Huntingdon women’s track and field premiers on Sunday

Huntingdon women’s track and field premiers on Sunday

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Huntingdon freshman Miah Burton admits she is a little nervous this weekend.

Preparing for her first collegiate track and field meet, Burton and her teammates will begin a new chapter for Huntingdon athletics on Sunday.

"I'm a little nervous, but I'm very excited about the first meet," Burton said. "It's wonderful to be part of the first team. It's a great feeling to know you'll go down in the history of the school."

The first-year women's track and field program begins its Indoor Season in Nashville, Tenn., at the Tennessee State University Invitational.

For the program's 16 athletes and three coaches, there is an anxiousness to see how the team performs in its first meet.

"The girls have put in a lot of long hours of practice and we're ready to go and compete," head coach Nate Rucker said. "We've seen a lot of improvement since practice started earlier this month. Assistant coaches Howard Johnson and Justin Linzy have done a great job motivating the girls and getting them ready to go. Now, we just want to go out, have some fun and compete."

The Hawks are one of eight teams scheduled to compete, along with Alabama A&M, Albany State, Bethel, Fisk, Lipscomb, Sewanee and Tennessee State.

"With the first meet, we want to see where we are and what we can do," Rucker said. "There are always things to work on, but this will be a good chance for some of the girls to get rid of some of the nervous energy.

"Whatever happens, we'll look at the things we need to improve on and keep working to get better."

Senior Jackie Daniels said this weekend is important because it will give the program a starting point.

"As a first-year program, we don't have anything to build off of from the past," Daniels said. "This will be what we build off of for the rest of the season."

This is the second time in four years Daniels has been part of a Huntingdon team's first competition. As a freshman, she was a member of Huntingdon's first women's cross country team.

"It's exciting to be part of history at Huntingdon College," Daniels said. "Most people don't get an opportunity to be on the first team at a college. So, it's pretty cool to have been part of two new programs, first as a freshman and then as a senior."

Daniels is one of three seniors (along with Caitlin McMahon and Sheaney Marshall) on the track and field team that were part of the first cross country team.

"These girls have been here since the beginning. Jackie was the first athlete to commit to the cross country program," Rucker said. "I think it's neat they were able to help start cross country as freshmen and they're able help start track and field as seniors. I hope that is something they take pride in. I hope one day, when they look back, they realize they were part of something very special."