JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The Western Carolina University men’s and women’s track & field teams are both in good positions at the end of day one at the 2017 Southern Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships in Johnson City, Tenn. The men are looking to repeat as champions for the fourth-straight time while the women look to return to the top of the podium after a one year hiatus. The men sit in second after day one trailing Samford by just seven points while the women trail first place Samford by just six points.
The women qualified 12 competitors for Sunday finals in the six preliminary events on Saturday while first place Samford has 11 competitors in those finals. On the men’s side WCU qualified 14 competitors in the preliminaries while first place Samford has just five.
The women had two individual crowned champions while another broke a two-year old school record. The men had just one individual crowned a champion but they swept the podium in the shot put.
Freshman Jazmine Gooden put on quite a show in her first championship appearance. As she qualified second in the 60m hurdles, the newcomer broke former Catamount Xaviera Bass’ school record by two one hundredths of a second as she crossed the line in 8.44. She will have another chance to lower that time tomorrow in the event finals.
The first individual champion crowned was senior Hailey Cook who took home her second-straight shot put title with a toss of 14.84m (48-08.25). The Catamounts would collect 24 precious points in the event due to five Catamounts finishing among the top-eight. Sophomore Simone Williams joined Cook on the podium in second as she stretched the tape to 13.02m (42-08.75). Junior Alisha Blackmon, freshman Mahogani Holiday and freshman Amy Yarborough rounded out WCU’s scorers as they finished in sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
Senior Tiffani Lewis was the next Catamount to earn an individual championship as she took home the long jump title after finishing second a year ago. Her jump measured out to 6.05m (19-10.25) as she earned 10 points for the Catamounts. WCU picked up eight more points in the event as Gooden took third with a mark of 6.02m (19-09.00) and fellow senior Chenell Bryan placed seventh at 5.61m (18-05.00).
The men’s first and only champion on day one came in the shot put as junior Mateius Brown topped the field with a toss of 15.27m (50-01.25). The Catamounts scored 31 massive points in the event as five Catamounts finished within the top-six in the event. WCU swept the podium as senior Scott Peretin took second with a mark of 14.78m (48-06.00) while junior Chase Stehling picked up third at 14.71m (48-03.25). Sophomore Dakota Wright and senior Evan Albertson came in fifth and sixth, respectively, to round out WCU’s scorers.
Sophomore Marisa Scott took third in the women’s pentathlon as she tallied 3,352 points while finishing third in the long jump, high jump and 60m hurdles. The placement earned WCU six points towards the team championship.
The men’s distance medley relay team consisting of sophomores Jordan Bostian, Miles Greer, Caleb Albrecht and Liam Brooks claimed second with a time of 10:11.88 as they earned eight points for the Catamounts.
The women’s DMR finished fifth as sophomores Kaitlyn Lingard, Sally Woerner and Christina Nikolaou and freshman Shawnda Martin teamed up to complete the distance in 12:34.87 which earned the team four points.
The men picked up seven points in the pole vault as juniors Thor Smith and Corey Ginley finished in fifth and sixth, respectively. Smith cleared 4.70m (15-05.00) while Ginley was able to top 4.55m (14-11.00).
The final points of the day came in the men’s long jump. Freshman Di'Joun Huitt led the way in fifth with a mark of 6.88m (22-07.00) while junior Kevin Hires took seventh after touching down at 6.74m (22-01.50).
The championships will conclude tomorrow night. Fans can follow all the action on the SoCon Digital Network or through live stats on CatamountSports.com.
All-Southern Conference Performers (Women)
Hailey Cook, shot put champion
Jazmine Gooden, long jump third
Tiffani Lewis, long jump champion
Marisa Scott, pentathlon third
Simone Williams, shot put second