For the third time in four years, Eastern Kentucky has the Male Outdoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Here’s a look at that item, along with EKU’s third-place finishes at the OVC Championships and what’s up with the University of Kentucky, which a conference Runner of the Week.
Track and field fans in the Lexington area will want to mark Thursday on the calendar. That’s when the public schools will gather at Paul Laurence Dunbar for the City High School Championships, starting at 6 p.m.
OVC Freshman of the Year
Soufiane Bouchikhi, from Antwerp, Belgium, is the OVC Male Freshman of the Year for the outdoor season, replicating what he achieved indoors.
He follows in the footsteps of teammates Elkana Kurgat and Shannon Davis, who won OVC Male Freshman honors for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. The award was created in 2005.
Bouchikhi posted the fastest 5,000 meters in the conference this season, 14:01.74, to place second at the Penn Relays – a mere two-hundredths of a second behind Lewis Woodard of William & Mary.
The full list of OVC award winners: Megan Gingerich, Eastern Illinois (Female Track Athlete of the Year); Kandace Arnold, Eastern Illinois (Female Field Athlete); Elizabeth Bond, Jacksonville State, and Jerika Lewis, Southeast Missouri (Freshman Co-Athletes); Chris Gill, Southeast Missouri (Male Track Athlete); Brandon Colbert, Southeast Missouri (Male Field Athlete), and Bouchikhi.
EKU’s men and women both placed third in last weekend’s rain-shortened OVC Championships at Tennessee Tech, winning eight individual titles.
Heading the list was Bouchikhi, who took the 5,000 in 15:00.37.
Eastern Illinois won the men’s title with 261 points, followed by Southeast Missouri with 128, EKU with 106, Tennessee State with 61 and Morehead State with 22.
EKU’s other male champions were Christopher Rengifo in the 1,500 (3:54.19), Joseph Maina in the 10,000 (30:23.75) and David Mutuse in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:39.72).
Eastern Illinois’ women prevailed with 212 points, followed by SEMO (155 1/2), EKU (131), Jacksonville State (73 1/2), Tennessee Tech (67), Austin Peay (66 1/2), Tennessee State (42 1/2), Murray State (30) and Morehead State (1).
EKU winners were Diamond Benjamin in the 100 (11.94), Lydia Kosgei in the 1,500 (4:39.99), Kat Pagano in the 5,000 (17:29.35) and the 4-by-100-meter relay team of Benjamin, Lutisha Bowen, Jazzmin Jeter and DanHeisha Harding (46.65).
Sorrillo, Banks win at Ohio State
Victories by Rondel Sorrillo, David Banks, Kristin Smith and Ashley Muffet highlighted Kentucky’s showing in the Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State.
Sorrillo, an Olympian from Trinidad and Tobago, showed that his progress is continuing after suffering a hamstring injury late in the indoor season. His winning time of 10.33 for 100 meters — his first try at the distance this season — puts him among the top 20 collegiate performers this season. Yet, he had to recover after stumbling out of the starting blocks.
No wonder the senior was named Male Runner of the Week in the Southeastern Conference.
Banks eclipsed his school record in the triple jump by half an inch, winning the event with a distance of 51 feet, 5 1/2 inches.
Smith notched the second-best mark in school history to win the hammer throw at 208-7. That moved her from 12th in the national rankings to No. 4.
Muffet uncorked her best effort in nearly four years to take shot-put honors at 53-11 1/4. That improved her national ranking from No 16 to No. 11.
Other top performers for UK including Josh Nazdam, fourth in the men’s 1,500 (3:47.07) and Samantha Stenzel, who matched her school record (12-7 1/2) to tie for third in the women’s pole vault.
Aggies on top
Texas A&M is No. 1 in both the men’s and women’s rankings compiled by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Aggies are defending NCAA champions in each.
The SEC has eight of the top 25 men’s teams (3. Florida; 7. LSU; 8. Auburn; 12. Mississippi; 13. Mississippi State; 16. South Carolina; 23. Georgia; 25. Arkansas) and four of the top 25 women’s squads (2. LSU; 9. Arkansas; 10. Florida; 14. Auburn).
Among area men’s teams, Louisville is No. 29, Kentucky is No. 43 and Western Kentucky is No. 54
On the women’s side, UK is 30th, U of L 32nd and Western 131st.
In-state individuals with top 10 rankings are U of L men Matt Hughes (4. steeplechase), Steve Hnat (8. shot put) and Tone Belt (9. long jump) and woman Jere’ Summers (6. discus and hammer throw); UK men Sharif Webb (8. 800) and Colin Boevers (10. discus), and women Kristin Smith (4. hammer throw) and Ashley Muffet (5. discus); and WKU male Gavin Smellie (3. 200).
For more details, see: http://www.ustfccca.org/featured/dual-defending-champion-aggies-move-to-nation%e2%80%99s-top-spot-once-again
For team-by-team reports, see: http://www.ustfccca.org/rankings/division-i-rankings