CHARLESTON, Ill. – The goals are simple for the Belmont University women's indoor track and field team this week. At the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships, the Bruins must put together a better showing than last year.
The two-day OVC Championships begin Friday morning at Eastern Illinois University's Lantz Indoor Fieldhouse in Charleston, Ill. The Bruins are optimistic they can surpass 2017's performance, when Belmont finished 11th and amassed just seven team points.
The key is avoiding complacency and continuing to strive for improvement in every meet.
"The whole motto for the women's group this weekend is finish higher than you're seeded," Belmont Associate Head Track and Field coach Cameron Harvey said. "Wherever you are seeded, try and move up and score some points and exceed our finish from last year."
To find the medal stand, the Belmont women will need to out-perform their seed positions based on regular-season showings. However, there are plenty of Bruins in position to score team points. The top eight placers in each individual event earn points.
Sophomore Kortney Schardt (Lindenhurst, Ill.) posted the seventh-best time in the 5,000 meters this season, though she's seeded sixth based on race entries at the OVC meet. She moved up the list with a 12-second personal best of 17:28.92 on Feb. 9 at Marshall University.
"She's looking the best I've ever seen her," said Belmont Assistant Track and Field Coach Kate Bucknam, who helps coach the distance runners. "I think there's a lot of confidence going into conference because of her PR at Marshall a few weeks ago."
Senior Alyssa Andersen (Oswego, Ill) is also seeded sixth in the weight throw and junior Karly Hibbard (Edmonds, Wash.) is seventh in the shot put, despite both women's top events coming during the spring outdoor season. Andersen excels most in the hammer throw with Hibbard in the javelin.
Other Bruins to watch include senior Kiera Weems (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), who had the OVC's 10th-best mile time this season but is seeded eighth among athletes entered in the event; and freshman Payton Barlow (White House, Tenn.), who is seeded eighth in the 400 meters.
Belmont's 4x400 relay team also posted the fourth-best time in the conference this season.
High jumper Hannah Beth Moorhouse (Morristown, Tenn.) was the only individual scorer for Belmont at last year's OVC indoor meet when she placed eighth as a sophomore. She returns seeded 10th this season. The Bruins' remaining points came in the 4x400 and DMR relays.