Tennessee senior Nijgia Snapp wants a strong finish to her college track career, and her performance Saturday was pretty stout.
Snapp won the 800-meter Showcase run in the 47th annual Sea Ray Relays at Tom Black Track — posting the season’s 10th-best national time of 2 minutes, 5 seconds.
It was a good tune-up for her final stretch run of meets at Tennessee that concludes with the SEC Championships (May 9-12), the NCAA East Regional (May 23-25) and NCAA Championships (June 5-8).
“I’m planning on ending it with a bang, going out hard at the conference meet and nationals and really setting the stage on my way out,” Snapp said.
Snapp will push herself all the way.
She wasn’t satisfied with just winning Saturday’s race.
“I was hoping for a little bit faster time,” she said. “I was feeling good. I was predicting maybe 2:04 or 2:03, but it’s a good time, not a bad time.”
Snapp wasn’t threatened on the backstretch.
Purdue’s Vanessa McLeod was second in 2:06.36 and Connecticut’s Brigitte Mania was third in 2:07:06.
Former UT runner Phoebe Wright set the pace as the rabbit for the first 400 meters.
“Phoebe rabbitted for a lead, which made it pretty good because she set up a really smooth pace,” Snapp said. “I didn’t have to think about it for the first 400 meters, just followed her.”
Once Wright dropped out, Snapp was in cruise control — maybe too much.
“It’s hard to really run all out when you don’t have somebody kicking with you in the last 200 meters of the race,” she said. “It’s hard to like really drop the hammer and run fast by yourself.”
Snapp, of Mays Landing, N.J., signed with Seton Hall after her high school career.
Her stay at Seton Hall didn’t last long. The school dropped the track program after her freshman year.
“I was obviously devastated because I really loved being at Seton Hall,” she said. “That was a great experience and everything, but coming here was a blessing too.”
Snapp was one of seven UT seniors recognized after the Sea Ray Showcase of feature races.
“It’s kind of going to be sad for it to all end,” Snapp said.
“But as long as I go out with a bang, I’m not too upset because you’ve got to move on.”
Snapp also ran the first leg of the Lady Vols’ winning 3,200-relay team (8:42.73). Others on the relay team were Kianna Ruff, Amirah Johnson, and Brittney Jackson.
Snapp was the winner of Tony Wilson Memorial Trophy for outstanding female athlete in the meet’s running events. Other Trophy winners were Drew Windle of Ashland University (men’s running), Felisha Johnson of Indiana State (women’s field) and Derrick Vicars of Findlay (men’s field).
Alexander Title: Former UT athlete Annie Alexander (unattached) won the discus with a throw of 173 feet, 5 inches. It was her seventh Sea Ray title. She was a senior last year.