Western Illinois track and field teams suit up for Mizzou Open

Khaliya+Lawson+jogs+out+during+practice.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Western Illinois track and field teams suit up for Mizzou Open

Khaliya Lawson jogs out during practice.

Khaliya Lawson jogs out during practice.

Becca Langys/Photo Editor

Khaliya Lawson jogs out during practice.

Becca Langys/Photo Editor

Becca Langys/Photo Editor

Khaliya Lawson jogs out during practice.

Kejuan Rucker, Courier Staff

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






COLUMBIA, Mo. — Western Illinois University men and women’s track and field teams will continue their traveling adventures as they head down to participate in the Mizzou Open. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

This is the third meeting of the Leathernecks outdoor season and head coach Diane Wholey has been extremely proud of her team’s accomplishments in their first two meets. With a tremendous coaching background, Wholey understands that there are some areas of the sport where teams are stronger than the Leathernecks; however, she knows that the only thing that can disturb her athletes are the weather conditions.

“It was very cold and windy. Some athletes rose to the occasion…Others let that affect them adversity… It was a good opportunity for me to see how people respond to adversity and how I can work with those that did not respond as well to help make them better,” Wholey said.

Because of the weather, it was not safe for some athletes to compete in their primary events. Despite that, the Leathernecks were able to earn a fifth place spot out of eight teams in the Joey Haines Invitational last weekend. The Leathernecks were most dominant in the men and women’s long jump competitions, as freshman Gabe Cheeks and junior Bo Brasseur led the charge, earning first place victories, again. Seniors Isaiah LeSure and Khaliya Lawson were right behind their teammates, finishing in second place. Wholey acknowledges her long jumpers’ strong work ethic as they continue to improve in their respective area.

“They really work hard to make adjustments, listening to feedback and applying it right away… I am really pleased about how both genders are going in the horizontal jumps,” Wholey said.

These athletes have been improving their personal records within two outdoor meets so far, especially Cheeks. Because he is a freshman, one would believe that Cheeks has a long way to go before achieving such success, but he is shining as a long jump competitor, making the statement that he can compete with the best of them. Wholey expressed that track and field is a sport where one must relax and focus on the objective, leading to great execution marks. Cheeks’ goes by this oath and Wholey is very impressed with his dedication, seeing that he wants to be the best version of himself as a long jumper.

“He does a really, really good job of thinking of the big picture and executing… This is a really good almon for his future,” Wholey said.

As Cheeks represents the men, Brasseur has held it down for the Western Illinois women’s long jumpers. She also has back-to-back first place finishes in this season, picking up where she left off from the indoor season a month ago. Belgium’s very own came to Western with an unbelievable résumé in track and field, but had an injury that set her back for a few seasons. She rose to full strength during the outdoor season of 2018, coming back with her sights set on being the best. Wholey knows that Brasseur works really hard on keeping her body in tip-top shape, so Wholey does not want to overload her with workouts that can cause another injury.

“She does enough hard work and strength work to keep her body in good condition, but mindful of her body… She is a very attention-to-detail kind of person, so it will help her be successful and stay healthy,” Wholey said.

Furthermore, Wholey understands that coaching is about spending quite some time on building relationships and her wisdom helps her develop connections with everyone, despite some players being on the team prior to her joining the Leatherneck teams. She encourages everyone that they should be on the same page and have the same goals in order to make the track and field teams more successful, especially during this season.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email