Tech kicks off outdoor campaign at Vanderbilt, seeks fourth straight OVC crown

Tech kicks off outdoor campaign at Vanderbilt, seeks fourth straight OVC crown

By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the Tennessee Tech track and field team, it's on to the next one.

Just over a month removed from their second straight Ohio Valley Conference indoor championship, the Golden Eagles will try to accomplish the same feat with back-to-back outdoor titles, as they begin their six-meet regular season schedule with the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational on Friday and Saturday, March 22-23.

The events will get started at 4 p.m. CT on Day 1, and 10 a.m. on Saturday morning from the Vanderbilt Track in Nashville.

Meet Schedule

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The opening of the outdoor slate comes on the heels of Tech's incredible indoor campaign – one that saw the program win its third consecutive OVC crown overall (2018 indoor, 2018 outdoor, 2019 indoor).

Coach Wayne Angel's group will be looking to carry over the momentum from some of the most legendary championship-meet performances in TTU history, starting with the come-from-behind victory in the 4x400-meter relay that capped the team's late march to glory 

Just prior to that effort, distance star Purity Sanga, who was named the league's Female Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Championships, conquered the field in the 3,000 meters, and Raven Smith took home a gold medal with a school-record triple jump attempt.

When the dust settled, Tech had scored an astounding 30 points over the final three events to erase Murray State's double-digit lead, and surge to victory.

Overall, six new program marks were set over the course of the indoor season, as Angel's teams continue to rewrite the TTU record book in the coach's fifth season.

The team also registered five individual victories and 23 top-five finishes while competing at prestigious meets such as the Vanderbilt Invitational and the Indiana Relays.

Coming as no surprise given his team's litany of accomplishments during the indoor season, Angel received OVC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career following the championship meet.


Friday will be a traditionally light day of action for TTU at the Black and Gold Invitational, as they will enter participants in two of the four field events that kick off the action at 4 p.m.

Khemani Roberts, Eshe' Robinson and Keyanna Word will step into the circle for the shot put, while Smith and Na'Scottisha Drummond will line up for the triple jump.

At 5 p.m., Tech will have five in the starting blocks for the 200 meters, including Teauna Anderson, D'Airrien Jackson, Smith, Ceirra Tate and Jordan Toney.

Tech's final event of the night, the 1,500 meters at 6 p.m., will include a four-member contingent made up of Alexa Brugere, Vivien Chesire, Janet Kwambai and Sanga.

The Golden Eagles will get started at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, as Drummond, Roberts and Robinson will get back at it in the high jump.

Drummond and Smith will then take part in the long jump, which is also slated to begin at 11.

Anderson, Jackson, Roberts, Tate and Toney make up the pool of Golden Eagles that could run in the 4x100-meter relay at 12 p.m.

Roberts and Robinson will then try their hand at the 100-meter hurdles at 12:45 p.m., followed by Anderson, Toney and Tate in the 400 meters at 1:15.

The sprints and middle distance events will continue with Robinson and Toney in the 100 meters at 2 p.m., then Brugere, Chesire and Courtney McCowan in the 800 meters at 2:25.

D'Airrien Jackson will run the 400-meter hurdles at 3:15 p.m., while Kwambai and Sharon Chepkemboi will compete in Saturday's only long-distance event, the 3,000 meters at 3:35.

Tech will wrap up the weekend in a big way, as it has two separate relay teams entered in the 400-meter relay at 4:30 p.m.


Twenty-three other teams will join TTU at the Black and Gold Invitational.

Along with the host Vandy, Kentucky, Indiana and Virginia Tech headline the field as the four Power 5 programs in attendance.

Kentucky and Virginia Tech are both true national powers, as they each rank in the top 25 of the United States' Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association's national preseason poll. Kentucky is among the elites, occupying the No. 7 spot, while VT isn't far behind at No. 18.

Indiana falls inside in the top 50, coming in at No. 44 nationally.

Middle Tennessee and Indiana State are the highest-ranked mid-major programs in the field, coming in at 51st and 81st , respectively.

There will also be solid representation from the OVC at the Black and Gold, as four of Tech's conference affiliates will participate.

Joining Tech from the Ohio Valley will be Austin Peay, Belmont, Southeast Missouri and Tennessee State.

Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information