JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - For the first time in program history the Western Carolina men’s track & field team captured its fourth-straight Southern Conference Indoor Championship Sunday afternoon in Johnson City, Tenn., downing second place Samford by just 15 points. The women came up just short of winning their third title in the last four years as they fell to Samford by 56.5 points. The championship is the first under first year head coach Cale McDaniel who served as an assistant coach for many WCU championships in the past.
WCU crowned four individual champions and one relay champion on the final day of the championships including two women’s individuals and two men’s individuals. Sophomore Miles Greer won the Pinnacle Award which goes to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA on the championship-winning team in each SoCon sport.
Junior Dakota Lamont led a group of four Catamounts in the men’s 400m who earned a total of 23 points towards the team championship. Lamont won the individual championship with a blazing time of 48.41. Junior Henry Kiedi came across next for WCU as he placed third after stopping the clock at 49.02. Freshman Devaniel Dale and sophomore Dylan Andrade finished fifth and sixth, respectively in the event. Dale finished at 50.09 while Andrade clocked in at 50.23.
Another huge performance for the men came in the weight throw as four Catamounts teamed up for 23 more points towards the goal. Senior Scott Peretin won the individual championship with a toss of 18.91m (62-00.50) while junior Chase Stehling came in third with a mark of 18.00m (59-00.75). Sophomore Dakota Wright just missed out on the podium as he took fourth after stopping the tape at 17.56m (57-07.50). The final top-eight finisher for WCU was junior Mateius Brown who slid in at seventh with a mark of 15.08m (49-05.75).
The women took home an individual title in the weight throw as well as senior Hailey Cook was once again crowned champion. She topped the field with a toss of 17.97m (58-11.25). Sophomore Simone Williams added points as well as she placed fifth while junior Alisha Blackmon came in sixth. Williams made a toss of 15.29m (50-02.00) while Blackmon measured in at 15.10m (49-06.50).
The only other individual championship came in the women’s pole vault as junior Meghan Breden cleared 3.80m (12-05.50) to claim the title. Senior Korie Bennett finished in a tie for third to finish on the podium as she topped 3.30m (10-10.00).
The men’s final championship performance came in the final event of the day as Kiedi, Dale, sophomore Caleb Albrecht and Lamont teamed up to win the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:16.68.
WCU picked up 21 points on the women’s side in the triple jump as five Catamounts finished among the top-eight. Senior Tiffani Lewis led the way as she placed second after a jump of 11.94m (39-02.25). Freshman Imani Bennett just missed out on the podium as she placed fourth after stopping the tape at 11.87m (38-11.50). Freshman Jazmine Gooden and senior Chenell Bryan finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Gooden measured in at 11.64m (38-02.25) while Bryan made a jump of 11.62m (38-01.50). The final top-eight finisher was sophomore Tamilia Wright who had a mark of 11.37m (37-03.75).
The men earned 17 points in the triple jump as well as junior Kevin Hires and freshman Di'Joun Huitt finished on the podium. Hires took second with a leap of 14.62m (47-11.75) while Huitt finished in third with a mark of 14.42m (47-03.75). The final scorer for WCU was senior Tremaine Kernes who touched down at 13.57m (44-06.25) which earned him sixth.
Lewis led a group of three Catamounts in the women’s 60m as she earned her second, second place finish of the day with a time of 7.58. Sophomore Mia Little finished one spot back in third as she clocked in at 7.61. The final scorer was Gooden who took eighth with a time of 7.84.
The men earned 14 points in the 60m hurdles. Sophomore Devyn Montel Jones, freshman Anthony Richardson, sophomore J'len Wilson and freshman Corey Alston finished fourth through seventh for the Catamounts. Jones crossed the line in 8.29 followed by Richardson at 8.44. Wilson came across next in 8.46 while Alston stopped the clock at 8.62.
Lamont, Kiedi and Dale all earned points for the Catamounts in the 200m as they teamed up to pick up 12 points. Lamont finished fourth overall with a time of 22.10 while Kiedi came in fifth after stopping the clock at 22.18. Dale was next across in sixth at 22.33.
The men picked up 11 points in the high jump as Shikym Khalil Jackson led a group of three Catamounts. Jackson took second in the event after clearing 2.05m (6-08.75). Huitt came in seventh after topping 1.85m (6-00.75) while Wilson finished eighth with a leap of 1.80m (5-10.75).
The women earned eight points in the 60m hurdles as Gooden, sophomore Danyel de Souza and I. Bennett all scored points. Gooden, who broke the school record the day before, finished in fifth with a time of 8.85 while Souza came in sixth after stopping the clock at 9.09. Bennett crossed the line in 9.76 for eighth.
Lewis picked up her third podium finish of the day in the women’s high jump as she placed third after topping 1.65m (5-05.00). I. Bennett and sophomore Marisa Scott tied for eighth as they each topped 1.55m (5-01.00) in the same amount of attempts to each earn half a point for the Catamounts.
The women earned seven more points in the 400m as sophomore Dasha Arnaut finished fifth followed by sophomore Sally Woerner who placed sixth. Arnaut clocked in at 57.82 while Woerner crossed the line in 57.85.
Arnaut, Woerner, freshman Kellsie Whitehead and Bryan teamed up in the women’s 4x400m to pick up six points as they finished third with a time of 3:52.12.
Sophomore Josh Little and Kiedi finished seventh and eighth, respectively in the men’s 60m as they earned three points for the Catamounts. Little clocked in at 7.13 while Kiedi crossed the line in 7.14.
Greer picked up three points as he finished sixth in the men’s 800m. He rounded the track twice in 1:55.73.
Gooden earned three points for the Catamounts in the women’s 200m with a sixth place finish as well. She clocked in at 25.05.
Richardson picked up two points for the Catamounts in the men’s hepthathlon as he tallied 3,997 points to finished seventh overall.
Final men’s team results:
1. Western Carolina – 170 points
2. Samford – 155
3. ETSU – 137
4. Furman – 87
5. The Citadel – 57
6. Wofford – 44
7. UNCG – 4
Final women’s team results:
1. Samford – 208 points
2. Western Carolina – 151.50
3. ETSU – 107.50
4. Furman – 97
5. VMI – 47
6. Wofford – 29
7. Chattanooga – 9
8. UNCG – 7
9. The Citadel – 6
Men’s Most Outstanding Athlete (Heath Whittle Award): Patrick Taylor, ETSU
Women’s Most Outstanding Athlete: Katrina Seymour, ETSU
All-Southern Conference Performers (Women)
Dasha Arnaut, 4x400m third
Korie Bennett, pole vault third
Meghan Breden, pole vault champion
Chenell Bryan, 4x400m third
Hailey Cook, shot put champion, weight throw champion
Jazmine Gooden, long jump third
Tiffani Lewis, long jump champion, triple jump second, 60m second, high jump third
Mia Little, 60m third
Marisa Scott, pentathlon third
Kellsie Whitehead, 4x400m third
Simone Williams, shot put second
Sally Woerner, 4x400m third
All-Southern Conference Performers (Men)
Caleb Albrecht, 4x400m champion
Mateius Brown, shot put champion
Devaniel Dale, 4x400m champion
Kevin Hires, triple jump second
Di’Joun Huitt, triple jump third
Shikym Khalil Jackson, high jump second
Henry Kiedi, 4x400m champion, 400m third
Dakota Lamont, 400m champion, 4x400m champion
Scott Peretin, weight throw champion, shot put second
Chase Stehling, shot put third, weight throw third