BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Western Carolina men’s and women’s track & field teams opened up competition at the 2017 Southern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships Thursday in Birmingham, Ala. WCU picked up two individual championships both on the women’s side while junior Keion Crossen was the top qualifier in the men’s 100m with a school record time of 10.33. Both the men and women trail Samford after day one. Samford leads the women’s side with 152 points while the Catamounts trail by 45 points at 107. Furman sits in third with 43 points. The men’s side is a four team race led by Samford with 107.5 points. WCU is in second at 87.5 while The Citadel sits in third with 73 points. The final team in contention after day one is ETSU with 69 points.
WCU qualified 15 competitors for Friday finals during seven preliminary events on Thursday while Samford has 14 in the finals. WCU leads the way on the men’s side with 22 qualifiers compared to The Citadel’s and ETSU’s 14 and Samford’s six.
Senior Chenell Bryan brought home the first individual SoCon title of her career on Thursday as she won the women’s long jump with a leap of 6.13m. The Catamounts picked up 21 points in the event. Bryan brought in 10 while freshman Jazmine Gooden chipped in six as she placed third with a mark of 6.12m. Senior Tiffani Lewis was the final top-eight finisher for the Catamounts as she took fourth after stopping the tape at 6.00m.
Senior Hailey Cook was WCU’s other champion as she defended her shot put title with a winning mark of 14.85m. The Catamounts earned 25 points in the event with five Catamounts finishing inside the top-eight. Sophomore Simone Williams took second at 13.83m while junior Alisha Blackmon took fifth with a toss of 12.55m. Freshmen Amy Yarborough and Tiffany Dunham rounded out the scorers in seventh and eighth, respectively. Yarborough had a mark of 11.96m while Dunham came in at 11.84m.
The men’s top performer of the day was Crossen who lowered his school record time of 10.38 to 10.33 which will rank among the top 30 times in the NCAA East Region qualifying this season.
The top point scorer of the day on the men’s side for WCU was senior Scott Peretin who finished in third in the shot put, hammer throw and discus. In the shot put, the Catamounts were led by junior Mateius Brown who took second with a toss of 16.21m. Peretin finished next in third at 15.21m followed by sophomore Dakota Wright in sixth at 14.53m.
The trio would also score points in the discus and were also joined by freshman Jay Stanley. Peretin took third at 47.73m while Brown came in fourth with a toss of 47.45m. Wright and Stanley rounded out the scorers in seventh and eighth, respectively. Wright put up a mark of 45.02m while Stanley came in at 43.58m.
Peretin, Wright and Stanley would also earn points in the hammer. Peretin led the way in third with a distance of 56.14m. Wright came in fourth at 52.23m while Stanley clocked in at seventh with a toss of 47.62m.
On the women’s side it was Cook who led the way with her win in the shot put and a pair of third place finishes in the discus and hammer. Cook led the way in the discus with a toss of 42.57m to place third. Williams came in seventh with a toss of 39.65m while Yarborough rounded out the scorers in eight at 36.86m. Cook, Williams and Blackmon picked up points in the hammer. Cook came in third with a distance of 50.33m while Williams took fourth at 49.40m. Blackmon came in one spot back in fifth after stopping the tape at 47.53m.
Junior Kevin Hires led a group of five Catamounts who all scored points in the men’s triple jump. Hires took second with a leap of 15.00m while freshman Di'Joun Huitt came in third at 14.68m. Freshman Nicholas Lyons was next in line at fifth as he turned in a leap of 13.20m. The final two scorers were senior Tremaine Kernes and sophomore Nick Lawson. Kernes came in sixth at 13.18m while Lawson took eighth with a jump of 12.15m.
Lewis led a trio of Catamounts on the women’s side in the triple jump as well. Lewis took second after touching down at 12.16m. Bryan stepped onto the podium in third with a mark of 11.98m while sophomore Tamilia Wright came in fifth with a distance of 11.54m.
Junior Thor Smith had an all-conference performance in the men’s pole vault as he picked up a third place finish after clearing 4.60m. Sophomore Bryce Myers finished four spots back in seventh after topping 4.15m.
Junior Meghan Breden took second on the women’s side in the pole vault as she cleared 3.66m.
Hires and Huitt also picked up points in the long jump as Hires took fifth with a leap of 6.94m while Huitt took sixth at 6.82m. Freshman Corey Alston joined the duo to place seventh with a mark of 6.60m.
Freshman Shawnda Martin took fifth in the women’s 10,000m as she clocked in at 39:20.10.
Sophomore J'len Wilson tied for fifth in the men’s high jump after clearing 1.85m.
Lewis and sophomore Ashley Parker took home points in the women’s high jump. Lewis topped 1.58m to place sixth while Parker cleared 1.53m to place eighth.
Sophomore Jordan Bostian was the final scorer for the men as he placed eighth in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 9:38.75.
The final two scorers on the women’s side came in the javelin. Sophomore Sally Woerner took seventh with a toss of 32.54m while Yarborough came in eighth at 32.38m.
The Catamounts will close out competition at the 2017 Southern Conference Championships tomorrow beginning at 8:45 am.
Current men’s team standings:
1. Samford – 107.5 points
2. Western Carolina – 87.5
3. The Citadel – 73
4. ETSU – 69
5. Furman – 38
6. Wofford – 14
7. UNCG – 6
Current women’s team standings:
1. Samford – 152 points
2. Western Carolina – 107
3. Furman – 43
4. VMI – 27
5. The Citadel – 21
6. ETSU – 18
7. Mercer – 17
8. UNCG – 4
t-9. Chattanooga – 0
t-9. Wofford – 0
All-Southern Conference Performers (Men)
Mateius Brown, shot put second
Kevin Hires, triple jump second
Di'Joun Huitt, triple jump third
Scott Peretin, shot put third, discus third, hammer throw third
Thor Smith, pole vault third
All-Southern Conference Performers (Women)
Meghan Breden, pole vault second
Chenell Bryan, long jump champion
Hailey Cook, shot put champion, discus third, hammer throw third
Jazmine Gooden, long jump third
Simone Williams, shot put second
All-Freshman Team Performers (Men)
Corey Alston, long jump
Di'Joun Huitt, long jump, triple jump, high jump
Nicholas Lyons, triple jump
Jay Stanley, hammer throw, shot put, discus
Justin Tucker, 3,000m steeplechase