The distance medley relay team tied a school record and set the pace for the rest of the Murray State track and field team at the Indiana Relays.
With a time of 12:08.11, the team of juniors Abbie Oliver and Brittany Bohn, freshman Taylor Adcock and sophomore Emma Gilmore finished fifth in the event. Their time was the fastest in the OVC this year.
Oliver said she and her teammates wanted to break the record, and they knew they had a chance before the race.
“I think we were all ready and knew that we could do what we needed to do on the day,” she said. “We all went there with a goal and although we did tie it, we didn’t exactly break it, we did what we needed to do.”
Typically, the women run their individual events first, but in the meet the relay was their first event, keeping them fresh. Still, it was not an easy race.
“I was just running for my life,” Oliver said. “I was just hanging on to the girls ahead of me. I knew if I tried to race them rather than just run, then the time would just come with racing.”
Oliver also found success as an individual, as she posted a personal best of 18:11.41 in the 5,000-meter run.
Though many Racers finished in the top spots on the first day, they were not as competitive the second day, according to Head Coach Jenny Severns.
“Day one people came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and really getting after it,” she said. “They were really aggressive and I think part of that was there were some school records on the line. We’re still learning to compete day one and then come back and bring that same effort. It’s not that they’re not capable. It’s just mentally staying geared up is kind of tough.”
Despite any mental barriers, several women were able to set personal records, including junior Tonia Pratt in shot put, Oliver in the 800-meter run, sophomore Alicyn Hester in the 3,000-meter run and junior Ashley Conway in the long jump.
Severns said there is always the worry of reaching a plateau after setting so many personal bests, but she is not too concerned.
“I’m sure there will be a point in the season where we level off, but it’s OK as long as they keep getting better when it matters at the end of the year,” she said. “Each week we have a goal and know what we want to accomplish, and we know if we do that we’ll be where we want to be for OVC.”
In addition to the team setting the main goal of making it to the OVC Championships, members of the team also set personal goals.
Oliver said she has an ultimate objective she wants to achieve by the tournament, but she sets smaller goals she tries to meet each week in order to measure her improvement.
“I know I can run faster than what I did on the weekend and I have a lot of things to work on,” she said. “But it was my first 5K of the season and I was happy with it.”
The numerous personal records and high placement have given the team extra motivation, according to Severns.
“It actually gets them motivated to run even faster or throw even farther,” she said. “They start to imagine what they can do by the end of the season. People may get nervous some, but training helps them know they can get better.”
This week’s training was in preparation for the Saluki Open at Southern Illinois. The team is on the road today and Saturday, competing in Carbondale, Ill.
After this weekend, the team has only one more meet before the OVC Indoor Championships, which will be held Feb. 27-March 1 in Nashville, Tenn.
Oliver said all the team has to do is transfer the practices into the meets.
Said Oliver: “We’ve all been working hard, so we just have to put what we know we can do in a practice into a meet and (set personal records) and run faster and throw faster and jump further.”
Story by Ryan Richardson, Sports Editor