By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A trip across the Ohio River is next up for the Tennessee Tech track and field team, as their indoor season rolls on with another prestigious meet, the Indiana Relays, on Friday and Saturday.
Indiana's Gladstein Fieldhouse will be the site for the two-day competition, with the events starting at 4 p.m. CT on Friday, and 8 a.m. on Saturday morning.
COACH ANGEL QUOTABLES
"We are excited to be traveling to Bloomington for the Indiana Relays with our goal being to give everyone the most competitive environment possible. It's crucial, at this point in time, for us to continue to develop and grow as the season progresses."
"There are two main things we will be sorting through this weekend. The first will be seeing who has the best legs for our relay teams, and the second will be finding the athletes we can count on. We're looking for consistency and a tough mental attitude."
"In four weeks, we will be headed to Birmingham, Ala to defend our title at the (Ohio Valley Conference) Championships. It's time for our veterans to step up and be the leaders on the team. We need them to demonstrate to their younger teammates what it's like to compete and find success at great venues like the Indiana Relays."
THE GOLDEN EAGLE LINEUP
Khemani Roberts will be Tech's first competitor, when she goes for her second attempt of the season in the 60-meter hurdles at 4:10 p.m. She'll be looking to improve on her career-best time of 8.98 seconds.
Wickham comes off her school-record performance last week at the Vanderbilt Invitational, in which she reset her own mark in the TTU record book with a 7.40-second sprint.
That time, which is the 25th-fastest in the NCAA this year, won her second place at the meet, and a Female Co-Track Athlete of the Week nod from the OVC.
Tate finished fifth in the event as a freshman at last year's OVC Indoor Championships. She ran her personal best during the preliminary round of the league meet, posting a 7.55.
Roberts, Smith and Na'Scottisha Drummond are the Golden Eagle entrants in the long jump at 6 p.m.
Smith owns the team's longest jump this season – a 5.62-meter leap from the Vanderbilt Indoor Opener – that is currently ranked fifth on the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Performance List.
Purity Sanga will make her return to the TTU lineup and try her hand in the 5,000 meters for the first time this season at 6:35 p.m.
Her current standard in the indoor 5K, 17-minutes, 2.18-seconds, came last season at the Arkansas Tyson Invitational.
She received OVC Female Track Athlete of the Week for her work in the 3,000m at the Jim Green, where she took third place with a time of 9:44.39.
There will be six Golden Eagles involved in the 200: Anderson, Jackson, Roberts, Tate, Toney and Wickham.
Wickham has Tech's best time in the 200 this year as well, having ran it in 25.06 seconds at the Jim Green Invitational. That clip narrowly missed her all-time best of 25.01.
Eshe' Robinson will get things going for Tech on Saturday morning when she competes in the first two events of the pentathlon; the 60m hurdles at 8 a.m., and the high jump at 8:35.
After a couple of hours off, she will finish out her multi-event with the shot put at 11:40 a.m., the long jump at 12:40 p.m. and the 800 meters at 1:30 p.m.
Robinson's top effort in the pentathlon came at the 2017 OVC Championships, where she scored 3,038 points for fifth place overall.
Following Robinson's morning session, Raven Smith will take flight in the triple jump at 10 a.m.
Smith soared 11.80 meters at Kentucky, which won her seventh place, and stands as the best attempt in the OVC so far this season. It was also rewarded by the conference office, which gave Smith a share of the Female Field Athlete of the Week honor.
The finals sections of the 60-meter hurdles and the 60-meter dash will be contested at 10:20 and 10:35 a.m., respectively, followed by the 400 meters at 10:50.
D'Airrien Jackson, who ran the league's third-fastest time, 56.78 seconds, and finished ninth last week at Vanderbilt, will be TTU's lone representative in the race.
Brugere, Sanga and Janet Kwambai will be part of the pack in the mile run at 11:25 a.m.
Kwambai is the only one to have run the race this year, and clocked a 5:19.17 at the Jim Green, which is No. 12 on the OVC list.
The 4x400m relay will conclude the Golden Eagles' list of events at 12:45 p.m., and will be comprised of Jackson, Roberts, Tate and Wickham.
Jackson, Roberts and Tate were three of the four pieces of the team that ran a converted time of 3:42.96 to reign supreme at last year's OVC Indoor Championships. That mark also set a new TTU program record.
Tech will accompany 13 other women's teams at IU.
Despite the smaller field, the meet will feature more than its fair share of big-dogs, as Ohio State and Wisconsin will join IU in representing the Big Ten, while fellow Power 5 programs Notre Dame (Atlantic Coast), Ole Miss (Southeastern), and Stanford (Pac-12) will also be on hand.
Indiana and Ohio State are the top two teams in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association's Great Lakes Region rankings, while Wisconsin checks in at No. 5. Notre Dame makes the list at No. 14, while Miami (Ohio) and Butler, who will also be in Bloomington, are 18th and 28th, respectively.
Ole Miss is seventh in the South Region rankings, while Stanford is sixth in the West Region.
Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri – the other participating OVC member – are Nos. 15 and 27, respectively, in the Midwest Region, Florida International is 20th in the South, and Western Kentucky is 23rd in the Southeast.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information