Racers hope to achieve higher position

Head Coach Jenny Severns said the upcoming meet in Allendale, Mich. is the final chance for Murray State to gain a quality position in the OVC Championships.

The Grand Valley State meet is the last indoor meet the Racers will attend this season. After the meet today and Saturday, Severns said the coaching staff will determine who goes to the championships.

“We know a handful of people who are going,” Severns said. “But it’s not definite yet who will go to the OVC.”

Severns said only 25 Racers will attend the championships for indoor track events. Because the GVS meet provides competition on all levels, Severns said younger athletes will have a chance to gain high marks in their events.

Alexis Love, senior from Palmetto, Fla., recently named the OVC’s Adidas Track and Field Athlete of the Week, said there is some pressure on the team to do well at the GVS.

“This meet itself is intense for most of the girls,” Love said.

Since the meet is one of the last for many schools, Severns said most teams will be motivated to reach national qualifying times. The team has been focusing in practice on maintaining a strong composure and tolerating pain.

“Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is absolutely necessary,” Severns said.

Several athletes will be under the spotlight this weekend as the Racers compete in Michigan. Love said she is looking forward to her last regular-season meet.

“I’m using Grand Valley as a confidence boost,” Love said. “I know where I’m supposed to be and so this meet will let me know what I need to work on.”

At the Niswonger Invitational in Johnson City, Tenn., Love placed first in the 200-meter dash and second in the 60 meters. She also received a 400-meter title with a time of 57.36 this season.

Love said if athletes are going to change or improve any aspect of their event for the OVC Championship, the GVS meet is where it needs to happen. Her personal goals for the GVS meet are becoming more aggressive, getting off of the block faster and being stronger in the four-by-four relays.

Severns said many other athletes have demonstrated tremendous promise this season, which she knows will carry over to the GVS meet. Sharda Bettis and Tonia Pratt also received titles this season and broke several personal records. Pratt has not competed in a week, but receives high points for her throws.

LaShea Shaw, Emma Gilmore and Ashley Conway are also expected to do well at the GVS meet. Gilmore, freshman from Locks Heath, England, is expected to focus on the 600-and-800-meter dashes, according to Severns.

Love said the realization of the GVS meet being her final regular-season indoor event has not affected her yet.

“I know this is my last indoor meet, but I’ve been trying not to focus on that,” Love said. “I’m sure when I warm up it’ll all hit me.”

Story by Lexy Gross, Assistant News Editor.