Heckman logs third-best mile in program history at Indoor Opening Weekend

Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 10:14 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU Track & Field’s Savannah Heckman bested her personal record mile time by 19 seconds to log the third-fastest indoor female mile time in program history on Saturday afternoon as the Hilltoppers wrapped up their weekend at the Commodore Challenge.

“I think we had a mixed bag on results this weekend,” said Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Brent Chumbley. “We had some really good performances and some ‘first meet’ nerves. The biggest takeaway was the huge performance from Savannah.”

“Savannah running one of the top mile times in school history goes back to what I said after the cross country season concluded, that she’ll be a more dominant force on the track, and today she showed a preview of that,” added assistant coach Brooks LeCompte. “Her best performances will come in the longer events, but I could see her taking a few more stabs at the mile before the season is done.”

Heckman clocked a 4:51.49 mile to finish second in the event out of 14 runners. She tied Breeda Dennehy’s time from 1991 and is just a second behind Vasity Chemweno (2011) and 10 seconds off Janet Jesang’s school record of 4:41.57 from 2010.

On the men’s side, Dedrick Troxell picked up a fifth-place finish in the mile with a personal best 4:09.89 and Clint Sherman placed 10th at 4:16.21.

“I am pleased with how this first weekend went,” said LeCompte. “Not as surprised with our top performances as I’ve seen the work they’ve been consistently doing. However, I’m extremely proud of how the veterans ran today with three PRs coming from them. The freshmen got a taste of competing in a college meet and have a ways to go, but they’ll get there.”

Picking up another top finish was Steven Simmons out of the sprint group who won the 300-meter out of 15 contestants. He clocked a 35.07 and finished just ahead of Gabriel Dozier who placed fourth with a time of 35.72. Demetrius Rolle finished fourth in the 60-meter finals with a PR of 6.81 while Simmons finished eighth (7.01) with a PR in the preliminary race.

On the women’s sprinting side, both Samyzia Sears and Audrey Griffin were able to compete after struggling with injuries in 2021. Freshman Queen Couch also posted a PR in the 60-meter race at 7.70, just narrowly missing the finals.

“It’s a start,” said assistant coach Tosha Ansley. “At least I know where we are. We had some good things that happened and we had some people who opened up their season with PRs. Considering where they started from up to now, I’m not upset, but at least I know what I’m working with.”

In the field, the throws group picked up top finishes on the men’s side as Brett Brannon placed fifth in weight throw and Kaison Barton finished fourth in shot put. John Elam added seventh-place finishes in both events and on the women’s team, Ajla Basic did the same in weight throw.

WKU will return to the Nashville facility next weekend for the Vanderbilt Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

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