By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn.—It is that time of year when the Tennessee Tech track and field team must put all of their hard work and training to the test. The Golden Eagles head to Oxford, Ala., to compete in the OVC Outdoor Championships on Thursday-Saturday.
"Obviously, we're looking forward to the OVC championships and what the future holds for Tech," head coach Wayne Angel remarked. "We are well prepared and focused for the task at hand."
The Purple and Gold squad placed eighth at last year's OVC Outdoor Championships, however, this year's team has shown a lot of potential as witnessed by their second-place finish at this year's indoor OVC's.
"I feel really good about our chances of being a top two team this week," Angel continued. "We had hoped to win indoors but we fell short, that's just how life is. We will be a much better team outdoors, we will get added help from the javelin, steeplechase, heptathlon, hurdles and of course our excellent relays."
Returning to the track to defend her OVC individual title is Na'Asha Robinson. In the 2016 Championships, N. Robinson claimed a first-place finish in the 400-meter with a time of 53.19. This season, N. Robinson has shown much growth in her 400-meter time as she recorded a season-best mark of 52.81 at the Weems Baskin Invitational on March 24. Robinson is also the current school-record holder in the 200-meter dash with a 23.56 mark set at the Weems Baskin Invitational this season, and is expected to be tough competition at this weekend's race.
Reigning OVC Outdoor Freshman of the Year, D'Airrien Jackson will also be a competitor to watch at this weekend's championships. Jackson holds the outdoor school records in the 400 and 800-meter races, as well as lent a hand in each of the 4x100, 4x400, and 4x800-meter relay teams.
Sharnique Leonce will be a go-to point scorer this weekend for the Tech team. Leonce will represent the Golden Eagles in multiple events and is expected to display solid performances in each heat. Leonce will compete in the heptathlon, high jump, 200-meter, 100-meter hurdles, 4x100-meter relay, and the 4x40-meter relay.
Newcomer Micayla Rennick will be another Tech athlete to keep an eye out for this weekend. Since her arrival on the Purple and Gold squad this season, she has quickly made a name for herself on the squad. Rennick will compete for the Golden Eagles in 1,500 meter, 3K steeplechase, and 5,000 meter races.
"I like where we have positioned ourselves," Angel said. "I believe we are one of three to four schools that have a legitimate chance to win. It is really up to the ladies now; they have to ask themselves how bad they want it. I am reminded of a quote by William Jennings Bryan who said, 'Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice, it is not a thing to be waited for, but a thing to be achieved.' If Tech wants the victory, they have to take it, no one is going to stand by and hand it over to them."
Festivities for the 2017 Outdoor Championships will be held at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Ala., on Thursday-Saturday. Events will get underway at 1 p.m. on Thursday, 9 a.m. on Friday, and 11 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets will be $3 a day or $5 for a weekend pass.
Photo by Thomas Corhern