Mercer women's track and field ready to tackle second competitive season

In its second year of competition, the Mercer Women’s Track Team is looking to build on its first year of participating in NCAA division one track and field.

Last year, the team had a number of highs throughout its season, which included high finishes from both long distance runners and sprinters. The team’s first meet of 2014 was the Savannah State Eyeopener, and it finished third overall. Linda Wrede, now a sophomore, finished first in both the 800- and 1500-meter runs. In the same event, freshman at the time Katie-Rose Allgood finished third, and Lia Sewell finished fourth. Kami Orrender, junior captain for the team, finished second in the 5000-meter run.

In its second meet of 2014, the team competed in the Palmetto Classic in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Once again, Wrede and Orrender finished at the top for the Bears. Wrede took first place in the mile with a time of 5:14.99, which is the fifth fastest time in Mercer history. She also took fourth overall in the 800-meter. Orrender joined Wrede with on the top of the podium with a first place finish in the 5000-meter with a time of 17:51.60, which is sixth best in Mercer history.

The Bears continued to compete in a number of invitationals in 2014, which included the Yellow Jacket Invitational, the Catamount Classic, the War Eagle Invitational and the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament.

In the conference tournament, the Bears earned a total of six points, which were solely earned by Wrede with a third place finish in the 3000 Meter Hurdle Chase.

This year, the Bears are competing in a number of the same meets in which they competed in 2014, which showed to be difficult, but they are now eligible to compete in the Southern Conference Championship. The SoCon has proven to be a strong conference in previous years, and Orrender believes that the team’s long distance runners as well as other track and field events will greatly contribute to the team’s overall points in the meets.

“I think we will succeed the most in distance running this year since a majority of the women’s track team is the women’s cross country team,” said Orrender. “While we have a lot of strong assets in our distance runners, this year, we have great mid-distance runners and sprinters as well as throwers.”

For the 2015 season, the Bears opened their season once again at the Savannah State Eyeopener in Savannah, Ga. The Bears had several members of their team finish on the podium. In the 5000-meter run, Jenna Gipperich finished second with a time of 18:34.92 while Courtney Czerniak, Shannon Millikin and Keightley Dungeon took fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

In the field events, Krista Kennedy, a fifth-year senior for the Bears, took second place in the javelin throw as well as fifth place in the discus throw. This is Kennedy’s first year competing for Mercer’s track team after being a member of Mercer’s softball team for the past four years.

In the 4×100-meter relay, Mercer’s “A” team finished in fifth place with a time of 51.25. For the last event of the day, Mercer’s “B” team took fifth in the 4×400-meter relay while the “A” team took sixth place.

The team’s next meet will take place on March 14 in Jacksonville, Ala., in the Gamecock Quad hosted by Jacksonville State.

Linda Wrede attempts to get in front of her opponents in last years Atlantic Sun Championship.
Linda Wrede attempts to get in front of her opponents in last years Atlantic Sun Championship.