TTU track and field returns to the Hoosier State for Purdue Fred Wilt Open

TTU track and field returns to the Hoosier State for Purdue Fred Wilt Open

By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – With just three weeks remaining before the Ohio Valley Conference Championships, the Tennessee Tech track and field team will spend its second straight weekend in the state of Indiana, this time for Purdue's Fred Wilt Open.

The meet will be held Friday and Saturday inside Purdue's Lambert Fieldhouse, with Friday's multi-events starting at 2:30 p.m. CT, and the majority of the action getting underway on Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. CT.


"Last week was very competitive, and it was important for us, as we were able to sort a few things out in defining our (Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships) lineup. With so much going on at the Fred Wilt Invitational, it's going to be another really big weekend."

"This meet will be the first time this year that Khemani (Roberts) and Eshe' (Robinson) compete in the pentathlon. I'm looking for some big things out of them this weekend."

"We have a few kids coming off minor injuries, so we're hoping to see some progress out of them, along with many of our other athletes."

"I am confident that after this weekend things will vet themselves out, and we will have a much clearer picture for our final preparations for the OVC Championships."


Roberts and Robinson will be the only two Golden Eagles in action on Friday as they look to hone their skills in the five events of the pentathlon.

The TTU tandem will get started with the 60-meter hurdles at 2:30 p.m., followed by the high jump at 3:05, the shot put at 4:45, the long jump at 5:45 and the 800-meter finale at 6:45.

The last time Roberts competed in the pentathlon she earned a gold medal, scoring a school-record 3,834 points at last year's OVC Indoor Championships. That performance was highlighted by victories in the high jump and the shot put, along with a runner-up finish in the long jump.

Robinson's last appearance in the pentathlon came at the 2018 edition of the Fred Wilt, where she took seventh place with a count of 2,819 points.

Tech's Saturday slate begins at 10 a.m. with the shot put and the long jump.

Abby Mink and Keyanna Word are scheduled to step into the shot put circle, and will be looking to improve on their indoor career bests of 11.69 meters (38 feet, 4 1/4 inches) and 8.44 meters (27-8 1/4), respectively.

Raven Smith, who is fresh off her school-record triple jump performance last week, will try her hand at the long jump. Her season-best 5.62-meter leap from the Vanderbilt Indoor Opener is the seventh-best mark in the league this year.

Na'Scottisha Drummond will return to action in the high jump at 10:30 a.m. Drummond did not partake in the event last week at Indiana, but earned second place among 28 competitors two weeks ago at the Vanderbilt Invitational. That result came on the back of an indoor-personal-best 1.70-meter attempt (5-7) that is currently tied for second on the OVC Indoor Performance List.

Drummond will then join rising sophomore Teauna Anderson and freshman Jordan Toney in the 60-meter dash at 12:15 p.m.

Anderson ran the 60 in 7.97 seconds at the Indiana Relays after setting a new personal best of 7.92 seconds at the Vanderbilt Invitational.

Toney will attempt to shave some time off her current top mark, 8.12 seconds.

Two more freshmen, Sharon Chepkemboi and Vivien Chesire are entered in the mile run at 12:55 p.m.

Chepkemboi clocked a time of 5:28.25 in her only prior appearance in the mile, which won her fifth place at the Vanderbilt Invitational. It will be the first career attempt for Chesire.

D'Airrien Jackson will be the next one up, when she runs the 400-meter dash at 1:20.

This will be Jackson's third performance of the year in the 400. Her time of 56.78 seconds from the Vanderbilt Invitational currently stands as her season best.

Alexa Brugere and Courtney McCowan will represent the Golden Eagles in the 800 meters at 3:15 p.m.

Brugere owns the team's best time in the 800 this year, a mark of 2:24.98 from the Vanderbilt Invitational, her first collegiate race.

Anderson, Jackson, Smith, Toney and Cierra Tate will compete in the 200 meters at 2:55 p.m.

Anderson has recorded new PRs in the 200 in each of the past three weeks, with her time of 25.89 seconds from last week standing as the best of the bunch.

Toney also took a new best at the Indiana Relays, posting a 26.58.

Jackson's time of 25.33 seconds from last week is the best season mark of those competing at the Fred Wilt.

It will be the first outing of the year in the 200 meters for Smith and Tate.

Tate was the third-place finisher at last year's OVC Indoor Championships, where she ran an indoor-best time of 24.31 seconds after conversion.

Tech's final event will be the 4x400m relay, which will be contested at 4:25 p.m. The team will be finalized later, and will be selected from a group of six runners – Anderson, Jackson, Roberts, Tate, Toney, and Lisa Wickham.


Eight other teams will compete alongside the Golden Eagles at the Fred Wilt.

That list includes one Power 5 program, Purdue, along with a pair of familiar OVC foes, Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri, and one other Division I opponent, Valparaiso.  

Purdue is the top team from a United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association regional rankings perspective, as the Boilermakers are No. 6 in the Great Lakes Region. Valparaiso comes in 32nd in the Great Lakes.

Tech and Austin Peay both reside in the South Region. The Golden Eagles hold the No. 18 spot for that group, while the Governors currently place 23rd.

SEMO ranks 21st in the Midwest Region.

Three non-D1 programs, the University of Indianapolis, Lindenwood University and Lindsey Wilson College, round out the rest of the field.

Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information