NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Huntingdon College's newest women's athletic program opened a new era Sunday at the Tennessee State University Invitational.
The competition was a starting point for the first-year Hawks. Head coach Nate Rucker and his staff were pleased with what they saw and encouraged by the athletes' determination to keep working.
"The biggest thing about this weekend was seeing the girls compete for the first time. This was the first meet in school history and it was a chance to see the dream we've had become a reality," Rucker said. "For the first time out, we did well. Some of the girls were frustrated because they wanted to perform better. That's a good sign. These girls want to be the best they can be and they want to compete at a high level.
"We told the girls all week that we just wanted them to have fun and compete in this first meet. But now, we want to continue to work and get better."
Individually, several Huntingdon athletes did well in their first collegiate meet.
Kyndall Caldwell placed eighth in the 400-meter dash and Sheaney Marshall was eighth in the 800 meters. Rachael Phillips was second in the 5,000 meters and 13th in the mile run. Caldwell, Marshall, Phillips and Jackie Daniels teamed up to finish fifth in the Distance Medley.
Team scores were not tallied.
Like Rucker, assistant coaches Howard Johnson and Justin Linzy both said they were pleased with the performance of all the athletes. They were encouraged by the team's desire to build off of the first meet.
"All of the girls competed hard and did a good job," Johnson said. "There were definitely things we can build off of and I think the girls are ready to work even harder to see better performances in the future."
Linzy said he believes the first meet helped open some of the athletes' eyes to what it will take to help the team be successful.
"Now that we have one meet under our belts, I think the girls have a better idea of the kind of dedication and training it takes to be successful," Linzy said. "They understand if they put in the hard work, they will have better performances and be successful this season."
The Hawks return to action on Saturday in the Tiger Indoor Invitational at Sewanee.