Women's track and field heads to Vanderbilt looking to outrun the competition
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012 23:03
After a 5th place finish at the Mid-American Conference (MAC) indoor track and field championships and a few weeks break from competition, the Miami University women’s track and field team is back in action for the first meet of their outdoor season. The team heads to Nashville, Tenn. this weekend for the Black and Gold Invitational, hosted by Vanderbilt University.
Miami is looking to build on its success from the indoor season and will be led by a mixture of experienced veterans as well as several freshmen.
“I feel good going into outdoor, mentally, because it's my favorite part of the season,” senior sprinter Diona Graves said. “Physically, I feel good, despite going pretty hard at practice the last two weeks. I don't think the time off will affect anything since we're used to it; and for the first meet we are taking it easy so it will be a gradual progression back into competition.”
Senior sprinter Rachael Clay is coming off of a stellar indoor season, including setting new school records in the 400-meter dash and as a member of the 4x400 relay team. Clay also holds the outdoor 2011 season-best time in the 400-meter dash, with a time of 56.18 seconds.
“I am historically a stronger runner outdoors,” Clay said. “Running the wider curves suits me better. I’m in really good shape, so I'm hoping to work on my speed more at the beginning of the outdoor season to help me get a strong start and be able to finish the race well.”
Several other RedHawks are looking to improve their résumés this season, including senior thrower Alexandra Roberts, who was the runner-up in the shot put at the MAC Indoor Championships, setting a new school record and personal best of 50-0.75 and eclipsing her own previous marks in both categories.
Freshman sprinter Charlotte Myers set personal bests in the 200 and 400-meter dash while also serving as the anchor for the record-setting 4x400 relay. Sophomore Erica Mudd will begin her title defense as well, as she attempts to repeat as MAC champion in the high jump.
“I think the girls have come to realize that we can be really good after how we competed throughout the indoor season,” Clay said. “Our confidence will help us going into outdoor. We are starting to look into qualifying for regionals and competing nationally.”
Defending 2011 MAC Champion in the 100-meter hurdles, junior hurdler Layne Baggett is coming off an up and down indoor season while competing in the 60-meter hurdles. Baggett did come within three-hundredths of a second of tying the current indoor record of 8.46 seconds though.
“I know I have to continue to train hard and stay focused if I want to defend my title,” Baggett said. “I have a target on my back, but I’m excited for the challenge ahead.”
The Red and White are eying the MAC Championship after coming so close in the indoor season and look to set a strong foundation starting Saturday.