With women’s track season underway, many personal and school records have already been broken which will give the team further motivation for upcoming championships.
Junior athlete Sarah Brandt said, “When you look at that record book, it’s like your mouth starts watering. We all think ‘I want this one.’ So when we’re all thinking about records, races are a chance to show that off. “
The Golden Eagle track team’s season started powerfully with the breaking of four school records at the Vanderbilt Indoor Opener Dec. 5, 2015. School records were broken in the 200m, 400m and 800m individually, and four career best marks were set at Vanderbilt.
The relay team of Na’Asha Robinson, Jaydean Joseph, Tiara Hymon and D’Airrien Jackson also crushed the previous school record for the 4x400m relay by more than 13 seconds.
With that momentum from the Vanderbilt Indoor Opener, the Golden Eagles continued to prove themselves as a fierce competitor. Head Coach Wayne Angel contributes part of the season’s success to that first meet.
“After that first meet, the momentum started going and the morale was high. We hadn’t done this before. I mean we are breaking records left and right,” said Angel.
With that momentum in tow, the second standout meet was the Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame Feb. 5 and 6. Not only was this the first time that Tech had competed in distance medley relay this year, but the combination of Brandt, Crystal Liebenberg, D’Airrien Jackson and Jenna Storms proved to be unstoppable as they shattered Tech’s previous record with a time of 12:07.21.
Brandt said, “It’s really fun being a part of a relay because it’s something bigger than yourself. It’s not just you out there; it’s your teammates that you’re handing that baton to.”
Coach Angel stated, “Notre Dame has been our best meet so far. Every athlete that was there did great.”
With several record-breaking meets behind them, the next big championship to anticipate is the OVC Championship at Tennessee State University this upcoming weekend, Feb. 26 and 27. The team is preparing for the meet by thought out practice times, explained Brandt. Last week was a down week, and the team will practice heavily this week before easing up the day before the meet.
Coach Angel said, “Right now we are at a point where we’re slowing things down. We are sharpening them, and getting them prepared both mentally and physically. It’s a matter of putting them at the starting line and going for it.”
Not only has the team proven themselves on the track, but also in the classroom.
“The group of athletes we have this year is very young, but they are very talented and bright. We were recently named All Academic by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association with a team GPA of 3.1,” said Angel.
Brandt said another key to the success of the team is the bond that the athletes share.
“We are always trying to pull together as a team and improve our team dynamic. When you have a group of girls that you can lean on, it makes it that much easier on the track. I think that is part of our success. We do that type of maintenance, and that makes for a supportive environment where we can push each other to get better,” Brandt said.
When asked about the improvement of the team from last year to this year, Angel said it is a “night and day” difference.
“To put it in nutshell, the kids are very committed and dedicated. They want to be good, and they are doing that in the classroom and on the track,” said Angel.
Haley Harris, a sophomore Tech student, said, “The track team definitely doesn’t get as much credit as they should. They are having a great season, and I’m excited to see how the OVC Championship turns out.”