The Murray State track team will compete in Nashville this weekend at the Vanderbilt Invitational. The Racers come off a strong showing last weekend at the Hilltopper Relays in Bowling Green, Ky.
Head Coach Jenny Severns said she likes what she is seeing from her team.
“I’m happy with last weekend,” she said. “The weather was super windy, which made it tough for some of the events, but I think everyone handled it very well. I just think we came together as a team very well. Everyone was cheering for one another, and it was just a good atmosphere. It was fun. It doesn’t hurt when Alexis Love is running the B standard (to qualify for the Olympic trials) or when Tonia Pratt breaks the record in the hammer throw.”
Love, a junior from Palmetto, Fla., ran for first place in both the 100 and 200-meter sprints. She improved on her personal best in the 100-meter with a time of 11.37 seconds. Her time of 23.26 in the 200-meter was nearly one second ahead of the other runners.
“It was fun,” Love said. “I would have liked to run a faster time in the 200, and that was kind of disappointing. In reality, you can’t break a school record every time you run. I know that, but I just don’t want to be satisfied. My goal is to always run my fastest, my mindset is to focus on reaching the goals I didn’t get in the last meet.”
Severns put Love’s performance in perspective.
“She’s having one of those phenomenal years where she (runs her personal best time) every time she races, and it’s almost becoming strange to her when she doesn’t,” Severns said. “She wants it. It was still her second-fastest time ever in the 200. She’s competitive.”
Love’s performance earned her OVC Track Athlete of the Week honors.
Tonia Pratt, freshman from Michigan Center, Mich., continued her breakout year by setting a new school record in the hammer throw with an impressive distance of 53.33 meters. The throw earned Pratt a sixth place finish for the competition.
Severns said she hopes the team carries the momentum from last weekend’s performance into this weekend’s matchups in Nashville.
“I’m looking for business as usual,” she said. “The outdoor season is going well. I think we are a better outdoor team than indoor, and I think we are showing that. As a whole, we are doing really well. We need to keep making improvements and stay tight as a team. You can’t do it alone. Nobody wins alone. The more we support each other the better off we’ll be.”
The competition in Nashville falls two weeks before the OVC Championship in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on May 4 and 5.