career best, reducing her split by just over three seconds (10:20.70).

Tech had relay teams in action on Saturday as well.

Its 4x100m relay team finished sixth of out 12 teams with a time of 47.83 seconds. Anderson, Tate, Roberts and Toney made up that squad, which featured three members running in the event for the first time (Anderson, Roberts, Toney).

Tech's top foursome finished seventh in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 4:05.24. That group was composed of Tate, Toney, Anderson and D'Airrien Jackson.

Tech will split its team up next weekend, with one delegation headed to Gainesville, Fla. for the Florida Relays, and the other bound for the North Carolina State Raleigh Relays. Both meets will take place on Friday and Saturday, March 29-30.

Photo by Michael Wade