By: Alice Coughlin
The Lady Vikings embraced the track one last time for the season at the Eastern Kentucky Invitational at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky. Berry College track and field competed against schools like Bellarmine University, the University of the Cumberlands, Lindsey Wilson College, Northern Kentucky University, Georgetown College, Morehead State University, Marshall University, Berea College, Centre College and Asbury College. Six Lady Vikings competed in the last track meet of the year in three different events.
The first event for the Lady Vikings was the 1500 meters. Sophomore Katy Jordan raced in the first heat of the 1500 meters. Jordan raced to 30th place for a time of 5:42.20. Senior Jenn Cook represented the Lady Vikings in the second heat for the 1500 meters. Cook raced the 1500 meters in 4:54.87 for fourth place overall.
The next event for the Lady Vikings was the 800 meters. Senior Keri McGinnis raced an impressive 800 meters in 2:27.61. McGinnis came in 10th place for the event and earned herself a new personal record.
The final event for the Lady Vikings was the 5000 meters; the women approached the track ready to take on a few quick and competitive heats of the classic distance. Sophomore Charlotte Collins, senior Jenn Cook, freshman Nicole Fredette and senior Keri McGinnis raced in the first heat of the event. Collins had a breakthrough performance for her sophomore year of running and for the track season. Collins came in 22nd place in an impressive time of 19:40.46. Cook paced Collins during the race and also came in 22nd place in a time of 19:40.46. Collins' race was a mere eight seconds away from her personal record. Personal records are indeed something that every runner races with the intention of achieving. However, personal records do not have to be the only value of a race. Collins' race represents a strong performance, a well-executed run and the diligence and training of two entire running seasons.
Fredette also ran in the 5000 meters. Fredette raced to 30th place in a time of 21:22.81. This was Fredette's final track race of a successful first year on Berry College's running teams. McGinnis raced the 5000 meters for the first time on the track. McGinnis raced to 31st place in 21:28.88 for an instant first-time-race personal record.
In the second heat, senior Sara Walcott represented Berry College. Walcott had an aggressive and smart race in her last collegiate 5000 meters. Walcott raced to seventh place in a time of 18:23.22. Walcott proved her ability to go out quick with the leaders and stick with it right to the very end. Walcott's time was a personal record by seven seconds.
In reflecting on Walcott's race, Coach Paul Deaton said, "It's impressive that Sara has really taught herself how to kick. For someone who didn't think they had the speed, she has proven otherwise."
For Walcott's final track race, she hung with the tough pace and finished exactly how she intended to complete her track career. In the final lap of the race, Walcott literally flew around the bends of the track and crossed the finish line under the glow of the field lights and in the glory of finality.
Sara Walcott, Jenn Cook and Keri McGinnis are three seniors who have poured their hearts and souls into Berry College running. They are the shining examples of dedicated and successful college athletes. For the past four years, Walcott and Cook have given their all to this team. From their freshman year, they have developed into runners that guide the team in their performance and with their leadership. McGinnis joined the team her sophomore year and has made running with the Vikings a priority, even while she was devoted to two additional sports. These seniors have become the foundation for a team that strives to encourage, that strives for improvement, and that strives for success. These runners will certainly leave a lasting impression with the rest of the Vikings for years to come.
The Lady Vikings will have one more chance to race this season at the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon in Nashville, Tenn. on April 27.