The ladies of UAB track and field slayed their first ever home invitational this month, bringing personal-bests and all-time program performances to this monumental event that was years in the making.
A home field advantage is rare in track and field compared to other sports who host teams all the time. Every week, we sit on a bus for hours on end to race on an unfamiliar track, having to worry about where we’ll get food, what time the bus leaves and when we need to check-in for our event. At our home track, we know the facilities inside and out and our practices have prepared us for any race scenario that might play out.
Workouts there have been soul wrenching as we pour our guts out on that field twice a week. Our home field advantage kept us calm during our performances and gave us confidence that we could succeed.
As a returning member of the team, I know this event meant a lot to the program because we’ve waited a year to finally make it happen. March of last year we were one week away from the first ever home meet on UAB soil, all that changed when COVID-19 struck and it was cancelled.
We were exactly seven days away from the start of our season when we got the devastating news that the track season got cancelled until who knew when. After months of serious workouts and hard lift sessions to prepare to compete on home turf, it was quickly taken away from us without knowing when we would be able to race again.
Coaches, administration and officials had worked hard to get the facility, visiting teams, and timing systems ready for us to compete mid-March last year, which is why this year we didn’t take the opportunity for granted. My team wanted a vengeance for the season we missed out on last year, and we did just that.
Hosting this event was monumental for my teammates and I to be recognized not only by athletics, but also the university as a whole. I was thrilled for my own race and to see the team compete on our Blazer-green track because we have extremely talented girls on the squad. Having missed out on last year put this season into perspective for us, nothing is guaranteed or given, it is earned to those who put in the work.
Of course we had to show out for our fans, resulting in so many great performances and three events won by UAB in record-breaking fashion. Sophomore Makiyah Sills won the 100-meter hurdles, running the seventh fastest time in program history. As well as freshman Kaylie Wright winning the long jump becoming the eighth best in UAB history. The 4×400 meter relay also was victorious.
Being a distance runner, I chose to do the 1500-meter race. This event takes speed, endurance and grit; all things I like to think I have. A top 10 finish and a six second personal-best made the experience even more memorable for me. The adrenaline from competing in front of friends and family at your home track is unparalleled.
Especially competing for everyone who helped us get there like strength coaches, nutritionists and advisers who usually never get the chance to see us race.
With more than half our season behind us, we only have two meets left until the C-USA Conference Championships. After a few more weeks of grinding, our team will be in tip-top shape by the biggest meet of the season. Expect to see a lot of medals coming back with us to Birmingham.