By: Alice Coughlin
The Lady Vikings competed in their first indoor track meet of the season at the University of the South for the Tiger Indoor Track and Field Invitational. Other teams in attendance included the University of the South, Emory University, Chattahoochee Tech, Mississippi College, Birmingham-Southern College, Huntingdon College, Bethel University, Ogelthorpe University, Millsaps College, Jacksonville State University and Lee University. The unscored meet provided the ideal opening setting for the Lady Vikings to refocus on racing on a track.
The differences between a cross country meet and an indoor track race can be felt by the participants and it can be clearly seen and heard by a spectator. In cross country, a runner's best chance of watching their teammate's race is by looking over their shoulder once they have crossed the finish line. But for indoor track, the various distances and the smaller competing arena give teammates the opportunity to intently watch and cheer for their comrades. For the spectator, viewing the competitors is much more accessible than it is in the sport of cross country. The undeniable quality of competing on an indoor track that is just 160 meters in length is felt as the crowd roars during a relay when the lead changes two or three times and as fans inch closer and closer to the edge of the track to be a part of that contagious energy.
The Lady Vikings were able to be part of that magnified energy and excitement through two events during the meet. Seniors Jenn Cook and Ellery Jones were the first to race from the team. Cook ran an impressive 3000 meter race in a time of 10:44.91 for first place. Cook ran her race with a conservative start and then tore down her previous pace with a rapid fire last mile split of 5:20. Jones placed fourth in the 3000 meter race with a time of 12:59.85.
The Lady Vikings formed three separate teams for the distance medley relay. The distance medley relay is comprised of four different distances which together create a 4000 meter race. The first runner completes 1200 meters, the second runner runs 400 meters, the third runner races 800 meters and the fourth and final runner completes 1600 meters.
The Lady Vikings formed a team composed of seniors, a team of the middle classes, or the sophomores and junior of the team, and a team of freshmen. The senior distance medley team participated in the first heat of the relays with a finishing time of 14:14.16. Their finishing time allowed them to secure third place among the two heats. Sara Walcott raced the 1200 meters in 3:59, followed by senior Casey Norris who ran the 400 meters in 1:15. Following Norris was Keri McGinnis who completed the 800 meters in 2:29. Lauren Hicks finished the relay with the 1600 meters which she ran in 6:31.
The "middle class" relay placed fifth among the two heats. Junior Lauren Nation began the relay by racing the 1200 meters in 4:20. Next in the 400 meters was sophomore Charlotte Collins who completed the distance in 1:15. Sophomore Katy Jordan followed after Collins with the 800 meters in a time of 3:05. Completing the middle class relay was sophomore Allison Preg. Preg completed the 1600 meter leg in a time of 5:56 for a total time of 14:36.82 for the relay.
The freshmen relay placed sixth among all of the distance medley relay teams. Courtney Barker was the starter for the freshmen relay. Barker completed the 1200 meter leg in 4:05. Leslie Stewart followed Barker in the 400 meters with a time of 1:29. Then, Annika Stryker raced the 800 meter leg in 3:10. Finishing the freshmen relay was Nicole Fredette with a time of 6:20 for 1600 meters. The freshmen ran a total time of 15:02.24 for the race.
The Lady Vikings had a successful start to their track season and look ahead to many more race opportunities to come. The Lady Vikings compete next at the Vulcan Invitational hosted by Birmingham-Southern College on Feb. 10 and 11.