Catamounts to host season opening WCU Cross Country Festival
Talkington most recently served as the director of operations at Marshall
Sophomore Kaitlyn Lingard repeats as women's individual champion
Austin Davis most recently served as an assistant coach at Davidson College
Cale McDaniel makes head coaching debut at the event
McDaniel, who served primarily as the throws coach for six seasons at WCU, produced five women's Most Outstanding Field Performers of the Year, two men's indoor Most Outstanding Field Performers of the Year, two women's outdoor Most Outstanding Athletes, and one women's Freshman of the Year in just six seasons. He has also led 30 student-athletes to Southern Conference individual championships, and has had 81 student-athletes earn all-conference honors.
Seven Catamounts under McDaniel's tutelage went on to qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Round with two student-athletes achieving qualifying marks for Junior Nationals.
As both a student-athlete and an assistant coach, McDaniel has helped bring 14 Southern Conference titles back to Cullowhee including three this past year with the men's indoor championship, and the women's and men's sweep of the outdoor championships.
He also helped WCU's women's team earn USTFCCCA All-Academic Track and Field Team honors every season as an assistant coach.
McDaniel received his U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Throws Specialist Certification in 2012 and his USTFCCCA Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certification in 2016.
As a student-athlete, McDaniel was a six time All-Southern Conference performer while capturing two outdoor team titles in 2007 and 2010 and one indoor championship in 2008.
McDaniel is a 2010 graduate of Western Carolina University. He holds his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and is a North Carolina licensed health and physical education teacher. McDaniel received his Master's in Education while focusing on Physical Education and Health in 2013 and has served as an adjunct professor in the health education department at WCU since 2013.
He is married to former WCU women's soccer standout, Erin Hamilton-McDaniel, who is also a volunteer assistant with the Catamount soccer team. The couple welcomed their first child, Braxton, in 2016 and reside in Sylva, N.C.