Record-setting relay team leads Lady Eagles into indoor track season

Somer Helms is one of three members of OC's record-setting 4x400-meter relay team who will return this indoor season for the Lady Eagles.
Somer Helms is one of three members of OC's record-setting 4x400-meter relay team who will return this indoor season for the Lady Eagles.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 9, 2013) – Oklahoma Christian’s relay records underwent a makeover during the 2012 women’s track and field seasons and coach Randy Heath thinks the same could happen again in 2013.

The indoor season will begin in earnest on Friday and Saturday, when the Lady Eagles travel to Joplin, Mo., to compete in the Missouri Southern Open Invitational. The six-meet indoor season will end Feb. 15-16 with the National Christian College Athletic Association Championships in Marion, Ind.

Heath isn’t quite sure what to expect from his team this weekend.

“It’s the first week of classes,” Heath said. “We’re back into school. Nobody has trained fully coming off the break. It’s just a start-up meet but it counts. We hope, maybe, to get a few NCCAA qualifiers out of it.”

Heath said 18 women will compete for the Lady Eagles during the indoor season, with a few more than that set to go during the outdoor season, which will begin in March.

The highlight of the women’s indoor season last year came courtesy of OC’s 4x400-meter relay team of Andrea Dennis, Maegan Cowan, Somer Helms and Alyssa Garrett, who twice broke the school record in the event. At the NAIA Indoor Championships, the foursome ran a school-record 3:56.75 and missed qualifying for the final by just .43 of a second.

Garrett since has left the program, but Dennis, Cowan and Helms are back and will be joined by freshman Rebecca Bloodworth, a small-school prep standout from Happy, Texas.

“We feel like she’ll be a good replacement for Garrett,” Heath said.

Dennis, Cowan, Helms and Bloodworth also will compete in sprints for the Lady Eagles.

Other top performers for the Lady Eagles during the indoor season could include middle- and long-distance runners Tara Lewis, Cassandra Hallam, Jacqueline Hallam and Noemi Hernandez, who all ran for OC’s cross country team during the fall.

Lewis, a freshman from Edmond, was named as the NCCAA’s cross country student-athlete of the week once, while she and Jacqueline Hallam each earned Heartland Conference runner of the week honors once.

Two OC field competitors scored points for the Lady Eagles at the NAIA Outdoor Championships in May – Katie Ostlund (javelin) and Makenzie Brown (discus). Brown, who’s also a member of OC’s women’s basketball team, won’t begin competing in track and field until the outdoor season. The javelin is an outdoor-only event, although Ostlund will compete indoors in the weight throw to stay sharp as she prepares for the outdoor season.

“We’re finding out that the NCCAA is really strong in women’s throws,” Heath said. “There are a lot of upper Midwest schools and a lot of them are dual members in the NAIA.”

Sophomore Sarah DiBiasi will compete for the Lady Eagles in the high jump and long jump. DiBiasi was the only OC women’s track student-athlete to compete in the Missouri Southern Early Bird Open last month.

“Our seasons are going to be a little shorter this season, so we are definitely planning on taking as many as we can who qualify to the NCCAAs,” Heath said. “We’re looking forward to that.”