The women’s track and field team remains optimistic despite finishing below expectations at the Mid-American Conference championships this weekend.
Held at Eastern Michigan University’s Bob Parks Track inside Bowen Fieldhouse in Ypsilanti, the Chippewas faced tough competition from around the MAC. The team finished ninth overall, with a final tally of 25.5 points, just ahead of Northern Illinois.
Though not coming out toward the top of the conference, director of track and field Willie Randolph sees the recent championship trip as one his team can build on as the outdoor season is approaching, hoping his young team can take positive aspects away from their performance.
“We saw a lot of good growth today,” Randolph said. “We hope the athletes understand that.”
Though 25.5 points might not seem like an all-around stellar performance, the team had many impressive individual efforts throughout the championships.
Senior Maddie Ribant finished in fourth place in the 3000m run with a time of 9:46.21, earning five points for her team. In the 5000m run, junior Krista Parks had a final time of 17:10.30 en route to four points and a fifth-place finish.
The young team had a good number of underclassmen athletes perform well in this weekend’s meet.
Freshman Alexandra Meilke, along with her sophomore teammates Bridget Doughty, Diamond Hamilton and Ravyn Baxter, earned two points in a seventh-place finish in the women’s 4×400 meter relay.
Along with the young competitors in the relay was freshman Marsielle McBeam, who came in fourth place in the women’s high jump with a height of 5 feet, 7.75 inches. She was able to get 4.5 points for her team’s score.
Randolph sees his team’s youth movement as an opportunity for improvement as the season continues. Although the results from this weekend were not necessarily what they were looking for, Randolph remained positive.
“These kids, within their youthfulness, grew together through adversity and trying to work together with what they had,” Randolph said.
Another freshman who had an exemplary performance was Shaya Wilkerson. She managed to earn her team a point while finishing in eighth place with a mark of 37 feet, 9.25 inches in the triple jump.
Her freshman teammate, Devene Brown finished in seventh place in the women’s shot put, gaining two points with a final mark of 47’10”.
The team knows that it’s filled with youth. This, to Randolph, means that it needs to continue to improve as a team.
“(The results) were not what we wanted,” Randolph said. “But it is going in the right direction for them to understand what they do together on and off the track makes a difference.”