AUSTIN, Texas – On the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships,
WKU saw Kymari Gates earn Second Team All-American honors in the men’s 400 meter
while the Hilltoppers’ 4×100 relay also collected Second Team All-American
recognition. Action from the four-day outing is taking place at the Mike A. Myers
Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas.
“I am extremely happy with the way our student-athletes competed today,” head coach
Erik Jenkins shared. “They gave a great effort at securing spots in the finals.”
Championship competition opened with the combination of Will Bush, Martin
Owusu-Antwi, Abdur Kelly and Gates posting a 39.24 in the men’s 4×100 relay to tie
for 12th place and earn All-American status. The Hilltoppers finished fifth in the
third and final heat with the top three finishers earning a spot in Friday’s finals
while the fourth team ahead of the Tops was left out by one hundredth of a second.
Between relays, Gates took the track as an individual, competing in the men’s 400
meter prelims. The senior clocked a 46.33 to finish 16th overall and lock up
All-American status for the second time of the meet and fourth time during his
career on The Hill.
WKU’s final action of the day came in the men’s 4×400 relay where the team clocked
what would have been a school record at 3:02.04. After the group of Kelly, Gates,
Oliver Alexandre and Owusu-Antwi won the third heat, a protest was filed and WKU’s
time was disqualified.
“Unfortunately, things didn’t go our way in an extremely gallant effort in the men’s
4×400,” Jenkins added. “The guys ran 3:02.04 but were disqualified after a protest
by another team. The time they ran would have been a school record by almost a
second and would have earned them a spot in the NCAA finals.”
Had the Hilltopper unit advanced to the finals, 2019 would have been the first time
WKU’s 4×400 relay earned All-American honors both indoors and outdoors in the same
This marked the fifth-consecutive season, both the men’s 4×100 and 4×400-meter relay
squads from WKU Track & Field have earned a spot to compete at the NCAA Outdoor
Championships. WKU was one of just 10 programs in the country sending both its men’s
4×100 and 4×400 relays to the NCAA Outdoor Championships and one of just four
non-Power 5 programs to do so. Also sending both relays were Arizona, Arkansas,
Coppin State, Florida Kentucky, North Carolina A&T, Purdue, UCLA and UT Arlington.
On the women’s side, Forrester will begin action in the long jump at 8:30 p.m. on
Thursday. The Lady Topper junior will compete from the second flight of the event’s
finals after posting a personal-best 6.19 meters (20′ 3.75″) at the NCAA East
Prelims to earn a trip to Austin.