Racing to the finish line

Ben Morrow
Staff writer

File photo

OVC Championships begin for track and field today at the Gentry Center in Nashville, Tenn., finishing a strong season for the Racers.

Head Coach Jenny Severns said she is ready to see what her athletes will accomplish.

“I think we’re looking pretty good,” Severns said. “Our team is really young, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. It will be the first conference meet for the majority of those going. The biggest thing will be matching what they’ve done all season. If they can do that, they’ll do really well – much better than last year. It doesn’t take anything big and spectacular and crazy. They just (need to) stay consistent.”

Severns said the team’s recent strong performance in Bloomington, Ind., at the Hoosier Hills Invitational on Feb. 10 and 11 will hopefully carry over into this weekend.

“I’m very excited,” Severns said. “Some people had some breakthrough performances. Even those who didn’t have huge performances stayed consistent, which is what we’re looking for going into the OVCs.”

Tonia Pratt, freshman from Michigan Center, Mich., was the latest Racer to win the OVC Female Track Athlete of the Week after her performance in the weight throw and the shot put at the Hoosier Hills Invitational.

Severns said the athletes are doing a good job focusing on this weekend’s challenges.

“I think they’re excited,” Severns said. “This team never really gets too excited or too let down based on one performance. They know one day won’t make or break you. They’re pretty even-keeled, which should help us a lot.”

The second-year coach said she is much more settled going into OVCs this year as opposed to her rookie season.

“Last year was a learning experience for me,” she said. “I’m much more comfortable with the team and I think I know the kids a lot better this year. Last year didn’t end up how I had hoped, but I feel like we’re prepared to be a lot better this year. If every one of our kids goes out there and gives everything they have on that day, then I will be happy regardless of what happens. If they do that, we’re going to do really well.”

The Racers should expect to secure a better outcome than last year’s seventh place, according to the coach.

“We got seventh place last year, so we’ve got a lot of teams that we’re looking to beat this year,” Severns said. “If we could beat EKU or Jacksonville State, that would be big. That would show we’re making a big jump. We’re getting there with the latest recruiting class.”

Severns said she’s learned once the players take the track, she can only watch the athletes do their best.

“Last year I think we went into it nervous and not knowing what to expect,” she said. “Once you’re there as a coach there’s nothing you can do but let them go compete. I’m excited, though, because I really think we have the opportunity to do some big things.”