Gainesville, Fla. - The Western Kentucky University track and field teams split between three meets this weekend. Friday, three distance runners traveled west to the Stanford Invitational while the remainder of the team split between the Florida Relays and the Bellarmine Invitational Friday and Saturday.
At Stanford, Michelle Finn obliterated her own Lady Topper record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, clocking a time of 10:14.09 to finish third in section two. That effort bettered her own WKU standard in the event by over 23 seconds.
Middle distance specialist David Mokone led the Florida contingent in claiming two top-three finishes. He was the top collegiate finisher and second overall in the 800-meter run, where he clocked a time of 1:48.13. That effort broke a 24-year old WKU record in the event held by former all-American Victor Ngubeni. It also marked the second-straight year that a WKU athlete has been the top collegian at the Florida Relays, as Ignacio Guerra won the javelin in 2011. In the 1,500 meters, Mokone finished third with a season-best time of 3:47.83.
Also at Florida, Gelela Cooley became the second-fastest performer in Lady Topper history in the 400-meter dash, clocking a time of 53.97. De'Myco Winston moved to fourth all-time on the Hilltopper 400-meter list with a 15th-place clocking of 47.14 seconds. Monica Akello finished 13th in the women's 800-meter run, clocking a time of 2:10.94. In her first collegiate 400-meter intermediate hurdle race, Kristina Volfova moved to third all-time at WKU with a time of 1:01.21. In the men's intermediates, Karlis Daube finished 15th with a time of 52.18 seconds.
In the women's invitational long jump at Florida, Jade Nimmo brought home a fifth-place finish with a leap of 19-11.50, which ranks fifth in the Lady Topper record books in the event. Kyle Chettleburgh continued his strong showing this academic year, finishing fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:05.92. In the men's 5,000 meters, Deus Rwaheru finished third with a personal-best time of 14:04.81.
Monteka Flowers led the group at Bellarmine, collecting two individual crowns and finishing as the top collegian in another. She won the shot with a season-best put of 47-5.25, won the discus with a toss of 140-7, while also finishing second overall in the hammer with a makr of 178-2. Also for the women's throws at Bellarmine, Adesola Adeduro finished third in the hammer with a throw of 164-6. In the men's throws, Travis Gerding placed third in the discus with a personal-best mark of 152-5, while Brad Wright placed seventh in the hammer with a mark of 175-5.
On the track at Bellarmine, Brianne Porter won the women's steeplechase in clocking a personal-best time of 11:31.91. Kim Dominguez took runner-up honors in the 10,000 meters with a time of 39:57.72. In the men's 400-meter hurdles, Cha'Kale Lipscomb imrpoved by two seconds, clocking a runner-up time of 55.68 seconds. Anna Reddin took runner-up honors in the 5,000-meter run, clocking a personal-best time of 18:10.59.
Two former WKU track and field all-Americans were also in action over the weekend. Running for his native Canada at the Florida Relays, Gavin Smellie had a pair of ninth-place finishes in the sprints, clocking 10.32 in the 100-meter dash and 20.58 in the 200-meter dash. Competing at Bellarmine, Laura Igaune broke her own Latvian hammer throw record with a winning toss of 215-10.
The team will play host to the Hilltopper Relays Saturday, April 14th as part of WKU Athletics' "Super Hilltopper Weekend." Teams scheduled to compete include Bellarmine, Central Michigan, Eastern Illinois, Marshall, Murray, SEMO, SIU-Edwardsville, Tiffin and Vincennes. Competition is scheduled to begin with the men's hammer Saturday at 9:00am (CDT), while the running events are slated to begin at 1:00pm.