A sneak peak of the future is in store for the Ohio State’s women’s track team as it makes its way to Geneva, Ohio, to compete in the SPIRE NCAA Division I Invitational this weekend.
At the invitational, the Buckeyes are slated to get a preview of the facilities that are also scheduled to host the Big Ten Indoor Championships Feb. 27 and 28 and March 1.
While all outdoor tracks remain constant, many indoor tracks vary depending on the facility.
The French Field House, home to OSU’s men’s and women’s track teams, has a 200-meter track. SPIRE Institute’s facility houses a 300-meter track.
Coach Karen Dennis said she’s happy to get a sneak peak at the track two weeks prior to the championship meet so the team can fine tune its skills and put the finishing touches on its preparedness for that specific track.
“We’re going to familiarize ourselves with the venue,” Dennis said. “While at the same time, there will be probably eight of the Big Ten schools there, so we will get a chance to get a real good feel where we are at versus that quality of competition.”
Junior sprinter and jumper Abie Ehimwenman said acquainting the athletes with the facility beforehand will help get rid of the nerves and make the venue not feel so “foreign.”
“If you are able to do your best at a meet where most of your competition is going to be two weeks later, (that) gives you confidence that you can perform well against your rivals and the people you need to beat,” Ehimwenman said.
Running at the SPIRE invitational this weekend can also help the Buckeyes identify where they should be moving forward.
“Once the team does get a preview of the meet, they will start to get that mental picture in their head,” redshirt-senior sprinter Ashlee Abraham said.
Abraham identified an area the team has been working on throughout the season — mental toughness.
“Last week, I had the best 60-meter race of my life. I (had a personal record). I won. I was feeling great,” Abraham said. “But yay, all that happened, but now it’s like OK, back to Monday.”
The formula for success, Abraham added, is to mentally train your mind to keep pushing and preparing for what comes next.
Dennis agreed that while many of the Big Ten competitors are strong on paper, she is not focused on matching up against them.
“I have to look at my strengths and how to maximize our ability to score. My focus is totally on this team and how this team can do in the championship,” Dennis said.
The meet is set to begin Friday at 2 p.m. and continue through Saturday.