Track and field is ready for championship

Robert George

The young track and field team has seen tremendous improvement since the start of the season, and has been led by a strong throws program.

Coach Kelly Carter has been pleased with how the season is progressing.

“We’re an up and coming group,” Carter said. “They’re really coming together. The program is really starting to gel in what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The throws program has been a big part of that early season success. Sophomore Kelsey Arnold began the season by breaking the school record for the weight throw with a toss of 17.90m. When discussing the team, Coach Carter acknowledges the consistency and talent in the throws.

“It is highlighted by our throws program; they are the strong backbone of the program as it relates to points. I think we are making strides toward reaching a championship,” Carter said.

Coach Carter gives the majority of the credit for the team’s success to assistant coach Brittany Cox. Coach Cox is a former NCAA Shot Put All-American as well as a Sun Belt champion in the shot put and weight throw.

“Our throws program is being run by a very capable young lady,” Carter said. “I’ve known her since she competed. I’ve always liked how she managed her time and managed those around her. She is a former All-American, so that adds a little weight for them to listen to her. ”

Coach Cox still competes at the national level, so she is able to practice and compete in some of the tournaments with the girls, and even won the shot put event at the Hilton Garden Invitational. Her experience and knowledge in the sport has been a huge tremendous help for the girls.

“It’s fun,” Cox said. “It’s hard work. It’s a professional sisterhood. I don’t see myself as a mom or an aunt. But, I can be that big sister for them.”

Cox has helped each girl make strides in their game. Samantha Cook is a sophomore transfer from a Division III school. She says the transition has been tough, but Coach Cox has helped her adjust to tougher competition.

“It has been a huge improvement for Sam,” Cox said. “Going from no technique to some technique is always great. She’s starting to impress me with her technique.”

Stephanne Henzler is another girl who has seen her skills grow under the guidance of Coach Cox. Henzler set a new personal record in the weight throw at the Bob Pollock Invitational with a toss of 15.21m, earning her a top-5 finish in the event.

“Thanks to Coach Cox, Coach Carter, all the coaches here, we’ve all been able to excel,” Henzler said. “I don’t know what I would have done without them.”

Arnold is in the midst of a phenomenal season. She has set the school record for the weight throw, and has placed first in many of those events. She is grateful to have Coach Cox out there teaching them and competing with them.

“It’s good to have someone to shadow,” Arnold said. “I want to be better than her. I want to go farther that whatever she’s ever done.”

Cox has helped quite a lot with the Eagles this season, but she also realizes the level of talent this team has on in it.

“She was already a great athlete when I came down here,” Cox says. “She’s starting to realize ‘Oh snap, I can do this, I can be great at this’.”

All the girls are happy to have her practicing with them and competing along side them. But, that doesn’t mean there is not room for a little friendly competition between the girls.

Arnold is even planning on surpassing her this year. “I’ll beat her at conference,” Arnold boasts. “Whatever she has ever thrown, I will beat it.”

The team will compete in the Sun Belt Indoor Championships starting this coming Monday, February 23.