Sadie Appleton, Correspondent
The Jacksonville State University women’s track and field team returned to the Crossplex facility in Birmingham this past week to compete in the 2020 Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships.
JSU began their spring season at the Crossplex for indoor meets hosted by Samford and UAB. The team looked to improve this year after finishing tenth in last year’s OVC indoor championship.
Three seniors were looking to lead the Gamecocks at the two-day event including jumper Madison Rollins, runner Emily Sorrell and multi-event specialist Baylee Porch. Porch and Rollins have made impressive performances in the high jump event, clearing 1.65 and 1.55 meters, respectively, making them some of the best in the league this year.
Other notable performances include freshman Kha’myah Townsend’s 11.16 meter triple jump and redshirt sophomore Casey Phelan’s 3.65 meter pole vault, the fourth-best in the conference.
Wednesday, February 26 opened the first day of the championships. In the field, Rollins cleared 1.63 meters in the high jump finals to tie for seventh. Sophomore Adrian Rock added on another point for the Gamecocks after locking in eighth place in the weight throw.
On the track, sophomore Ashton Coats set a career best in the prelims of the 60 meter hurdles, turning in a time of 8.98 and qualifying for the following Thursday’s final after placing sixth. Meanwhile, junior Tylynn Register was just shy of qualifying for finals with a prelim time of 9.74 in the same event.
Coats continued her work on the final day of the championship. She maintained her seed, placing seventh overall with a 9.23 time in the 60 meter hurdles.
Coats went on to join Sorrell, Jaleah Harris and Leandra Custodio for the 4×400 event where the Gamecocks finished seventh and less than a second behind Southeast Missouri.
Freshman Elizabeth Wetmore posted a 5:32.32 in the mile event, while Sorrell clocked a 2:21.32 in the 800, her final indoor event.
Casey Phelan went on to tie for fourth place with Austin Peay’s Morgan Bradley after clearing 3.59 meters in the pole vault. Connecticut native Harris just missed tallying points following a 4.95 meter long jump and placed ninth overall.
Two personal bests were set by Rock after she tossed 12.23 meters in the shotput and 16.19 in the weight throw to secure an eighth place spot and another point for JSU. Freshman London Shaw followed closely in her first OVC championship after a 12.21 meter throw in the shot put event.
Later, Porch was set to challenge for the indoor pentathlon win, but suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw from the event, concluding the day for the red and white. Her performance in the high jump portion was the second-best with a height of 1.61 meters.
Overall, the Gamecocks placed ninth in the team standings of the indoor championships. Austin Peay took the top spot on the podium, followed closely with a one-point margin by Murray State. While the team’s placement was improved on the previous year, head coach Steve Ray says injuries at key moments caused the squad to finish a few positions below what they hoped, despite several career and season bests.
Jacksonville State will move forward as they approach the outdoor portion of their season. In previous seasons, the Gamecocks have typically scored higher with additions of events such as the javelin. The squad will travel south later this week as they compete in the South Alabama Jaguar Open in Mobile, Alabama on March 6.