Jan. 11, 2013
CLEMSON, S.C. - Western Carolina opened up 2013 with seven wins in the Tiger Challenge on the campus of Clemson University Friday afternoon, picking up five victories on the track and two in the field events.
The Catamounts began the meet with a win on the track as the women's Distance Medley Relay team consisting of Kaylan Lance, Lena Elliott, Jocelyn Keen and Mara Smith defeated conference rival College of Charleston. WCU completed the event three seconds of the second place Cougars.
The men's DMR team of Garrett West, Ammar Phillips, Aaron Harris and Josey Weaver followed up the women's victory with one of their own, as the men's team came across the line in 10:28.79.
Abraham Faison - who led the Catamounts a season ago in the 60m hurdles - finished third in the event behind two runners from Clemson with a time of 8.40. That time is just off his 2012 time of 8.33. Teammates Tyler Bentley and Marquis Bailey also made it to the finals of the event, with Bentley placing fifth (8.53) followed by Bailey in sixth (8.71).
Senior Jamie Van Pelt picked up the win in the weight throw, tossing a 17.25m - nearly two meters ahead of the second place finisher. Western Carolina took third, fourth and fifth as well, with Joe Korac (15.08m), Andy Benesh (14.71m) and Jonathan Newton (13.46m) rounding out the top five for the Catamounts.
Continuing the Catamounts' success in the throw was sophomore Alisha Bradshaw who tallied her first win of the season with a 12.76m top throw in the shot put. Bradshaw also earned second place in the weight throw, throwing 15.63m.
Western Carolina won both 3000m runs with Aleshia Reese victorious in the women's run, crossing the stripe in 10:45.13. The win for Reese was her first. In arguably one of the most exciting races of the day, Josey Weaver edged out Clemson's Marty Maloney by the narrowest of margins, winning the race in 8:38.00 while Maloney's 8:38.02 earned second.
WCU's men's 4x400m relay team finished first and second overall with the "A" team featuring Aaron Tribble, Brandon Hairston, Aaron Harris and Earl Rahming winning in 3:21.94. The "B" team of Ammar Phillips, Demari Boswell, Marquis Bailey and Sam Lusty finished second with their time of 3:30.11. Placing third was WCU's "C" team with a time of 3:34.02. That team consisted of Tyler Bentley, Ron Duncan, Abraham Faison and Jermaine Lewis.
Freshman Tayla Carter - fresh off her two wins in the 55m and 300m in her debut - continued to impress for the Purple and Gold as she placed third among collegiate runners with her time of 7.59.
In the women's 800m run, junior Hayley Tomlinson ran a 2:19.65 to finish second. On the men's side, senior Garrett West earned a sixth place finish.
Jerry Wickerson picked up a top three finish for the Catamounts with his third place in the 200m run. The sophomore ran a 22.44. Also finishing third was junior Keith Leonard in the pole vault. Leonard cleared 4.55m as the top collegiate finisher.
Bob McNeil placed in the top five of both the long jump and the triple jump, with his best finish of second in the triple. McNeil had a best jump of 14.42m in the triple.
"I think both our men's and women's teams came in, we worked hard and we knew we'd be a little bit rusty," said head coach Danny Williamson. "We're coming off almost a six week layoff from our last competition. Really, our main focus was to get in the competition mode. Our intensity was there, our energy level was there and our numbers will get faster and begin to come later. We feel good with how we got started today."
Western Carolina travels to Johnson City, Tennessee next week for the Niswonger Invitational.