William Masselli ~ Sports Columnist
On May 2, 2021, the University of Lynchburg Women’s Track and Field Team won the ODAC championship.
Director of Cross-Country Track and Field Jim Sprecher highlighted the importance of the contributions that two seniors in particular made, stating, “Both Stephanie Burnett and Jackie Wilson made big contributions to our ODAC title, as both won two titles each. More importantly, both were involved in the most exciting victories of the championship. Burnett won the 10,000 meter and 5,000 meter runs in heroic fashion. Wilson anchored the 4×400-meter relay with a come from behind victory in the last event of the meet.”
Wilson stated, “Seeing the team storm the track to celebrate my accomplishment and the team’s accomplishment is a memory that I will never forget.”
Burnett said, “This is truly an exciting feeling. The most exciting part is winning as a team. Also, I am ecstatic that the men and women both won the ODAC. It is always an amazing feeling to win at home in front of your parents and fans. The atmosphere was electric, and I thought that having the championship at Lynchburg made winning the championship ten times more exciting.”
Burnett said, “Out of every 10k meter runner in division three athletics, I rank in the top 50 which is a big deal. Since running six miles around a track is a lot of work, I need to run my workouts every week, follow Coach Reed’s advice, and follow the advice of my training partners to accomplish this goal consistently. Entering the competition, I always enter with a positive and calm mindset.”
Burnett thanked her training partner, Kelsey Lagunas, for the individual and team accolades, stating, “I stay motivated for my teammates, and my teammates help me stay motivated. I just cannot imagine doing the race without my teammates cheering me on. When I enter an event, I have the mentality of I am doing this for my team, not for winning individual awards. On a daily basis, I stay positive and motivated to keep everyone around me positive and motivated. I need the correct mindset, so I can lead the freshmen by example. I have a training partner that I work with, and I want to give her the credit she deserves. I want to credit Kelsey Lagunas because she was my supportive training partner that I ran every workout and the 10k with. There are days where I keep her strong, and there are days where she keeps me strong. I could not have had accomplished what I did without Kelsey Lagunas.”
Burnett concluded by paying tribute to the contributions Wilson made for the team, stating, “Wilson has not been on this team for all four years. The moment she joined the team she made a positive impact on and off the track. Her immensely positive attitude and strong work ethic makes her an inspiration for 800-meter runners everywhere. She is an amazing person and an amazing runner that everyone on the track and field team had the privilege to work with.”