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Track and Field: Relay squad has hands on success

Increasing temperatures ideally have an inverse effect on the performance of the runners: Their times drop.

The 4x400 relay team consisting of Kara Jackson, Kiley Mathews, Courtney Weiss and Danielle Winningham has emerged as point producers for the Bobcats in recent weeks. 

The team won the event at the Ohio Women’s team challenge in Athens and placed third last weekend at the All-Ohio Championships in Cincinnati.

Winningham and the rest of her teammates are competing in this weekend’s Jesse Owens Classic at Jesse Owens Memorial on the campus of Ohio State. Winningham, a sophomore, attributes the success to a change in approach.

“We've been working much harder than we did last year,” Winningham said.

After the weather has gotten warmer, times are starting to drop because the team is able to push harder in practice, Winningham said.

During the race, there are a couple of thoughts that go through Winningham’s head besides the obvious thought of trying to catch the runner in front of her.

“If there's no one in front of me I try to psychologically convince myself there is something dangerous chasing after me; it usually helps,” Winningham said. “It's hard to push yourself in a race when there is no one around you.”

Lately, there haven’t been many runners around Winningham, as she is the anchor leg of the relay and the previous runners have given her a lead.  She said she is most comfortable being the last leg because she has been in that position since the seventh grade.

Winningham admitted that she is only used to receiving the baton and said that the team’s times are sometimes slower because she struggles with the handoff.

Bad handoffs are not the only thing that can hinder a good time in the race.

“The hardest part of the 4x4 is that it's the very last race of the day… you are just trying to put whatever energy you have left into it,” Winningham said. “It's what I'd call a "gut race" because that's what it takes to finish with a good time when you are already tired.”



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