EUGENE, Ore. – Led by a pair of Top 5 finishes from the Hilltoppers’ 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays Saturday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, WKU Track and Field set a program record with seven athletes earning First Team All-American honors at Oregon’s Hayward Field.
WKU’s seven First Team All-Americans are the most in school history at a single NCAA Championship and three more than its previous high of four honorees in 1973. Overall, WKU finished with eight First and Second Team All-American accolades, which is also a program best at a single NCAA Championship.
The Hilltoppers finished with 12 team points at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which tied them for 18th overall with Tennessee. Oregon captured the men’s team title with 88 total points. WKU finished higher than any ACC program and was the highest finisher of any team not representing the Southeastern Conference, Big 12, Pac 12 or Big 10 conferences.
The 4x400-meter relay posted WKU’s highest relay finish in program history with a fourth-place showing and the 4x100 captured fifth place to make the Hilltoppers the only non-SEC program to finish Top 5 in both men’s relays. Freshmen Ventavius Sears and Emmanuel Dasor ran middle legs for both relays while senior Elvyonn Bailey, the 2014 Southeast Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year, anchored both quartets.
Individually, sophomore javelin thrower Tomas Guerra finished sixth and senior thrower Jessica Ramsey secured eighth place in the shot put to garner First Team All-American status. Ramsey, who also finished 14th in the hammer throw on Wednesday, became the first Lady Topper in program history to earn First and Second Team All-American status in two individual events at the same NCAA Championship.
Senior Chris Chamness ran the lead leg for WKU’s 4x400 and had the Hilltoppers in second upon his handoff to Dasor. WKU was neck-and-neck with Arizona State and Nebraska in the middle legs before Bailey took the anchor handoff, but Bailey split 44.91 seconds in the final 400 meters to push WKU to a fourth-place finish. WKU’s showing earned the entire quartet First Team All-American honors.
The Hilltoppers’ 4x100-meter relay turned in the second fastest time in school history in route to a fifth-place finish in the race. Sophomore Ja’Karyus Redwine led off, Sears and Dasor followed and Bailey anchored WKU to a time of 39.43 seconds, which was faster than all except Florida, Texas A&M, LSU and USC. The quartet turned in the three fastest times in school history during its last three races, posting a 39.18 in Wednesday’s semifinals and 39.52 seconds at the NCAA East Prelims on May 29 before Saturday’s 49.43 clocking. Redwine, Sears, Dasor and Bailey also received First Team All-American accolades for their efforts.
Guerra’s javelin throw of 227’4 (69.31m) to open the first flight of competition was good enough for sixth-place honors on Saturday. The finish earned Guerra, a sophomore, First Team All-American accolades for the second-straight season. Tomas (2013-14) and his older brother Ignacio (2011-12), a former WKU javelin thrower, have combined to give WKU four-consecutive First Team All-American performances in the event.
Ramsey, like Guerra, recorded her best mark with her first toss of the day at 55’1 (16.79m). Her opening mark ranked eighth through the flight stage and advanced her to the finals, but she could not improve the clip in her final three attempts. Her eighth-place finish resulted in First Team All-American accolades, making her the first Lady Topper in program history to achieve that feat in the shot put. Ramsey finishes one of the finest individual seasons (indoor/outdoor) in WKU history with two All-American honors, five Sun Belt Conference titles, two SBC Most Outstanding Women’s Field Performer awards and recognition as the 2014 Southeast Region Women’s Field Athlete of the Year.
France Makabu, a senior jumper for the Lady Toppers, nabbed Honorable Mention All-American honors on Friday after placing 19th in the triple jump with a leap of 41’3 (12.57m).
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