Lady Buff track star hopes for one more rewarding weekend

West Texas A&M is getting set to say goodbye to one of the best athletes to ever come through the track and field program.


Highly decorated senior Rellie Kaputin will be out of eligibility, using up all of her athletic semesters, after this weekend’s NCAA Division II national indoor championships in Pittsburg, Kansas.

But before Kaputin hangs up her cleats at WT, she hopes to lead the No. 2-ranked Lady Buffs to a successful weekend.

“I’m excited to go out and do what I’ve been able to do,” said Kaputin, who was named to the Lone Star Conference Indoor Track and Field All-Conference first-team on Wednesday. “I get to do it one more time in a WT uniform, and I want to make the school proud. Since I’ve come to WT, I’ve been able to achieve a lot of my goals. Not just in track, but in the classroom, too. I get my degree in May. I’m so happy.”

Kaputin’s resume mirrors what the Lady Buff track program has been building the past several seasons.

The East New Britain, Papua, New Guinea native is a nine-time All-American and a two-time individual NCAA Division II national champion.

Kaputin was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association National Women’s Field Athlete of the Year in 2017.

She’s the defending indoor triple jump national champion, where she’ll hope to defend that title at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Kaputin won the other national championship in the outdoor triple jump, where she helped lead the Lady Buffs to the school’s first-ever NCAA Division II national outdoor title last spring.

Kaputin was unbelievable during that run to the title, racking up 22 points all on her own.

WT first-year coach Matt Stewart, who earned LSC Woman’s Indoor Coach of the Year on Wednesday, can’t speak highly enough of his prize pupil.

“Rellie has meant so much to our program and our team,” Stewart said. “She’s been an individual national champion, and she’s helped our team. She was huge in getting us an outdoor national title last year. We haven’t lost a conference title with her. More importantly, she is a great person. She works hard and is deserving of all of the recognition she gets. We’re going to miss her, but I’m going to enjoy seeing her compete in a WT uniform one more time.”

Kaputin will also compete in the long jump competition on Friday.

WT will take a total of 15 athletes to the national indoor championships. The Lady Buffs are sending eight competitors, and the No. 18-ranked Buffs are sending seven to compete.

Here are all of the WT track and field athletes honored by the LSC on Wednesday.

Lone Star Conference Indoor Track and Field All-Conference Performers

West Texas A&M honorees


First-Team: Rickie Harvie, Fr., Mile; Geoffrey Kipchumba, Sr., 300 meter, Distance medley relay; Owen Hind, Sr., 5,000 meters; Jacob Suchors, Jr., Distance medley relay; Brandon Rivera, Jr., Distance medley relay; Tobia Lahbi, Jr., Distance medley relay.

Second-Team: Briggs Wittlake, Fr.; Abraham Seaneke, Jr.; Ryan Thomson, Jr.; Kylon Drones, So.; Terrell Sims, Jr.; Paolo Lazaric, Jr.; Daniel Gyasi, Sr.

Third-Team: Quinton Sansing, Fr.; Tyler Pickens, So.


Coach of the Year: Matt Stewart

First-Team: Nikolina Hrelec, Sr., Mile; Rellie Kaputin, Sr., Triple jump; Fatim Ffessi, So., Long jump; Valda Kabia, Jr., 200 meters; Kennedy Hudson, So., 60 meters; Nele Heinrich, So., 400 meters.

Second-Team: Norma Cunigan, Jr.; Madison Thetford, So.; Carri Yarbrough, Jr.

Third-Team: Aubri Wrye, Fr.; Zada Swoopes, Fr.