Tequan Claitt wins OVC High Jump

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Eastern Kentucky University women's team finished third, while the men's team placed fourth at the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships this weekend at the Gentry Center.

 

In all, the Colonels won 14 medals at the two-day event, including four gold medals.

 

The women's team's third-place finish is its best finish since placing second at the 2012 championships. The Colonels finished third with 74 points, losing only to host Tennessee State (124) and Eastern Illinois (99). Murray State (68), Austin Peay (63), Southeast Missouri (56), SIUE (53), Tennessee Tech (49), Jacksonville State (47) and Belmont (30) rounded out the women's standings.

 

The men's team finished fourth with 99 points. Eastern Illinois won the men's title with 140 points, followed by Southeast Missouri (134), host Tennessee State (132.5), EKU, SIUE (87) and Belmont (64.5).

 

Sophomore Charlotte Imer highlighted Saturday for the women's team by winning the 3,000 meters with a time of 9:49.14. Senior Ashley Svec took silver in the race with a time of 9:53.70, while sophomore Ann Tum placed seventh in 10:08.13.

 

Sophomore Haley Yost also had a big Saturday for the women's team, finishing fifth in the finals of the 800 meters (2:14.07) and fifth in the mile (4:57.84).

 

Freshman Meggan Grams was the women's team's top finisher in the mile, placing fourth in a time of 4:56.20.

 

On Friday, senior Alena Galertova got the women's team going by winning silver in the indoor pentathlon for the second straight year with 3,556 points. She notably won the pentathlon shot put with a toss of 38-7.25.

 

Fellow senior Ashley Woolum also scored in the pentathlon, finishing fourth with 3,453 points. Her winning high jump mark of 6-8.9 is the second-best women's indoor high jump in EKU history.

 

Imer won silver in the 5,000 meters on Friday, clocking a time of 17:54.82. Svec (fourth / 18:11.99) and sophomore Ciara Scott (sixth / 18:31.69) also scored points for the Colonels in the 5K.

 

The women's distance medley relay team earned six points with a third-place finish, clocking a time of 11:59.93. Yost, Grams and juniors Megan Kiely and Madison Zeitz combined to win the bronze.

 

Woolum added more points on Friday with a fifth-place finish in the high jump (5-6), while sophomore Liz Marcinek scored two points with a seventh-place finish in the long jump (18-5.25).

 

The men's team won three gold medals at the meet, highlighted by a 1-4 sweep of the 3,000 meters late in the day on Saturday. Sophomore Jakob Abrahamsen won his first-career individual conference title in the 3K, clocking a time of 8:23.02. He was followed by freshman Erick Rotich (second / 8:26.20), sophomore Jamaine Coleman (third / 8:27.03) and junior Ambrose Maritim (fourth / 8:27.63).

 

The men also earned significant points in the mile and 800 meters on Saturday. The Colonels went 2-3-6 in the mile, as sophomore Tom Koringo earned silver (4:14.55), junior Luis Luna took bronze (4:15.88) and freshman Timothy Asis placed sixth (4:17.74).

 

Just over an hour later, Asis finished fifth (1:53.67) and Koringo took sixth (1:56.09) in the 800 meters.

 

Sophomore Yoshua Reed also delivered a key performance for the Colonels on Saturday, winning bronze in the men's heptathlon. He scored 4,595 points to reach the podium.

 

The men's 4x400-meter relay team - composed of sophomores Isaac Lee and Shawn Yancey-Harwick and freshmen Greyson Winiger and Derayvon Thomas-Randle - scored three points with a sixth-place finish (3:29.11).

 

The men's team won two events on Friday, as the DMR team took first place and freshman Tequan Claitt won a surprise gold in the men's high jump.

 

The men's DMR team - composed of Abrahamsen, Coleman, Koringo and Winiger - won with a time of 10:09.35, edging second-place Belmont (10:11.69) by less than two seconds. It was the men's team's first DMR win at the OVC championships since 2012.

 

Claitt ran away with the upset victory in the high jump. The Lexington native entered the meet ranked fifth in the conference with a season-best jump of 6-6.25. He won with a personal-best leap of 6-11.75. His nearest competitor was SIUE junior Julian Harvey, the OVC's Male Field Athlete of the Year. Harvey recorded a jump of 6-8.25

 

Claitt's 6-11.75 is the third-best indoor high jump in EKU history and the best since Ken Wilson went 7-0 in 1983.

 

He is the first EKU male to win the high jump at the OVC Indoor Championships since Tyrone Walker (6-7) in 2002.

 

Reed also scored points in the high jump on Friday, finishing sixth with a leap of 6-6.

 

The men's team earned 14 points in the 5,000 meters, as sophomore Ronald Korir finished third (14:58.71), junior Harry Earl took fourth (14:59.87) and junior Luka Ndungu placed sixth (15:06.93).

 

The NCAA Indoor Championships will take place March 11-12 in Birmingham, Alabama.


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