On March 9, the Summit League picked both ORU Men’s and Women’s track as fourth for the outdoor preseason poll. A standard they are determined to uphold.
Mercy Abire and Aniekeme Etim were picked as preseason women’s athletes; Jaden Purnell and Omeiza Akerele were on the men’s side for the Summit League preseason. Senior Nigeria-native Akerele also clenched indoor season Summit League Athlete of the Year.
Last weekend, the Golden Eagles made history as they hosted the first ever campus outdoor track event at the ONEOK Sports Complex. The 2018 Jimmy Johns Invitational began Friday, March 30, and concluded March 31, the first event of its kind hosted by ORU.
Etim won both the women’s 100m and 200m events, breaking the current school record in the 200 with 23.20 seconds. That time also earned her the 11th spot in the nation this season, breaking Madison Reynolds’ record of 23.47 from April 16, 2016.
Kirsten Burnett, Abire and Kayvon Stubbs took the 4x100m relay by running 45.19 seconds, and taking first by a full second. For Burnett, this record broke her previously set 45.40, with Cameron Hilliard in the 2016 outdoor season. Raymond Ekevwo took the 100m and 200m events for the men’s team, creating a time of 10.24 in the 100. This earned him the title of fifth fastest in the nation coming into the competition Saturday. His time for 200m dash didn’t disappoint either, tying for 15th in the nation.
Overall, the invitational was a success on ORU’s turf, with 13 total events ending in victory and a top collegiate mark in another. The Golden Eagle men took the team title with 148.5 points, and the women took third with 103 behind second seed South Dakota and Oklahoma State. Outside of the U.S. ORU’s track team is still setting records; Sasha Wells set a new Bahamas Junior National Record by finishing in third place in the 100m at the 2018 CARIFTA Games.
If the event Wells’ ran took place in a NCAA sanctioned event, she would’ve broken a school record in hurdles.
All of the Golden Eagles track members will return to competition on April 7, for the Baylor Invitational in Waco Texas.