Win Braswell, For The Miami Student

The Miami University women’s indoor track & field team has put on a very impressive showing this season, breaking many personal and school records and competing with very strong collegiate competition.

Saturday’s Rod McCravy Invitational at the University of Kentucky was no different, with several athletes making Miami’s presence known on the “big stage.”

According to Head Coach Kelly Phillips, the team seems to thrive on stout competition. Saturday’s meet played host to several national powerhouse programs, including Vanderbilt University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Ohio State University and the University of South Carolina, along with other squads from the Southeastern Conference, the Big Ten, the Big East and the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Senior Rachael Clay once again showcased her abilities in what is shaping up to be an outstanding season. With a fifth place finish in the 400 meter dash, Clay clocked a personal best of 55.38 seconds, claiming the No. 2 spot all-time at Miami.

Senior Jillian Dickman was one of two Miami runners who broke the 10-minute mark in the 3,000 meter run. Dickman’s mark of 9:57.11 is a new best for her, was good enough for a 13th place finish in a field of 55 and cemented her for the 10th-fastest time in school history.

“Once you break 10 minutes, it just gets easier to stay under that mark,” Dickman said. “[The race] is definitely more straining mentally than physically. Having Coach Kelly yelling and screaming out my times as I ran was definitely motivating. I was very excited about my time, but I want to drop to the 9:45 range for the [Mid-American Conference (MAC)] Championship. I know practice will get harder, but I’m looking forward to it.”Erin Connolly’s 2003 record of 8.46 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles is still in danger of being eclipsed very soon, as junior Layne Baggett recorded a new season best of 8.69 seconds over the weekend. Just last week at the Gradstein Invitational, Baggett set what was then a personal best of 8.74 seconds.

“Honestly, after the prelims I wasn’t very happy with my time,” Baggett said. “I talked to Coach Kelly and we focused on improving my start. I think my frustration from the first race was the biggest thing in my final. I’m happy with my new time, but I’m not satisfied. I just hope it continues to drop so I can get a top spot in the MAC.”

The ‘Hawks also touted strong performances in the field events. Senior Krista Stillson set a new personal best in the triple jump with a leap of 11.09 meters/36-4.75.

Sophomore thrower, Tori Paterra also claimed a new season best in the shot put, with a 12.30 meters/40-4.25 heave, placing 24th.

The RedHawks are off this week and return to competition Feb. 10-11 at the Akron Invitational in Akron, Ohio.