Story by Blake Sandlin, contributing writer
Murray State’s women’s track and field team kicked off their new year this last weekend, traveling to Vanderbilt to compete in the Commodore Invitational in just their second match of their 2016 indoor season.
The Racers joined a stacked lineup of opponents at the VU Multipurpose Center, home of the Commodores. This meet was their second consecutive trip back to Vanderbilt, as they officially began their indoor season at the Vanderbilt Opener on Dec. 3.
The team faced off against multiple non-conference opponents, with the University of Alabama, Auburn and Louisiana State all in attendance. They were also joined by familiar OVC contenders Austin Peay State and Belmont.
For the sprinters, sophomore Tamdra Lawrence set her personal record and snagged a 9th place finish out of 77 runners in the 200-meter with a time of 24.32 seconds. Junior Taylor McCammon finished in 11th in 60-meter hurdles, finishing in 8.77 seconds.
In middle distance, freshman Norma Abdur-Rafia had the highest finish for the Racers with her 57.65 in the 400-meter to claim 19th place. The 800-meter had junior Rebekah Priddy claiming the Racer’s top finish and recording her new personal best with a 2:27, helping to give her 27th place overall.
In relay, the Racer’s team of senior Tia Weston, freshman D’Myia Thornton, sophomore Ida Mutai and Lawrence grabbed a 7th place finish out of 11 teams in the 4000-meter DMR to lead their team.
Priddy set a personal record in distance, and had Murray State’s best finish of 28th place out of 72 runners in the mile run, finishing in 5:14.
In the field events, Racer sophomore Rachel Gootee and junior Christina Meinhardt finished with 25th and 26th place performances in weight throw, respectively. McCammon put up a 5.70m in long jump to earn a spot in 13th place out of 35 participants.
Despite competing in an invitational packed with power-conference opponents, Head Coach Jenny Swieton expressed pride in her team’s ability to start their season off on a strong note.
“I am happy with the start to the season, it was great to see such high-level competition so early,” Swieton said. “It really shows everyone what it takes to be at the highest level. Now we can get back to work and make the necessary improvements to be where we want to at OVC.”
Swieton was especially pleased with the performances by her freshman newcomers.
“I was really happy with how most of the girls competed given the level of competition,” Swieton said. “Our freshmen really showed they will make an immediate impact on the program as well.”
The Racers will now turn their focus onto their upcoming meet, as they will be traveling to Indiana University to compete in the Gladstein Invitational. The two-day invitational kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 20th and will be held at the Gladstein Fieldhouse in Bloomington, Indiana.