By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information
OXFORD, Ala.—The Tennessee Tech track and field team made a dramatic comeback on the final day of competition to secure a third-place finish (91 points) at the Outdoor Ohio Valley Conference Championships.
"I am so proud of Tennessee Tech today," head coach Wayne Angel said. "These young ladies laid it all on the line. We tried our best and fell short, but that's part of pursuing and acheiving your dreams. Inspite of all of our outstanding performances, victory is not always guaranteed or under your control. We will still hold our heads high because we fought hard and gave it our best shot. We have nothing to be ashamed of."
The Eastern Illinois women secured the Outdoor OVC Title with 128 points, while Tennessee State placed second with 102 points. Murray State finished fourth with 89.5 points, while Austin Peay came in fifth with 87.33 points and Eastern Kentucky placed sixth with 87 points. Rounding out the competition was Jacksonville State in seventh (75.33), Southeast Missouri in eighth (70), SIUE in ninth (47.33), Belmont in 10th (27.5), and UT Martin in 11th (13).
Na'Asha Robinson claimed the individual title in the 200-meter with a Tech and OVC record time of 23.13. Her time topped Murray State's Alexis Love's former record of 23.33, which she established in 2012, and topped her school record time set earlier in the season at the Weems Baskin Invitational of 23.56. Teammate Sharnique Leonce placed fifth overall in the race with a time of 24.14.
"I am very proud of Na'Asha in the 200 and 400 and the relays," Angel continued. "She put on a clinic today. I am also very proud of D'Airrien and Jaydean for their performances in the 400 meter and the relays, they are truly awesome!"
N. Robinson also claimed victory in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.34, teammate D'Airrien Jackson clocked in right behind her in second with a 53.91 mark. Jaydean Joseph added more points to the Golden Eagle's arsenal with her fifth place finish in the race with a time of 56.69.
N. Robinson continued to see success in the day as she and the team of Leonce, Jackson, and Crystal Liebenberg claimed victory in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 45.78, which also established a new Tech school record. The quad of N. Robinson, Joseph, Leonce, and Jackson placed second in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:41.96, just .11 seconds behind the lead team of Tennessee State.
Antonia Susnjar claimed a fourth-place finish in the javelin with a school-record throw of 40.18 meters. Susnjar topped her old school record, which she established earlier in the season at the Austin Peay Invitational with a 39.35-meter throw. Raven Smith placed fourth in the triple jump with a 12.15-meter leap. Micayla Rennick placed sixth in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 17:43.77 to further add points for the Tech squad.
"The distance crew of Sarah Brandt and Micayla Rennick battled hard today," Angel remarked. "They raised the bar and set the standard of what is expected of a Tech distance runner, I am so proud of them. Sharnique fought through adversity and came back in the hurdles and 200-meter. You can't keep a good woman down. She exemplifies what this program is about. We never give up."
Sarah Brandt placed eighth in the finals of the 800-meter run with a time of 2:22.91, while Leonce placed eighth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 59.99. Liebenberg added more points to the Purple and Gold efforts with her seventh-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:05.49.
"I am very proud of Crystal, Raven, and Antonia," Angel stated. "They stepped up today and did what they had to do in their respective events. They put needed points on the board. This was a great day for Tennessee Tech. We are no longer a team that just shows up at the meet. We are contenders, we are a team of destiny."
Photo by Thomas Corhern