Dalton State Lady Roadrunners Compete Indoors

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - by Erik Simpson
The Lady Roadrunners Track and Field team competed as a team in their first ever indoor meet in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday. Hosted by Emory University, the Lady Birds had eight ladies in various distance events.
The day began with freshman Reagan Guess and sophomore Morgan King running the 5,000 meters. The grueling 25 lap race saw both ladies run their personal best for 5,000 meters on the track. Reagan finished in 21:05, while Morgan managed a 22:38. It was a great effort from both ladies, who had each battled through recent minor injuries to get to the starting line.
The next event on the day was the mile run – a distance never run by a roadrunner in the past.
Whoever won the race would also have the school record. Sophomore Kay Vradenburgh finished fifth in her section just ahead of freshman Rachel Ward. Those places were hard earned in a race with a lot of jostling and elbows, something more prevalent in indoor meets than in outdoor contests. Though neither lady was satisfied with her time (5:54 and 5:58 respectively), it was great experience for an early season meet.
Sophomore Jen Rivera took the stage next in the 800 meters. She went out hard and aggressive, but the early fast pace took its toll on her over the second half of the race. Finishing in right at three minutes, it was a great effort for the early season.
Junior Hayley Hight, and freshmen Alex Gass and Rebecca Poe ran another previously uncontested distance for the Dalton State Roadrunners. 3,000 meters is a distance usually only run in indoor meets. All three ladies had great races with Alex finishing in 12:22 and Rebecca right behind her in 12:32. Hayley had led the three Roadrunners through 14 of the 15 laps in the race and looked to set the school record, but a mix up in the lap counts caused her to step off the track before she had run her full 15 laps. Needless to say, it was a great learning experience.
In the last event of the day, the distance medley relay, each participant runs a different distance. There is a 400-meter leg, an 800-meter leg, a 1200-meter leg, and a 1600-meter leg. A last-minute illness caused Morgan King to be called in to run the relay. She bravely ran to get changed back into her racing clothes with less than 15 minutes until race time. After a second mix up on the day, Morgan also had to run a longer leg of the race than she had agreed to run. She took it in stride and ran her best when she thought the days running was over for her. What a great attitude! In the race, Kay Vradenburgh anchored the team and ran down Reinhardt College's final runner and went from about 10 seconds down to winning by more than 10 seconds.
Coach Dean Thompson's comments:
"It was definitely a day to learn. We learned that we're right where we are supposed to be with our training. We ran well in the longer events and struggled a little in the shorter events, which I expected given where we are in our schedule. Over the next month, those shorter distances will begin to come into focus and we will look sharper."

"We learned a little about running indoor track meets. It's a different race indoors and there are things we will definitely do better next time."
"We learned that, even when things don't go just right, there is no need to panic, and making the best of what we have makes for better experience.  I felt so bad for Hayley and Morgan today. Neither of them asked to be placed in the circumstances in which they found themselves, but both of them are going to better going forward for having dealt with them."
"They competed hard today, and I'm always proud of this group of great young women. In particular today, Reagan and Rebecca far surpassed my expectations, which was great to see. I could not be prouder of the way Morgan handled herself when called upon to do a little extra."
"Now that we have knocked the rust off, we're ready to go to Daytona Beach in five weeks to get back on the track in the more comfortable surroundings of the outdoors!"
The Lady Birds will have a few weeks off before the outdoor season starts. They will travel to Daytona Beach, Fla. on February 23 to compete in the Embry-Riddle Invitational.



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