“You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”
Tonia Pratt, sophomore of Michigan Center, Mich., said she did not fully understand that saying until a bus crash took her away from her passion: track and field.
On Jan. 25, Pratt and three other athletes were injured in a bus wreck while traveling to a meet in Indiana.
For two weeks following the incident, Pratt was unable to practice or compete in the throws category of the team.
After recovering, she set two personal records and earned two sixth-place finishes in the shot put and weight throw at the Grand Valley State meet in Allendale, Mich.
“That was the longest I had off,” Pratt said. “I really missed it. I was happy to be back again.”
Pratt and Alexis Love, senior from Palmetto, Fla., were named Murray State Co-Pepsi Athletes of the Week after a meet in Johnson City, Tenn., in mid-January.
Against a total of 36 competitors, Pratt took home the title in the weight throw with a personal best of approximately 59 feet.
Pratt and Love were also named the OVC’s Track and Field Athletes of the Week earlier in the season. After winning several awards as a sophomore, Pratt said she felt like her success was truly appreciated.
“It is good to know that people see how hard I am working and that I am improving,” Pratt said.
Michigan Center High School is where Pratt said her hard work in track and field truly began. Although Pratt also played varsity volleyball and basketball, she preferred track and field in the end.
“My sister always told me, if you want to play a sport in college, you have to really love it,” Pratt said.
Pratt’s sister, Latashia, was the first in her family to play a college sport. Even though her sister played basketball, Pratt said she admired her experience and still takes her advice very seriously.
In high school, Pratt not only performed in throws, but she ran as well. After practice, Pratt would always stay late and continue to work on her weak points in throws. Pratt’s sister encouraged her to put in the extra effort to help her improve.
She said her perspective in other sports helped her with what she participates in now. Pratt said being a versatile high school student helped her with workouts in college.
When she was deciding where to go for college, Pratt said her options were Murray State and Michigan State.
“I liked how small Murray was,” Pratt said. “You don’t have to walk 20 minutes to find classes.”
Pratt is an occupational safety and health major, and she said she hopes to find a job in that field when she graduates.
She said she does not have any defined career goals at this point, but said she is open to all of the options her major provides.
Pratt will be competing in the OVC Championships beginning today.
Story by Lexy Gross, Assistant News Editor.