Eagle Track to Get Test Run For OVCs by Competing at Murray Meet
One week after the Morehead State track and field teams put together a strong performance at Miami University's Blizzard Buster, the Eagles return to action with the two-day Margaret Simmons Invitational at Murray State this weekend.
Competition will take place both at the Marshall Gage Track at Roy Stewart Stadium as well as Hamilton Field. Friday's events will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET, with Saturday's start time slated for 10:30 a.m. ET.
It will be Morehead State's first trip to Murray since 2011 when the Ohio Valley Conference championship took place there. The Racers will host this year's OVC meet in mid-May. According to available records, the Eagles have never competed at the Margaret Simmons Invitational.
"It is the site of the conference meet in less than two months and there'll be lots of OVC teams in it. So, it'll be a good dress rehearsal," said MSU coach Clay Dixon. "In the last few years, it's turned into a pretty solid meet. It's really grown and it should turn out to be decent competition. The fast heats will include (sophomore) Michael (Dunagan) and (freshman) Lucy (Singleton) in the 800m. If you only have two or three people (per team) in the fastest section, it shows the quality of the meet."
A total of 28 teams will be represented, including OVC members Austin Peay, SIU Edwardsville, Tennessee-Martin, Tennessee Tech and host Murray State. In addition, former conference foe Jacksonville State and future league member Indiana State will also field teams.
Atop coach Dixon's agenda is for the women's 4x800-meter relay team to make a run at the school record (9:34.51), which was set in 2013. The foursome of Singleton, sophomore Laikin Tarlton, sophomore Mary Alice Thornburg and sophomore Riliegh Owens finished fourth in 9:56.23 last weekend, but did so after each competed in the 1,500-meter run. The same four will toe the line at Murray, where the relay will be the quartet's lone Friday event. Start time for the race is 6:50 p.m. ET.
"Last week the four girls in the relay had just run a 1,500 two hours before. This week they won't go in (to the relay) tired. That's why we're doing it now," Dixon said. "I think we have a shot at (the record). So, we're going to go after it this week. It's the only distance event those four will run that night, so it seems like a good idea (to try to break it now). So, we're going to go do it."
The lineup of the events spread out over two days will also benefit Eagles in other races.
"It's normally the second event (of the day) for our 200m runners," Dixon said. "Here they will be fresh going in and they will just be able to focus on it that night."
Thirty-one Eagles are entered a total of 40 times in 11 events. Only a few will compete in more than one race. That group mostly includes sprinters. Freshman Grace Lopez will run in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. She will be joined by sophomore JD Camacho, junior Dallas Jones, junior Sierra Kelley, junior Tayla Lee and freshman Keana Meriwether in the shorter distance. Camacho, Jones, Kelley, Lee, Lopez, Meriwether and freshman Christiana Lytle will also represent MSU in the 400-meter dash.
The 200m and 4x800-meter relay are the only events that will take place on Friday. The rest of the competition for the Eagles will be Saturday.
The 1,500-meter run will start the team's second-day races. Sophomore Hannah Hostetler, freshman Megan Bush and Tarlton are MSU's women's entries. Sophomore Justin Bland, sophomore Liam Dale, Dunagan, sophomore Peyton Fairchild, sophomore Jarrett Forrest, sophomore Wes Grogan, Lucas, Montgomery, Murray, freshman Ethan Vance and sophomore Jacob Vogelpohl will all run in the men's race.
In the 800-meter run, Owens, Singleton and Thornburg will toe the starting line; while sophomore Toby Cook, Dunagan and Ortiz-Ramirez will represent the Eagle men. Both Singleton (eighth) and Dunagan (third) enter with among the fastest times in the field.
The 5,000-meter run will be the meet's final individual event. Freshman Cloe Copas, sophomore Isabella Copher, sophomore Justin Chavez, sophomore Kyle Embry and sophomore Kyler Stewart will compete in that race.
To follow the meet's results live, click here.
Morehead State will take a week off before returning April 8-9 for Bellarmine's Jim Vargo Invitational.
By Brad Laux, MSU Athletic Media Relations