| Freshman Leads Track Team to Second Place
Although the women’s track team placed 2nd at the Berea invitational, losing to long-time rival, Centre College, Berea’s point leader, freshman Annie Dillon, proved herself a worthy athlete after earning 40 points.
The Women's Track and Field Team
Dillon set the stage for her incredible performance during her first event, the javelin throw. In fact, Dillon surpassed her competition with her first two throws, which flew twenty feet farther than those of her opponents. However, Dillon didn’t show her true potential until her third attempt; using a combination of grace and strength, Dillon threw 121’ 9”, her personal best. Incredibly, this throw came within a few inches of breaking the school record that was set in 1983 by Cindy Tobler. Coach Ambrose is optimistic about Dillon’s athletic abilities, “I look for her to break many school records and go to nationals in her career at Berea.”
Dillon commented that she has only trained “two years for discus and shot put, and just this year for javelin and hammer.” Regardless of Dillon’s athletic talents, she stays humble and acknowledges the role that others have played in allowing her to succeed. “I love my teammates. They are always supporting me and encouraging me to do my best.” Dillon added, “A couple of my teammates actually help me out with my techniques for my events.” Although Dillon single-handedly scored almost 20% of Berea’s points at this event, she was not the only athlete of interest.
Freshmen Natalee Barnes and Letisha Hemanes both earned a significant number of points. Barnes, an Ohio native, placed first in the 100 and 200-meter dashes and “anchored the winning 4x100 relay team,” according to Coach Ambrose. Hemanes placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the 100 and 200-meter dashes, falling behind Barnes by close to half a second in each event; she also participated in the 4x100 relay. While Barnes was the best female sprinter at the meet, Hemanes’ broader spectrum of athletic abilities allowed her to score more points than Barnes overall; in addition to her sprinting, Hemanes came in close 2nd in the long jump, losing first place by a little more than an inch. Hemanes, originally from Louisiana, was a bit disappointed in her performance; her personal record for long jump is 17’5”, which is over two feet farther than the mark she set at the meet. Hemanes notes, “I like to get better each time I run or jump.” with this motivation and her natural ability, Hemanes helps to gain points for her team. “The team is fun to be with which makes being at track meets together all day long a lot easier. And it also makes it feel like it’s not an individual sport; although we each have our own individual events, we contribute to the team,” comments Hemanes.
While Hemanes and Barnes both contribute to the 4x100 relay team, their efforts would be for naught without the help of freshman Enchanta Jackson and sophomore Keeshia Pace. Past meets have shown the 4x100 relay team to be consistently fast; at the Centre invitational, the relay team was able to beat Morehead State, a Division I school. Jackson also scored 3rd in the 400-meter dash, 4th in the 200-meter dash and 5th in the long jump, while Pace placed 3rd in the 100-meter.
Head Coach Ambrose is proud of his athletes and confident in their continuing improvement. “All of the girls are shining stars in my mind for just competing on the team,” notes Ambrose. “They have their academics, labor, and then spend two hours a day and give up their weekends in the spring for track meets.” Since the women’s track team beat Centre College on the 4th, Ambrose is able to take the recent, minor defeat into perspective, “The season is just underway and I am pleased with the progress so far. The team is very enthusiastic and they really pull for each other.” While the women did not beat Centre, they did dominate Lindsey Wilson, Georgetown, and Campbellsville University, earning a total of 211 points from twenty-one events. In fact, Lindsey Wilson, the college that placed third, only had 80 points; this huge point gap can be attributed to the outstanding success of several key athletes.
The women’s track and field performance at Berea’s invitational gives Coach Ambrose high expectations for future events. He notes, “We go to Atlanta this weekend for the Emory University meet where we will face stiff competition. Other meets this year will be at EKU, University of Louisville, Indiana, and another meet at Centre. We hope to have National qualifiers by the end of the season.”
The Emory Invitational takes place March 24 and 25 in Atlanta, Geor.