March 2, 2014
Winston-Salem, N.C. -
Western Carolina women's track and field team leads with 49.5 points while the men's team sits in third with 43 points after the first day of the Southern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships held at the JDL Fast Track indoor complex.
On the women's side, five teams have over 30 points with the Catamounts holding the top spot by 6.5 points with their 49.5 points. Samford sits in second with 43 points, while Appalachian State is in third with 40.5 points. Elon, 33 points, and Georgia Southern, 32 points, complete the top five with one day remaining.
For the men, App State, 60 points, leads by nine points over second place Samford, who has 51 points. WCU is in third place with 43 points, 17 points of fourth place Furman with 26 points. The Citadel and Davidson complete the top five with 26 points and 11 points respectively.
The Catamounts women's team picked up six points point their distance medley relay team comprise of Hayley Tomlinson, Lena Elliot, Jocelyn Keen and Aleshia Reese who finished third with a time of 12:04.90. It was the best time by a Catamount DMR team this season by 27 seconds.
The Catamounts earned nine points from the shot put duo of Hailey Cook, six points, and Alisha Bradshaw, three points, as the two finished third and sixth respectively. Cook recorded a distance of 14.14m for a new personal best by almost a full meter -- .93m. Her distance is also the best farthest toss by a Catamount in the shot put this indoor season as she earned all-freshman honors as the top freshman in the shot put. Bradshaw earned sixth with a distance of 13.49m.
Anisia Starege claimed the first spot atop the podium and the full ten points for the Catamounts of the meet with first place finish in the high jump with a height of 1.75m. Starege, who turned in her best height of the season in the conference meet, was also named to the all-freshman team. Xaveria Bass followed with third place and six points with a height of 1.70m, while Molly Fagan followed in fourth place with a height of 1.65m for 4.5 points. Both Bass' and Fagan's height timed season-highs.
In the long jump, Tiffani Lewis took fourth and added four points to the Catamounts' score with a distance of 5.72m. Lewis saved her best jump of the season for the biggest stage as her 5.72m was a season long and enough to place her on the all-freshman team.
Three Catamounts earned points in the heptathlon with Michaela Birek earning a fifth place finish with 3,224 points in the five events. She added four points to the WCU team total, while Holly Gaines added three points to the team total with a sixth place finish after 3,193 points after the five events. LeNiesha Kearse picked up all-freshman honors with a seventh place finish and two points towards the team total after recording 3,085 points in the five events.
The Catamounts had several other athletes turn in times qualifying them for the finals of their respective events Sunday.
Bass turned in a personal best time of 8.70 seconds in the 60m hurdle prelims as her second place finish put her through the finals. She will be joined by Brittany Diggs, who turned in a season-best time of 8.89, and Shermell Wilkins, who crossed the finish line after a time of 8.93 for a new personal low.
Three more Catamounts will compete in the 60m finals Sunday led by Tayla Carter who turned in a time of 7.45 seconds for the top time in the prelims. Carter's time was two hundredths of a second off her personal best and the WCU school record, which she set last year at the SoCon Indoor Championship. Janise Robinson finished in fifth after a time of 7.72 seconds for a season low time and missing her personal best time by one hundredth of a second. Tiffani Robinson will be the final Catamount in the finals after a time of 7.74 seconds.
Carter added to her day one accomplishments with a second place finish in the 200m prelims with a time of 24.80 qualifying her for the finals.
WCU also had the top performer in the 400m prelims as Genevieve Emrick completed the race with a time of 55.53 seconds. Elliot and Corina Archie-McMillian will join Emrick in the finals after times of 57.34 seconds and 58.97 seconds respectively.
Keen and Tomlinson will compete in the finals of the 800m after times of 2:15.56 and 2:17.58 respectively.
On the men's side, the Catamounts picked up its first points with a sixth place finish in the DMR after a time of 10:26.95. Michael Cornwell, Aaron Harris, Jamie Bigby and JC Cornett earned three points towards the team total in the relay.
Travis Alfaro ran his best time of the season in the 3,000m crossing the finish line in eighth place after a time of 8:45.23 earning a point for the Catamounts.
Jared Johnson earned the first first place finish for Catamounts on the men's side with distance of 15.51m in the shot put claiming ten points towards the team. It was his best distance of the 2013-14 season in the previous six meets. Andy Benesh narrowly missed earning points for WCU, but he did pick up a personal best distance of 13.91m taking tenth place.
In the men's high jump, Bob McNeil claimed three points and a fifth place finish with a with a height of 1.89m.
WCU got 11 points in the pole vault as Dustin Triplett cleared the bar with a height of 4.70m in second place claiming eight points, while Keith Leonard vaulted a height of 4.55m for three points and sixth place. Leonard's 4.55m jump tied a season best for the senior.
The Catamounts picked up another block of points in the long jump as three players recorded points led by Josh McSwain, who earned 10 points and picked up a first place finish with a distance of 7.30m. McSwain shattered his season-best distance en route to claiming all-freshaman honors. McNeil claimed another three points with a sixth place finish after a season long distance of 6.93m, and David Johnson followed in seventh place and two points after a jump of 6.86m. Johnson's distance was also his season long.
Sam Lusty, who is just one of three Catamounts competing in the heptathlon, is also one of many Catamounts that has put themselves in quality positions to score points heading into the final day. Lusty leads heptathlon.
In the 60m hurdles Marquis Bailey was the top finisher in the prelims with a time of 8.18 seconds, while Lusty and Abraham Faison follow with times of 8.60 seconds and 8.74 seconds. Bailey's time was his personal best, while Lusty turned in his fastest time of the season in the prelims.
Four Catamounts head into the finals of the 60m dash with Jerry Wickerson leading the way after his fastest career time of 6.91 seconds, while Jeffery Hendricks followed with a time of 6.92 seconds. Earl Rahming and Jermaine Lewis are also in the finals after times of 6.94 seconds and 7.03 seconds. Rahming's appearance in the 60m dash is first appearance at the distance in his Catamount career.
In the 400m, WCU has five runners in the finals led by Harris and his time of 49.48 seconds . Rahming and his time of 49.63 seconds, Adrian Ortado and his time of 49.94 seconds, Demari Boswell and his time of 50.55 and Eric Blake and his time of 51.89 will also be in the finals. Ortado's time was a new personal best, while Boswell's time was a season best.
Michael Cornwell will compete in the finals of the 800m after a time of 1:55.44, which is a new career low for the sophomore.
WCU placed five more runners through into the finals of the 200m with Hendricks leading the way after personal low time of 22.18 seconds in the prelims. Wilkerson followed with a time of 22.26 seconds, while Ortado ran a career low time of 22.50 seconds. Rahming and Boswell each made through to the finals with times of 22.38 seconds and 22.59 seconds.
Sunday's events begin at 9:15 a.m. with the completion of the men's heptathlon. Catamount fans can catch the action through live results provided by the Southern Conference. CatamountsSports.com has all details.