COLUMBIA -- Just before her first attempt in the women’s hammer throw at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Missouri senior Cortni Ervin walked over to the small crowd gathered by the chain link fence. Ervin's sisters, fiancé and teammates waited there to cheer her on.
“No autographs until this is over,” Ervin said.
When an official announced the start of the hammer throw, Ervin removed her black and gold tracksuit and strapped on a leather glove throwers wear when competing. Printed neatly in Sharpie on the glove was a simple message: Believe.
“In my career I’ve been notorious for having good practices leading up to a disappointing meet,” Ervin said. “Lots of times I don’t believe in myself, so it’s just a reminder.”
From her very first throw, Ervin’s message appeared to work. Holding the hammer, a metal ball attached to a cable with a handle, she entered the mesh cage. Crouched in an athletic stance, Ervin swung the hammer over her head twice before twisting four times to pick up momentum. In one powerful, fluid motion she released the hammer into the air. Thud. Dirt and grass flew into the air as a result of the impact.
“55 meters 57 centimeters,” the announcer said over the loud speaker.
The throw was Ervin’s best of the season. It moved her into sixth place among SEC women, earning valuable points for the Missouri track and field team.
“Everything felt right,” Ervin said.
Missouri sophomore thrower Kearsten Peoples cheered loudly for Ervin after she was eliminated in the preliminary round.
“She dug deep and had a great throw,” Peoples said.
Both Peoples and Ervin will compete again in the shot put Sunday.