By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – While it wasn't the first time for either athlete, Khemani Roberts and Purity Sanga added their names to the Tennessee Tech record book on Friday at the Indiana Relays, establishing new program standards in the long jump and the 5,000 meters, respectively.
The two performances happened in consecutive events, with Roberts' 5.69-meter (18 feet, 8 inches) long jump coming first. Roberts' mark eclipses Sharnique Leonce's leap of 5.64 meters from last year's Arkansas Tyson Invitational, which was the previous TTU best.
Roberts now owns the top Tech marks for both the indoor and outdoor long jump, in addition to six other events.
Roberts' jump won her seventh place out of 19 in the competition, and is currently No. 4 on the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Performance List.
"Khemani is coming into her own, as exemplified by her long jump performance," said head coach Wayne Angel. "First jump of the year and she broke the school record."
Sanga followed immediately with her time of 16-minutes, 46.31-seconds in the 5,000 meters. The Kapsabet, Kenya native already held the 5,000m record at Tech, but strengthened her grip on the title by cutting more than 16 seconds off her 17:02.18, which also came from the 2018 Tyson Invitational.
In clocking that time, Sanga is obliterating all others from the OVC so far this year, leading the pack by over one minute and 20 seconds.
"Purity was awesome this evening," Angel said. "She was in a very tough race that had two all-Americans. She held on for as long as she could, and still smashed the school record in the process."
Lisa Wickham suffered no letdown after her school-record outing last week, taking fourth place in the 200 meters, and recording the top preliminary time in the 60 meters.
Wickham ran the 200 in 24.48 seconds, which crushed her PR – indoor or outdoor – by more than a half-second (25.01). It is the new top performance in the OVC and is near the fringe of the NCAA list as well.
Wickham's fourth place came among a field of 30 sprinters, and is her first top-five finish in the event at an indoor meet.
Earlier in the day, the Petit Valley, Trinidad native recorded a 7.50-second dash in the 60-meter preliminaries, which paced a group of 27 athletes spread out over four heats.
Wickham's reward for her fourth-best all-time mark is a spot in the 8-member finals section, which will be contested at 10:35 a.m. CT on Saturday.
Khemani Roberts was the other Golden Eagle to advance on to Day 2 action, as she completed the 60-meter hurdles in 9.05 seconds, the third-fastest attempt of her career.
Roberts' time grabbed the No. 6 qualifying position for the final round, which will feature five athletes from Power 5 schools: three from Notre Dame, and one each from Indiana and Ole Miss.
Roberts ran in the 200 as well, where she took 13th overall with a season-best time of 25.27 seconds.
D'Airrien Jackson was right behind in 15th, and also recorded a new top mark for the season with a 25.33.
Teauna Anderson chopped a fraction off her 200-meter best for the third week in a row, clocking a time of 25.89 seconds.
Jackson and Anderson both crack the OVC Performance List with their results, coming in at No. 10 and No. 20, respectively.
Jordan Toney improved as well beating her old time of 26.93 seconds with a 26.58.
Cierra Tate made her first run of the season in the 60 meters, was Tech's second-highest finisher with a time of 7.95 seconds. Anderson was right on her heels at 7.97.
"The sprinters are rounding into shape," Angel said. "I am very pleased with their progress. In two weeks, we will be right where we need to be."
Na'Scottisha Drummond had a new indoor best in the long jump with a distance of 5.02 meters.
"This was a very productive day for Tennessee Tech," Angel said. "We have set the tone nicely on Day 1, and now it is time to carry that momentum into tomorrow's events."
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information