Track sets sights on OVC title

The Murray State track and field teams will travel to Cape Girardeau, Mo., this weekend to compete in this weekend’s OVC Outdoor Championships. Head Coach Jenny Severns said she is ready to see her team make an impact.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I think we can do some pretty big things. OVCs are about going in and doing what you’ve done all season. You don’t need any miraculous performances, but you’ve got to repeat what you’ve been able to do during the season. The teams that go in and repeat their performances will do really well.”

The Racers prepared for the OVC Championships last week with the Showdown on the Cumberland hosted by Austin Peay.

“It was just a fun little meet for us,” Severns said. “For the field events, it was a good opportunity for us to get into a rhythm and get in some practice. For the running events we got a workout out of it. We wanted to make sure we could race hard while we were tired, because that’s what we’re going to have to do at the OVCs.”

Freshman runner Alexis Love looks to impress this weekend at the OVC Championships. She will likely qualify for the NCAA?Championships and compete in the Olympic 200-meter trials later this year. || Photo courtesy of Sports Information

Severns said she expects to see success continue this weekend.

“Alexis Love has a chance to do really big things,” she said. “Tonia Pratt’s ranked first in the discus and second in the shot put. That’s huge for a freshman. That’s why if we just go in and do what we’ve been doing all year we can be successful.”

The OVC Championships, an already difficult competition, also threaten to be one of the hottest events the Racers have competed in this year.

“(The heat) will change the dynamic,” Severns said. “The person that is willing to put themselves through the most pain is the one who will do well. You have to know going in that it’s going to be painful, and you just have to deal with it. I tell my girls if it’s painful, it should make you happy and it should fuel you to keep pushing.”

Severns said she expects to see her outdoor team do well into the OVCs and beyond. Several team members will warrant a close watch as the season comes to a close next month.

“Alexis Love will probably be in the opening round NCAAs,” she said. “Tonia Pratt has a chance of that as well. She’s already qualified for junior nationals in three events. LaShea Shaw and Sydney Potts have a good shot at junior nationals as well.”

Students should also look for Love to compete for the Olympic trials this year in the 200-meter sprint.

Despite the team’s accomplishments this year, the second-year head coach said she is focused on her team staying levelheaded.

“I think everyone is business-as-usual right now,” she said. “That’s the goal. We’ve been talking about OVCs since January, so we just talk about our goals. This is the first OVC (Championship) for me that I’ve not been really nervous. As a coach, you really have no control once it’s time for the meet. The work is done, and now it’s up to them. I have confidence in our team, and I know what we’re capable of.”