BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Belmont women's track and field team may have as many athletes seeded in scoring position as ever entering the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships this week. All that's left is to reach that potential.
Belmont is in position for a strong showing at the two-day conference meet, which begins Wednesday at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Alabama, the culmination of the indoor track and field season. Action starts for the multi-events at 9 a.m. with field events beginning at 10 a.m. and the first event on the track at 4:15 p.m. A team champion will be crowned by Thursday afternoon.
A live video stream of the action is available both days through ESPN+ and the Watch ESPN app.
"Our women's program is continuing to show improvement and progress year after year," said Belmont Associate Head Track and Field Coach Cameron Harvey. "This year's squad has the potential to be one of our highest scoring ever."
Leading the way is a pair of distance runners in junior Kortney Schardt (Lindenhurst, Ill.) and senior Courtney Alama (Annadale, Minn.). The duo has posted strong times all season and enters the indoor postseason seeded second and third, respectively, in the 5,000 meters. Schardt is also fifth in the 3,000.
Schardt was sixth in the 5,000 at last season's indoor championships.
Belmont's distance runners are far from a two-woman show though. Sophomore Claire Cheeseman (Brentwood, Tenn.) ran the fifth-best time in the OVC this season in the 5,000 and sophomore Halle Hausman (Johnson City, Tenn.) is seeded seventh in the 3,000.
Senior shot put thrower Karly Hibbard (Edmonds, Wash.) is the only other individual returning placer. She took fifth in the event a year ago with a school-record throw of 13.62 meters.
In the shorter races, the Bruins expect big things from sophomore Payton Barlow (White House, Tenn.) in the 400 and sophomore Ruth Wiggins (Memphis, Tenn.) in the 800. Wiggins will also combine with Hausman, sophomore Caroline Pruitt (Allen, Texas) and freshman Taylor Cuneo (Lascassas, Tenn.) in the distance medley relay.
"Both the men's and women's teams have been trending in the right direction this year," Harvey said. "I think we'll be seeing a lot of season bests at conference."
Belmont finished 10th at last season's OVC Indoor Championships.