WKU Track & Field headed to West Lafayette, Ind., to get the 2018 indoor schedule underway at the Purdue-hosted Gene Edmonds Open on Saturday. The Hilltoppers racked up 22 top-10 finishes on the day with nine on the women’s side and the remaining 13 by the men.
“These early season meets always provide valuable lessons,” head coach Erik Jenkins said. “We had a few good things happen but we saw several areas to improve upon with the team. Overall, we gave a competitive effort against quality teams.”
In total, 11 teams took part at the Gene Edmonds Open. Joining WKU in West Lafayette were Calumet-St. Joseph, Indiana Tech, IUPUI, Kennesaw State, Lindenwood, Maryville (Mo.), Murray State, Purdue, Southern Indiana and Vincennes.
Senior Morgan McIntyre – one of four Lady Toppers to compete in the pole vault – led the way with a third-place finish after a clear of 12’6” (3.81m). McIntyre’s mark is her second-best reading indoors and ranks fourth on WKU’s all-time indoor list. Getter Lemberg notched the fifth-best clear on the day – a height of 12’0” (3.66m) and an indoor personal best. Nicole Ogorek filled out the top-10 finishers with a reading of 11’0.25” (3.36m) and Alexis Thacker posted a 10’0.5” for 11th place in her collegiate debut.
Rounding out the field event action on the women’s side were Brianna Eskridge and Kira Harmon. Both Lady Toppers competed in the high jump with Eskridge clearing 4’11.5” (1.51m) for a share of eighth place while Harmon took 13th with a top clear of 4’9.5” (1.46m). Harmon also represented the Red and White in the weight throw, tossing a season-best 28’2.75” (8.60m).
Ariel Terrell got things going for the Lady Toppers on the track by earning a spot in the 60-meter finals after clocking a 7.75 in the prelims. Terrell also improved upon her season mark in the 60-meter hurdles with a reading of 9.50. Juannae Lewis posted an 8.02 in the 60-meter as well. In the mid-distance category, Aairiona Hayden-Ransom finished sixth in the 600-meter (1:42.72). WKU was well-represented in the one mile outing with a trio of season bests coming from eighth-place finisher Savannah Ames (5:19.71), Brianna Wolken (5:43.78) and Rebecca Cook (5:58.33). Morgan Kannapel posted a top-10 finish in the 3000-meter with an 11:55.71.
WKU’s 4×400-meter relay unit of Terrell, Cook, Harmon and Lewis closed the day with a third-place finish after clocking a 3:57.91.
On the men’s side, Chard Muhwanga helped the Hilltoppers with a pair of top-10 finishes in the weight throw and shot put. The freshman registered a 45’4.5” (13.83m) best mark for seventh place in the weight throw in addition to a new personal-best 43’7” (13.28m) toss for ninth in the shot put.
Alec Tanksley represented the Red and White both in the long jump with a clear of 17’9.75” (5.43m) and on the track in the 600-meter clocking a fifth-place finish (1:31.30). Tanksley was one of four Hilltoppers to clock top-five showings in the 600-meter. Julius Morris led WKU in the event with a time of 1:28.44 with Jonathan Hayden taking third (1:28.95) and Austin Hayes securing fourth (1:29.81). Hayden also ran the 60-meter hurdles on the day, advancing to the finals with a time of 8.16 while Hayes competed in the 60-meter, clocking a mark of 7.05.
Earning a pair of spots in the 60-meter finals for WKU on the day were Eli Minor and Will Bush. Minor qualified for the finals after a 6.91 reading while Bush posted a 6.99 preliminary reading. Neither Hilltopper ran in the finals.
Newcomer Devin Nixon rounded out the Hilltopper contingent in the 60-meter, clocking a 7.09 in his first race for the Red and White. Oliver Alexandre also made his Hilltopper debut with a seventh place showing in the 800-meter, posting a time of 2:00.19. In the mile, Julien Cuyeu led six Hilltoppers with a time of 4:26.46 to take seventh place. Taylor Scarbrough clocked a 4:28.20 for 12th place while Bryce Swindell (4:42.60), Denzel Villaman (4:51.45), Alex Schell (4:53.02) and Maor Seged (5:02.92) rounded out the WKU competitors.
In the final event of the day, WKU grabbed two more top-three finishes in the form of second and third place in the 4×400-meter relay. The Hilltoppers’ ‘A’ squad of Seged, Tanksley, Hayes and Villaman clocked a 3:24.01 reading for second place while the ‘B’ team consisting of Hayden, Morris, Alexandre and Bush posted a time of 3:26.17 for third.
Next time out, WKU will head to Vanderbilt for the first time in 2018 to compete in the two-day Vanderbilt Invite from Jan. 19-20.
How to follow WKU Track & Field: For complete information on WKU Track & Field, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUTrackField.
-@WKUSports-
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Jessica Leifheit
Assistant Director
WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations

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