Story by Justin Gaston, Contributing writer
The Racers will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia and Springfield, Missouri this weekend. Racers Head Coach Jenny Swieton is using both meets for quality competition. The middle distance and distance runners will compete in Virginia and the sprinters will compete at Missouri State.
Swieton said she wants to see her team push for faster times. One runner in particular she wants to see perform is sophomore distance runner Vallery Korir, whose 10K time is on the brink of qualifying for nationals this year.
“She’s come to me and told me, ‘Coach, I know I can run faster,” Swieton said.
Swieton said she thinks Korir will have a great opportunity to run an even better time than before during the Virginia Challenge at the University of Virginia, which has more than 1,200 competitors listed to participate this Friday.
Another runner Swieton said she is looking forward to seeing compete is sophomore distance runner Rebekah Priddy. Priddy has already broken the school record in the 2K steeplechase and will be pushed to set another new record competing.
One of the reasons Swieton chose to compete in the Virginia Challenge instead of the Jesse Owens Invite at Ohio State is because the distance events have more competitors and more events.
Swieton said the meet at Missouri State will not have nearly as many competitors but offers quality competition for their sprinters and will also give the Racers a chance to face some of their OVC opponents.
“Austin Peay will be there; they have some very good sprinters. There will be some other good teams there as well,” Swieton said.
As the season heads toward an end, Swieton said she will be testing her runners in the events they are less accustomed to running rather than putting them in the events they are used to.
“I think putting them in events they aren’t use to running has helped them more in the events we need them to run,” Swieton said. “I think running the 400 has helped Tamdra [Lawrence] run better in her other races.”
Swieton also said she is confident in the Racers. She said she believes they still have much more left and will continue improving throughout the end of the season heading toward the OVC Championship.
“I think, at worst, we need to finish where we did in the Indoor Championships,” Swieton said.
The Racers will be facing quality competition the remainder of this month, as they will also be attending the 50th Annual Gina Relays at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, the following week.
These large meets are not scheduled by accident, as Swieton wants the team to be ready running full throttle for the OVC championships, which take place on May 13.