By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Tennessee Tech track and field got back to business in a big way on Saturday at the Western Kentucky Hilltopper Relays, led by a school-record performance and two runner-up finishes from jumper/sprinter Khemani Roberts, and several other Golden Eagle marks that have assumed high ranks on the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Performance List.
"I was very pleased with our level of intensity today," said 2018-19 OVC Indoor Coach of the Year Wayne Angel. "We competed like we meant business, and we produced a school record, personal bests and conference-leading performances."
Roberts broke her own record in resetting the program's outdoor long jump standard, leaping 5.96 meters (19 feet, 6 3/4 inches) to place second out of 19 jumpers.
The effort catapults Roberts to the top of the OVC Outdoor Performance List and gives her a lead of more than six inches over the current No. 2. While results from the weekend are incomplete, Roberts has decent odds to end up ranked in the top 50 on the NCAA Division I East Outdoor Qualifying List.
The senior from Bon Accord, Trinidad and Tobago also shined on the track, taking her second runner-up of the day in the 200 meters with an all-time personal best, 24.52 seconds. That time slots Roberts in at No. 3 on the OVC list, and a mere .01 seconds behind Lakeia Hill of Tennessee State at No. 2 (24.51).
"Khemani had an awesome day in both the long jump and the 200," said Angel. "It was great to see her perform so well and break her own school record."
Raven Smith cemented an excellent showing for Tennessee Tech in the long jump, coming in right behind Roberts with a third-place result. Smith vaulted 5.75 meters (18-10 1/2), which was a new outdoor personal best by four and a half inches, and moves her into fourth on the OVC Performance List.
Roberts and Smith were the top two finishers out of 10 OVC entrants in the event.
Na'Scottisha Drummond took third place in the high jump, needing just one attempt to rise up over the bar at 1.70 meters (5-7). It was the second-best outdoor performance of Drummond's career, and marks the second time she has cleared 1.70 over the 2018-19 indoor and outdoor seasons (Vanderbilt Invitational, Jan. 18). Drummond was the top OVC performer in the competition.
Drummond got in some action on the track as well, running the 100 meters in 12.98 seconds in her first-ever attempt, and taking a 26.74-second split in the 200.
Ceirra Tate turned in a solid outing, posting a pair of fifth-place finishes in the 200 meters and the 400 meters.
Tate was three places behind Roberts in the 200, and used the fourth-fastest time of her outdoor career, 24.80 seconds, to come in fifth out of 37 athletes. Tate's time moves her from 10th to fifth on the OVC Outdoor Performance List, and was an improvement of more than a tenth of a second on her time from last year's Hilltopper Relays (24.93).
Her fifth place in the 400 meters came on a personal-best time of 57.19 seconds. The attempt was just the third of the career for Tate, whose previous best was established two weekends ago at Vanderbilt (57.52 seconds). She currently sits in fourth on the OVC Outdoor Performance List.
Roberts placed seventh in the 100-meter hurdles, posting an unconverted time of 15.71 seconds. Eshe' Robinson joined Roberts, and ran an unconverted 16.58.
Robinson took part in the long jump as well, and recorded a series-best of 4.62 meters (15-2).
Alexa Brugere led Tech in the 800 meters, coming in eighth place with a time of 2-minutes, 21.53-seconds. Brugere's time of 2:19.86 from the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational currently ranks 10th on the OVC outdoor list.
Like Brugere, Vivien Chesire made her second career attempt in the outdoor 800 and clocked a time of 2:29.14.
Courtney McCowan competed alongside the two freshmen and ran a 2:33.60.
Teauna Anderson was the fastest of the four Golden Eagles in the 100 meters, finishing her first sprint of the season in 12.58 seconds, which cracks the OVC list at No. 18.
Along with Drummond's 12.98, Smith stepped to the starting line for the 100 and ran a 13.32. Jessica Walsh came in in 15.28, a new personal best.
Keyanna Word recorded her first collegiate mark in the javelin, 24.53 meters (80-6).
Anderson ran the 400-meter hurdles in 1:14.54 in her collegiate debut, while Walsh took another personal best with a time of 1:20.04.
Freshman Abby Mink registered her first mark in the discus throw, 28.35 meters (93-0).
"We are in a good place at the moment," Angel said. "We must continue to build on our momentum."
Golden Eagle track and field will be off next weekend before heading to Charlottesville, Va. for the Virginia Challenge on Friday and Saturday, April 19-20.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information