On Feb. 22 the men’s track and field team won their second indoor championship in two years. The Colonels finished the OVC tournament with a final score of 128 points, 24 points ahead of second place, Eastern Illinois. This was EKU’s sixth conference indoor title.
“To win that many titles shows what our program is about,” senior Yoshua Reed said. “It shows the kind of tradition… it’s just a hard working atmosphere.”
Reed said that having experience on the team and experienced coaches has helped the team reach back-to-back titles. EKU hired a new assistant coach, Sebek O’Jike Maat, at the beginning of the season. “He came in full of knowledge knowing everybody's PRs (personal records) and everybody's body type and running type, what we were strong at and what we weren't strong at… their knowledge of training shows a lot,” Reed said.
Senior Jaime Romo won gold in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:36.5 on the first day of action. Reed followed up the next day with a win in the heptathlon. The victory for Reed in the heptathlon was his fourth consecutive OVC multi-gold, since the 2017 outdoor decathlon.
“It’s always good to win an event,” Romo said. Romo was happy that his team competed well in the 5k overall. He said the bronze performance by his fellow senior teammate David Bascuñana in the 5k was exciting.
The OVC championship came down to Reed’s strong performance in the high jump and Romo’s performance in the 3k that helped seal the title for the Colonels. Both athletes said they would cherish those moments.
“I was running the 3k and I was taking a look at the high jump at the same time. It was really exciting because we were so close to the victory,” Romo said.
“I was over at the high jump pit and they’re running the 3k and I’m trying to get a clap going so I can start my approach and every time they’re coming around I see Jaime and those guys up front running,” Reed said. Reed won silver in the high jump and had a personal-best leap of 6-11.
“I knew I had to perform big in the high jump in order to put us in a good position going into the 4x4 [meter relay]. The atmosphere at that moment… I never felt anything like it,” Reed said.
Reed said the atmosphere at the indoor championships gave him chills thinking about it. He said he is not focusing too much on the indoor victory, but rather focusing on preparing for the outdoor season which starts March 16.
“It definitely feels good, something to be proud about, but like I said I’m trying not to sit and celebrate yet because we still have an outdoor season to go,” Reed said.
Romo and Reed are both excited to begin the outdoor season and both athletes have the goal of winning the OVC outdoor championship and reaching the NCAA championship in early June.
“To win the OVC title as a team and go to regionals and then get a spot in nationals. We have to fight for everything. We have to think big and we need to keep working hard,” Romo said.
Romo and Reed both believe the underclassmen are going to step up after they wrap up their collegiate careers. Reed said they are not afraid to take on a challenge.
“The culture we’re setting up is incredible. Everybody wants to improve and be great,” Reed said.
“They are so talented,” Romo said. “I think they will do good in the next year because they are very focused on training. They are asking the seniors what they have to do to perform well and how can they get better and that’s very positive.”
The outdoor season for the men’s track and field team begins on March 16 at the Stan Lyons Invitational in Indianapolis.