Women’s distance medley relay squad

| Sports Reporter

Last weekend at North Central College, senior Molly Schlamb, junior Sangeeta Hardy and sophomores Erica Jackey and Liz Phillips set the school record for the women’s distance medley relay. In the event, the first team member runs 1200 meters, the second 400, the third 800, and the last 1600. The four Lady Bears automatically qualified for nationals and gain recognition as Student Life’s Female Athletes of the Week.

Student Life: Tell me about how the race went.
Molly Schlamb: The plan was for [junior] Kelli Blake to rabbit me through the first 800 [meters] of the 12 leg. She did an absolutely perfect job, and I couldn’t have done it without her. I handed off to Erica [after the 1200 meter leg], who busted out a great 4 leg. Geetz [Hardy] ran a great 8, and then Liz just rolled the mile. It was one of the most exciting races I’ve been a part of. The great thing about relays is that you all need each other, you all have to have a great day, and you all build off of each other’s momentum. Carrying the baton, it just becomes magic.

SL: Which is cooler: setting a school record or earning a trip to nationals?
Sangeeta Hardy: It’s a tough call. My freshman year I ran the DMR [distance medley relay] at indoor nationals, so I am beyond thrilled to be going back, this time a more experienced and hopefully faster runner. However, knowing that we have the school record, and a pretty fast one at that, gives me a sense of pride that will last a lot longer than a few days at nationals. It’s always fun looking back on records and seeing which ones you aspire to break. Now, Molly, Erica, Liz and I get to be that record that future Wash. U. runners will be aspiring to break.

SL: How much is being part of a team, in itself, and knowing you have three other teammates counting on you a motivation factor?
Erica Jackey: I think everyone would agree that the team factor plays a pivotal role in motivation. We help each other adhere to the disciplined lifestyle that is necessary to lead in order to be successful in our sport. Being a part of a team that is extremely close and supportive of each other makes staying disciplined much easier and far more enjoyable. The DMR relay is my favorite part of the indoor track season because it is a team event, not just an individual race.
Liz Phillips: The best thing about being on a relay is that I get to be a part of something more important than myself. There is something very special about getting the baton from a teammate and knowing that I am running for each of the other three girls. Whenever I am tired or in pain, I just remember my three teammates and I push through the pain for them, just like they do for me.

SL: As it stands, your time is second in Division III behind St. Thomas by less than two seconds and ahead of Wartburg by 0.12 seconds. What kind of shot do you give yourselves to take the whole thing?
SH: I have never been more confident in my teammates or proud of them than I was on Saturday. I have seen all of these girls put all of their heart and strength into running and our DMR. I know that come nationals, we will undoubtedly be ready to achieve our greatest. That may mean winning, and it may not. However, I will tell you that I will put all of my money on us being the prettiest, most prepared, most having fun DMR at nationals.

SL: What’s the attitude like in practice with a little more than a week left before conferences and then nationals soon after that?
MS: We are all just so excited. This is not only a talented group, but a group who cares so much about each other. We all are just preparing ourselves to line up at nationals and leave it all out there. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know it will be something really special.

SL: Favorite Olympic sport besides track?
MS: Gymnastics.
EJ: Swimming and gymnastics.
LP: Short-track speed skating.
SH: Trampoline! Just kidding. But seriously, it’s pretty sweet to watch—at least for the first couple of minutes.

SL: You need to get fired up. what song are you going to listen to?
MS: If I’m listening by myself, probably something by Kanye West. But if I’m singing with this relay group, definitely something from “Moulin Rouge” soundtrack. That’s our specialty!

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