Photo courtesy of ohiostatebuckeyes.com
Junior Letecia Wright, who competes in sprints and hurdles for the Ohio State women’s track and field team, shares her perspective from the Big Ten Indoor Championships at Penn State this past weekend.
For the past two years of my college career, my team has been ninth at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. When the team scores went up at the end of the track meet, our heads would look down.
However, things changed this year. For the first time in my collegiate years of running, my team finished second out of 10 teams. I remember at the end of the meet this weekend my fellow juniors were crying and hugging each other. We knew our team had accomplished something we were not expected to do.
Weeks leading up to Big Ten, my team and I realized we had a chance to do very well. We had multiple people ranked in many individual events and our relays were ranked in the top five in the conference.
We left to drive six hours to Penn State last Thursday. During the long bus ride, the whole team laughed, watched movies and projected how fast we were going to run that weekend.
Come Friday morning, we were up bright and early at Penn State practicing for the first day of war on Saturday. During our practice, everyone practiced their respective races and field events.
After practice, I could feel the anxiety in the room during our team meeting. We all knew the first day of Big Ten was going to be a war and everyone had to run fast to make it back to finals on Sunday. I went to sleep with butterflies sitting in my stomach and dreams of winning going through my head.
The first day of Big Ten Championships, our team shattered several school and personal records. Our two multi-event competitors both placed top eight and started the day off right.
We also had three 60-meter hurdlers, three short sprinters, a 600-meter runner, two 400-meter sprinters and countless others make it back to finals on Sunday. Our distance medley relay got fifth, which also gave us good points for the first day of competition.
Everyone left the meet excited because everyone ran their fastest times. A few also qualified for NCAA Nationals.
Going to sleep Saturday was hard for me. I knew my team could do well, but I never imagined we would finish second overall as a team. I also never imagined that we would have as many girls place top eight to put points on the board.
The final day of Big Ten came and it was a true war. Sophomore Shaniqua McGinnis caused an upset in Happy Valley by beating Penn State’s best 400-meter runner and giving us 10 crucial points.
While warming up, I took a fall over a hurdle and hit my head.
I really wanted to win and run faster, especially after watching Shaniqua win. Sadly, I did not win the hurdles because of a small mishap at the start. Luckily, my other teammate won it, I battled back for second and freshman Christienne Linton got seventh.
These were big points for my team. After this moment, I was crushed about not winning, but had to move on because the rest of the day was filled with many personal records and places for my teammates.
The meet was filled with great performances by all the multi-event, sprinters, distance and field event girls. At the end of the meet, we cried, hugged and expressed how proud we were of each other.
Even with some of the disappointments we had during the meet, we all worked hard to run fast and support everyone. Now some of us get ready for NCAA Nationals and outdoor season.
Though the Big Ten Championships were a great present, we now have to look to the future.