By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Jumpers Khemani Roberts and Raven Smith generated the storylines for Tennessee Tech on the second day at the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championships, as Roberts claimed her second straight league title in the high jump, while Smith broke the school record with her second-place finish in the long jump.
Roberts' crown gives her the indoor/outdoor sweep as league champion in the high jump, where she was the only competitor to get over the bar at 1.75 meters (5 feet, 8 3/4 inches). The Bon Accord, Trinidad and Tobago native was perfect at the first five heights in the competition, needing just one attempt to eclipse 1.59, 1.64, 1.69, 1.72 and 1.75 meters, before bowing out at 1.80.
She is the first Golden Eagle ever to win league championships in both the indoor and outdoor versions of a jumping event (high jump, long jump, triple jump) in the same season, and Tech's first outdoor high jump champion since Katherine Lynn in 2010.
Smith's runner-up was the result of a 5.98-meter long jump (19-7 1/2), which surpassed Roberts' school-record mark set earlier this year by just a quarter-inch (5.96m, 19-7 1/4).
Smith came up just short of conference champion Maya Perry-Grimes of Austin Peay, who won the event by a margin of less than an inch (6.01m, 19-8 1/4).
Roberts took fifth place in the long jump, posting a series best of 5.78 meters (18-11 3/4) – her fifth-best long jump in an outdoor setting.
Both Tech jumpers finished better than the league's No. 1 seed entering the competition, Nichyria Bell of SIUE, who came in sixth.
Together, Roberts (14) and Smith (8) scored all 22 of Tech's points on Friday, bringing the team total to 25, and moving the Golden Eagles up to fifth place in the standings after two days of action; they were in ninth after Day 1. Murray State had a big day on the scoreboard, as the Racers are the new leader with 66 points, and hold a comfortable cushion on second-place Southeast Missouri (47.5).
Sophomore Ceirra Tate entered herself into the finals section of the 400 meters, clocking a huge all-time PR with a time of 55.84 seconds. That mark, which was the No. 4 overall qualifying time, was almost one-and-a-half seconds faster than her previous best.
Particularly impressive is the fact that Friday's prelim attempt was just the third of Tate's career in the outdoor 400. She will now have an opportunity to add to Tech's scoring total at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday.
Roberts narrowly missed the finals section of the 100-meter hurdles, recording the second-best time of her career, 14.66 seconds. That split was just four-hundredths of a second behind the last qualifying time for Saturday's finals (14.62), and just two-hundredths short of matching her personal record (14.64).
Sharon Chepkemboi came in 10th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, completing the race in a new-personal-best 11-minutes, 31.58-seconds. The freshman finished two slots outside of the top eight scoring positions, and fell short of the eighth-place finisher by less than nine-and-a-half seconds.
Alexa Brugere led the three Golden Eagles in the 800-meter prelims, registering a new all-time personal best with a time of 2:18.48. Vivien Chesire and Courtney McCowan both took new top marks as well, coming in at 2:27.32 and 2:27.92, respectively.
Abby Mink was Tech's lone representative in the discus throw, where she took a significant personal best with a mark of 29.91 meters (98-1). That throw was more than one-and-a-half meters better than her previous standard (28.35m, 93-0).
Teauna Anderson, Roberts, Tate and Jordan Toney were the four Tech runners in the 100-meter prelims. Roberts was the top TTU finisher with a time of 12.33 seconds, followed immediately by Tate at 12.34. Anderson and Toney posted marks of 12.58 and 12.92, respectively.
Eshe' Robinson completed the last three events of her heptathlon series, and wound up with a 13th-place overall result. Her top finish on Friday was ninth place in the long jump (5.03m, 16-6).
Na'Scottisha Drummond partook in the high jump and long jump, and produced marks of 1.59 meters (5-2 1/2) and 5.09 meters (16-8 1/2), respectively.
Tech's Saturday slate will get underway at 11 a.m., when Smith and Robinson take flight in the triple jump. The track action will begin at 12:30 p.m. with the 4x100-meter relay, followed by Purity Sanga in the 1,500-meter finals at 12:50.