Bowling Green, Ky. — Western Kentucky University head track and field coach Erik Jenkins announced Wednesday the signing of one female and three male athletes to the squad for the 2008-09 season. The list of signees includes a female all-state thrower and three international standouts.
Signing a National Letter-of-Intent to compete for the Lady Toppers next season is thrower Monteka Flowers of Indianapolis, Ind. Helping Warren Central High School to an IHSAA State Championship in 2007, she placed fifth in the shot put with a throw of 43-10.50 and eighth in the discus with a throw of 135-3. While she set her personal-best in the shot put at the state meet, Flowers recorded her career-best in the discus at the Warren Relays, where she threw 136-5. A tri-sport athlete for the Warriors, Flowers has also lettered in volleyball and basketball at WCHS.
"Monteka is going to be a really good thrower," said Jenkins. "She is an intelligent individual who will work hard to develop in every facet of her events. She knows what it takes to be successful in a team environment and she comes from a great track and field program at Warren Central."
Jonathan Cherono, a native of Iten, Kenya and a sophomore at Cowley County Community College, will begin his junior year on the Hill in August. Currently one of the best junior college distance runners in the country, Cherono is ranked fourth in the 5,000 meters and sixth in the 3,000 meters among NJCAA athletes. Cherono will bring personal bests of 4:18.75 in the 1,500m, 4:24.46 in the mile, 8:31.84 in the 3,000m, 14:57.11 in the 5,000m, 32:01.26 in the 10,000m, and 9:28.34 in the steeplechase to the Hill next season.
"Jonathan is just the kind of young man who has thrived at WKU over the years in the distance events," said Jenkins. "I think he will help to bring stability to a young group of distance runners and has the capability of performing at a high-level, as evidenced by his times this indoor season in the junior college ranks."
Kyle Chettleburgh, a high school senior from Durban, Kwa-Zulu (Republic of South Africa), will also add to the distance events for the Hilltoppers next year, with range from the 1,500 meters through the 10,000 meters. At only 18 years of age, Chettleburgh has already ran 4:03 for the 1,500m, 15:15 for the 5,000m, and 31:58 for the 10,000m.
"Kyle will be a talented young freshman who will add depth to a young group of distance runners," added Jenkins. "He is really starting to come on and has run his best times all within the past month."
The final signee for the Hilltoppers is decathlete Hendrik Themas. A native of Tallin, Estonia, Themas was a member of the Estonian Junior National team and has recorded personal bests of 15-5 in the pole vault and 4,837 in the heptathlon. Themas follows fellow countrymen Kristo Galeta and Raigo Toompuu to the Hill, who are both WKU record-holders and were top-15 finishers at the NCAA Championships during their time in a Hilltopper uniform.
"Hendrik will be the fifth Estonian to attend WKU," comments Jenkins. "Of those, Kristo was a national-caliber javelin thrower and Raigo was an all-American in the discus, and we think Hendrik will continue to improve and will follow in the same tradition."
Jenkins adds that "we have always had a strong international presense on the WKU track team and we will continue to cultivate those international ties and recruit quality student-athletes."
"These athletes will help solidify the WKU program as legitimate contenders for the Sun Belt Conference in the future and move the program toward national prominence."