After several consecutive weekends of poor weather, the women’s track team took advantage of sunny skies Saturday at the Hilltopper Relays hosted by Western Kentucky.
“We had some really bright spots,” Head Coach Jenny Severns said. “We had some consistent performances. We had some people PR, but we had a lot of people perform consistently the way they have been all year. That was good. We definitely need to see that consistency with the team.”
Junior Tonia Pratt continued her season of dominance in the hammer throw and shot put events, taking home a pair of top five finishes, including first place in the hammer throw with a mark of 183 feet, 11 inches.
A large number of underclassmen also stepped up for the Racers.
Freshman Victoria Yocum posted personal bests in each of her two events.
The Bardstown, Ky., native made her debut in the 400-meter dash, earning a fourth place finish with a time of 57.64 seconds.
Yocum also competed in the 200-meter dash and took home a 14th place finish with a time of 25.12.
Sophomore Hannah McAllister joined added some impressive performances of her own, finishing two spots ahead of Yocum in 12th place in the 200-meter.
McAllister also posted a personal best in the 100 meter dash, with a time of 12.00 seconds – earning a fourth place finish.
Sophomore Emma Gilmore earned a second-place finish in the 800 meter with a time of 2:15.34.
Severns said she was pleased with the performances of some of the team’s younger members, but that she did not see it as a surprise.
“I wouldn’t say it’s surprising,” Severns said. “We see (the underclassmen) every day so we know that it’s coming. It’s good though. We definitely need it. They’re emerging as leaders of this team in the future.”
Sydney Potts and Kiara Austin joined Pratt with successes of their own in the field events.
Potts earned a second-place finish in the javelin throw with a mark of 41.39 meters.
Austin set a personal best mark of 5.33 meters in the long jump and earned a 14th place finish.
“So far I’ve been pretty satisfied with how my outdoor season is going,” Austin said. “As long as I can stay consistent and improve that much more in the long haul to improve the team, I’m fine with that.”
The Racers now prepare to head to Columbus, Ohio this weekend for the Jesse Owens Classic, hosted by Ohio State University.
“This weekend is just a good opportunity to see some really great competition,” Severns said. “It’s fun to go to meets like these because you see people really step up and do big things just because everyone is doing so well around them.”
After this weekend, the Racers have just one more meet before their season culminates at the OVC Outdoor Championships, May 2 and 3 in Edwardsville, Ill.
Severns, however, said she isn’t looking too far in the future.
“The biggest thing for us is just continuing what we’ve been doing all year,” she said. “We need to continue making little jumps here and there because at the end of the year those add up big.”
The Jesse Owens Classic begins today at 4:30 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio.
Story by Jonathan Ferris, Staff writer