Birmingham, Ala. – Trailing first place by 12 points heading into the final day, the Western Carolina men’s track & field team utilized a mid-afternoon charge to capture their fourth consecutive Southern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championship on Sunday at the Samford Track and Soccer Stadium.
The WCU men tallied 186 points, finishing ahead of second place Samford who scored 169 points. The Catamount women finished in third place with 119 points. Samford won its second consecutive women’s title with a 229-point output.
"I'm super excited about the men's team win," head coach Jesse Norman stated. "They fought hard through some injuries this weekend. They did a great job of supporting each other and getting each other ready for each event. On the women's side, as a team we didn't finish where we wanted but I felt that the women we brought did a great job competing. We competed hard in every event and really limited any mistakes."
The Catamounts entered the day in third place in the team standings before scoring 25 points in the triple jump to surge into first place. WCU moved into second place heading into the triple jump thanks to a 24-point effort in the 200-meter dash. They never looked back after grabbing the lead following the triple jump with eight events remaining.
Di’Joun Huitt defended his title in the men’s triple jump with a mark of 15.42 meters (50’5.9”). While Huitt earned 10 points as a result of the win, the Catamounts reaped the benefits of finishing in fourth through eighth place which gave them 15 additional points. Benjamin Okafor finished in fourth place with a leap of 14.31 meters (46’9”) followed by Tyler Hanks in fifth at 14.19 meters (46’5”). Shon Pratcher finished in sixth place thanks to his mark of 13.98 meters (45’9”) followed by Brandon Harvey in seventh at 13.73 meters (45’1”) and Nicholas Lyons in the final scoring position with a leap of 13.69 meters (44’9”).
Devaniel Dale claimed two event wins with victories in the 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash. Dale won the men’s 200-meter dash with a personal record time of 20.86, just .13 seconds shy of tying the school record held by Manteo Mitchell. Pratcher finished in fifth place at 21.81 followed by Tyler Manigault in seventh at 22.10.
Dale led a 1-2-3 finish in the 400-meter dash with his personal record winning time of 46.55. Pratcher claimed Second Team All-Conference honors with a runner-up finish and a personal record time of 48.72. Miles Greer took home Third Team All-Conference laurels with a third-place result and a personal record time of 48.96.
Dakota Oxendine won the men’s high jump, the final event of the meet, with a personal record height of 2.12 meters (6’11.5”). Hanks scored his second fifth-place finish of the afternoon as he cleared 2.03 meters (6’8”) followed by Huitt in sixth with a height of 1.98 meters (6’6”)
Dakota Wright started the day with a win in the men’s shot put thanks to his personal record throw of 16.79 meters (155’1”). Wright won the event by .01 meters.
Makaila McIntyre won the women’s triple jump with a personal record leap of 12.22 meters (40’1.25”). It marked the second event win of the weekend for McIntyre as she won the long jump on Saturday. Erin Willard’s personal record mark of 11.21 meters (36’9.5”) earned her an eighth-place finish.
Kellsie Whitehead won the women’s 400-meter dash, completing her lap with a winning time of 55.23.
Christina Nikolaou was the runner-up in the women’s 800-meter run. Nikolaou took home Second Team All-Conference honors with a personal record time of 2:11.79, nearly two seconds faster than her previous personal record.
Victoria Solheim scored a second-place finish in the women’s discus thanks to her personal record throw of 44.89 meters (147’3”). Solheim earned Second Team All-Conference honors for her efforts.
Jaelyn Warren finished in second place in the women’s high jump after she cleared a height of 1.69 meters (5’6.5”).
In the men’s 4x100-meter relay, Cory Alston, Dale, Manigault, and Feggett teamed up to claim Second Team All-Conference honors with a finishing time of 40.95.
Greer, Dale, Pratcher, and Albrecht wrapped up the running portion of the meet with a runner-up finish in the men’s 4x400-meter relay. The quartet claimed Second Team All-Conference honors with a finishing time of 3:15.154 in a photo finish with event winner Samford.
Whitehead, Dominique Delisser, Marissa Blakeley, and Tatiana Mills secured Second Team All-Conference marks with their runner-up finish in the women’s 4x400-meter relay. They finished the race in 3:48.88.
Lesleigh Tabor finished in third place in the women’s shot put after her throw of 13.79 meters (45’3”). Tabor took home Third Team All-Conference honors for her efforts. Simone Williams scored a seventh-place finish with her best toss of 13.11 meters (43’0.25”) followed by Amy Yarborough in eighth at 13.01 meters (42’8.25”).
The women’s 4x100-meter relay team of Mia Little, Delisser, Whitehead, and Keysia Grant took home Third Team All-Conference accolades with their time of 46.58.
Albrecht finished fourth in the men’s 800-meter run with a finishing time of 1:54.21.
Mike Jones finished fourth in the men’s 110-meter hurdles as he crossed the finish line with a time of 14.64. Jones was also fourth in the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.77. Dylan Andrade finished in seventh place as he completed the event with a time of 57.42.
Delisser scored a sixth-place finish in the women’s 200-meter dash, finishing with a time of 24.68.
Gregory Jacobs finished sixth in the men’s 100-meter dash in a personal best time of 10.84. Alston tallied an eighth-place finish with a final time of 11.02.
Little took home a sixth-place finish in the women’s 100-meter dash as she completed the event in 12.18.
Miles Greer earned the Pinnacle Award for having the highest GPA on the championship-winning team.
Western Carolina is back in action on May 12, traveling to the Lenoir-Rhyne Final Qualifier.
Men’s results – Final
1. Western Carolina – 186 points
2. Samford – 169
3. ETSU – 136
4. Wofford – 91
5. Furman – 88
6. The Citadel – 74
7. VMI – 65
8. UNC Greensboro – 5
Women’s results – Final
1. Samford – 228 points
2. Wofford – 126
3. Western Carolina – 119
4. ETSU – 100
5. Furman – 91
6. Mercer – 70
T7. VMI – 31
T7. The Citadel – 31
9. Chattanooga – 15
10. UNC Greensboro – 8