April 20, 2007
2007 Southern Conference Track & Field Championship Schedule
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Cullowhee, N.C. - Looking for the chance to return to the top of the conference track & field podium, both the Western Carolina men's and women's track & field teams head for Boone this Saturday and Sunday for the 2007 Southern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Appalachian State at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Western's men look to defend their outdoor crown from a season ago, while the women will try and build upon a third-place finish one year ago in Statesboro, Ga.
Action is scheduled to get under way with decathlon and heptathlon events at 8:00 am and 8:30 am, respectively, on Saturday morning, with the first track event - the men's 10,000-meter final - at the starting line at 9:30 am. Sunday's competition again begins with multi events at 8:00 am, culminating with the men's and women's 4x400-meter finals at 4:30 pm that afternoon.
"We are in a good position on both sides to make a run at the Southern Conference Championship, and being in contention is a goal of our program each and every year," said WCU head coach Danny Williamson. "We know that it will not be one or two strong performances that win the conference title. But, instead, it will take each of our student-athletes working together - a total team effort - to win a championship."
Back in February, Western posted a pair of runner-up finishes at the SoCon Indoor Championship held at Clemson, with the women edged by rival, Appalachian State, by a mere point and a half while the men were bested by 40 points by the Mountaineers.
"Both squads coming up a few points short during the indoor championship really left an empty feeling that has made us hungrier for the outdoor championship. Hopefully our experience and depth, as well as that hunger, will allow us to prevail this weekend," added Williamson.
On the men's side, all indications from the regular season performances are pointing to a Western-Appalachian showdown once again for the top spot in the league. Each school has representation in the top three in every event in the conference top performances list. To date, the Catamount men have recorded 38 podium finishes this outdoor season with six first-place tallies.
SoCon Indoor Freshman of the Year, Dominique Young, leads the conference's top times charts in both the 100-meter (10.62) and 200-meter dash (21.21) events, while sophomore Manteo Mitchell ranks second in the 200 and leads the SoCon in the 400-meter dash after turning a hot lap of 46.23, the 10th quickest time in the nation this season which qualified him for the NCAA East Regional.
Taking a break from the spring football practice field, Mike Malone, who single-handedly scored 36.5 points in the SoCon Championship two years ago, leads the conference in the 400-meter hurdles. Also leading a conference event chart is Matt Evans, who cleared 2.03 meters (6-8.0) in the high jump at the Western Carolina Invitational back on March 31. Matt Harlfinger and David Gift are one-and-two in the men's decathlon rankings entering the championship.
Western's men's 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams additional pace the conference entering the championship meet with times of 40.79 and 3:12.24, respectively.
In the women's competition, Georgia Southern enters the weekend with a slight edge in the seasonal rankings over both Western Carolina and defending champion, Appalachian State. The Catamount women have recorded 41 top three finishes, including finishing first 16 times this season.
Senior Asia Davis has recorded four, first-place runs individually in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles, while also running on the first-place 4x400-meter relay team at the WCU Invitational. Davis enters the weekend with the quickest time in the 400-meter hurdles, while ranking second in the 100-meter hurdle event. Like on the men's side, a Western freshman - Sherrell Froneberger - leads the SoCon charts in the 100-meter dash after the Charlotte, N.C., native clocked 11.98 at Clemson Invitational on April 7.
Catamounts also lead both the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run performances lists as juniors Raquel Ramseur (54.87) and Kerrie Savery (2:11.38) have headlined the league to date. Senior Deanna Kulesz ranks second to her teammate, Savery, in the 800-meter run, as well as having posted the second-best time in the 1,500-meter run this season.
Again like Western's men's, the Catamount women's 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams additional pace the conference entering the championship meet with times of 46.30 and 3:46.74, respectively.
Defending outdoor high jump champion, two-sport standout Jessika Johnson, and senior teammate Brittany Whitaker rank second and third in the high jump, while NaShay McGriff, Jessica Wilkerson and Morgan Broadnax rank one-through-three in the women's heptathlon standings.
The last time one school swept both the men's and women's outdoor track championships was in 2005 when Appalachian State claimed both titles, doing so at the newly-opened Catamount Athletic Complex on-campus in Cullowhee.