Western Kentucky's track and field team opened its outdoor season at the Ole Miss Classic with 15 top-10 finishes, including a first-place finish by the men's 4x100-meter relay team and a top pole vault mark from sophomore Devon Montgomery.
Many events had 20-plus individuals competing as WKU finished in the top five across eight events. The Ole Miss Classic was the first time the majority of the squad has competed in an outdoor meet for WKU.
"We had some strong performances this weekend," WKU director of cross country/track & field Brent Chumbley said in a news release. "We could tell this was our first meet after a month of solely training, and we're still battling a few injuries. Overall, it was a good meet. We're really looking forward to hosting the Hilltopper Relays next weekend and would love to see people out supporting the program."
The Hilltoppers were led by a first-place finish in the men's 4x100-meter relay. This was the whole relay team's first time running outdoor track for WKU as freshmen Elliott Bryant and Jonathan Allen are newcomers and seniors Dartez Hamlin and Marlowe Mosley did not experience an outdoor season in their first year on The Hill. The group turned in a 41.27 to cross the finish line first, putting them in the top-40 nationally in the event.
Montgomery also paced the squad after clearing the third-best pole vault height in WKU outdoor history. His height of 4.72 meters is not only a personal best but is good for third in the record book.
The distance squad notched several personal bests and top-10 finishes on the day. Junior Clint Sherman logged back-to-back PRs with a pair of seventh-place finishes in the 800 and 1,500-meter. Junior Dedrick Troxell finished fourth in the 1,500 with his own PR of 3:53.60.
Senior Savannah Heckman posted a pair of personal bests with an eighth-place finish in the 800 (2:20.43) and a fifth-place finish in the 1,500 (4:40.88).
In her first ever outdoor track meet, freshman Rory O'Connor placed third in the 3,000-meter, clocking a 10:15.42.
Sprinter sophomore Alexis Williams was also coming off an injury from indoor season and returned to the track to finish third in the 100 and fourth in the 200. She posted times of 12.01 and 24.66, respectively. Graduate senior Kevin Johnson finished fourth in the men's 400-meter hurdles with a time of 54.83.
At the Ole Miss Classic, the Hilltoppers competed against top programs in Memphis, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, Indiana State and host Ole Miss.
WKU is slated to host the annual Hilltopper Relays at the Charles M. Ruter Track & Field Complex on April 2-3. There are 17 teams, including WKU, expected to compete.
14th – Marlowe Mosley – 23.53
12th – Steven Simmons – 22.42*
8th – Jonathan Allen – 49.42
4th – Kevin Johnson – 54.83
7th – Clint Sherman – 1:56.46*
15th – Luke Hoover – 2:00.05*
16th – Dylan Duckworth – 2:01.98*
4th – Dedrick Troxell – 3:53.60*
7th – Clint Sherman – 3:57.07*
9th – Will Perrone – 16:01.12
10th – Miles Huff – 16:04.48*
3rd – Emerson Wells – 9:51.50
1st – Elliott Bryant, Marlowe Mosley, Jonathan Allen, Dartez Hamlin – 41.27*
12th – John Elam – 49.68m
16th – Kaison Barton – 49.17m*
20th – Jake Robinson – 46.51m*
17th – John Elam – 44.08m*
20th – Jake Robinson – 39.75m*
14th – Kaison Barton – 14.68m
17th – John Elam – 14.30m
10th – Devon Montgomery – 4.72m* - Third in Hilltopper Outdoor records
3rd – Alexis Williams – 12.01*
4th – Alexis Williams – 24.66
8th – Savannah Heckman – 2:20.43*
5th – Savannah Heckman – 4:40.88*
14th – Lucy Rutherford – 4:57.95
3rd – Rory O'Connor – 10:15.42*
9th – Grace Turner – 3.56m
*denotes collegiate PR