Tennessee Tech’s Women’s Track and Field Team has continued its momentum from the indoor season to the outdoor season. With a fresh group of young ladies, the team was able to keep having record-breaking performances.
“We have reverted back to fundamentals as far as running technique and understanding what they are doing once their feet hit the ground as opposed to just turning over and going,” said assistant coach Eugene Frazier.
The team has a scheduled total of six meets, including the Ohio Valley Conference Championships. Opening up at the Vanderbilt Invitational, the Golden Eagles walked away with four school records in just about every sector of the sport: sprints, mid-distance, relays, and throws. Freshman D’Airrien Jackson, shattered the women’s 400m dash breaking the previous school record of 58.01 running a time of 52.64. Jackson has a great possibility to qualify for the Olympic trials, which has an entry time of 52.3.
“I felt excited when I broke the school record. I didn’t know until my teammates came over and excitedly told me. Before the race my coach texted me and told me not to be nervous and that my plan was to “get out” the first part of the race. I told myself that I was not tired, to keep pushing, and that helped mentally,” said Jackson.
Sarah Brandt, junior, broke the record in the women’s 800m with a posted time of 2:11.96, six seconds faster than the previous record of 2:17.02. Brandt also came back at the second meet of the season, Florida Relays breaking her own record running a time of 2:10.86. The 4×1 relay consisting of Sharnique Leonce, Na’Asha Robinson, Tiara Hymon, and Jackson also took one of the four records in the books posting a time of 46.75. To top off the season opener, thrower Antonia Susnjar, coached by Samantha Linck, slightly broke the record that was set in 2002.
“We incorporate speed, plyos (plyometrics), and a lot of power based movements with work in the weight room to get Antonia strong power in her event. I expect her to place at conference,” said Linck. Susnjar threw the javelin a total distance of 124 feet 10 inches on the second day of the meet.
“Javelin is a very technical event, a lot of puzzle pieces need to match up in order to PR (personal record) or have a good meet. The competition at Vanderbilt was just an ‘oil check.’ I was happy and relieved once I broke the school record because one of my assignments that I have was finished. Some other assignments that I have to accomplish are to PR, be a top OVC Championship scorer and hopefully to qualify for regionals,” said Susnjar.
A few members of the team traveled to Gainesville, Florida to compete in the second meet of the season, Florida Relays. This time, two more school records fell, the 4×8 and the 4×4. Members of the 4×8 relay consisted of Crystal Liebenberg and experienced runner Madison Stremler. The 4×4 was also loaded starting off with indoor OVC champion, Robinson.
“I demand an athlete to actually think about what they are doing instead of just going through the motions. We had a good indoor and hopefully it will carry over to outdoor,” said Frazier. Not even mid way through their outdoor season, the track and field team is set to compete April 15 and 16 at the Austin Peay Invitational in Clarksville, Tennessee.