Marshall track prepped for Penn Relays In Philadelphia

The Marshall University track team will head to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Thursday to compete in the Penn Relays. The meet will last all day Thursday and Friday.

The Penn Relays meet started in 1895 and has since earned the distinction of being the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States.

“This is a very big meet and it is like our opportunity to run against competition like we will run against in conference,” senior sprinter Shanice Johnson said.

The team said its prepared to succeed on the big stage and getting on the winning track as the season winds down.

“I think we are really confident that we are coming up on a big peak,” freshman thrower Elena Marchand said. “So hopefully we can keep it going till the end of the season.”

Marchand earned an eighth place finish in the shot put last weekend in the Virginia Challenge. Other notable performances from the Herd last weekend, in which the team also participated in the James Madison University Invitational, included wins by freshman Heidi Heiniger and junior Caitlyn Owings in the javelin throw and high jump, respectively. Freshman Whitney McAtee also put forth a strong performance with three top-10 finishes in the James Madison Invitational. 

Merchand said she’s piled up a string of solid performances leading up to Thursday’s meet, which has her looking forward to competing against a large field in her events. 

“I really am ready to compete in the shot-put because I have been doing better and better each meet,” Merchand said. “So hopefully I can hit another big one this weekend.”

Johnson said she’s shares a similar perspective on Thursday’s meet.

The four-by-four is really where my heart is because I’m a 400 runner,” Johnson said. “So I’m really excited to compete in it this meet.”

Merchand said the progression has occurred within the team as a whole, not just a select group of individuals

“It seems we have been doing better and better each meet we go to,” Merchand said.

Both Johnson and Merchand had different ideas on what the team needs to do to put up good results in the upcoming meet, but the overall messages were similar.

“We need to come in ready to go with a good mindset and just follow through with what we have been doing in practice,” Merchand said.

Johnson focused more on her specific event, but maintained it’s a complete team effort.

“We need to have good communication and good team chemistry when we are handing the baton to each other,” Johnson said.

After the Penn Relays Thursday and Friday, Marshall will travel to Lexington, to compete in the Kentucky Relays May 6th and 7th.

Christian Hisman can be contacted at [email protected].